A Day In The Life Of Comcast's Frank Eliason

Ever wonder what it’s like to be Comcast’s resident Twitter wizard, Frank Eliason, for a day? BusinessWeek did, so they sent a reporter to watch Frank, described as a “maverick,” spend a day responding to scorned customers.

2:25 p.m. Our first disgruntled customer. A tweet from a middle-aged woman named LanaTurner898 with platinum-blond hair says: “I just got off the phone with Comcast. Not a pleasant experience.” Frank hits the reply button and speedily types: “Can I help?” (Although such tweets are entirely public to the millions who use Twitter, I’ve changed the tweeters’ names out of respect for the fact that they probably didn’t expect to wind up in a BusinessWeek.com story,)

2:30 p.m. In the meantime, a Comcast customer named PrinceValiant (no picture) tweets he’s having Internet problems. Frank hits Twitter’s “Direct Message” button, which allows PrinceValiant and Frank to communicate privately via e-mail, and Frank asks for his phone number.

A few seconds later, PrinceValiant responds with his number. With a Comcast user interface called Grand Slam, Eliason can enter the phone number to check whether PrinceValiant’s modem is functioning, But before the exploration begins, PrinceValiant tweets that his service is working again. Happy ending, so we move on.

2:35 p.m. No response from LanaTurner898 despite Frank’s offer of help. “Sometimes because of the publicity we’ve had, they’re testing to see if they get a response,” he says. “The complaint isn’t exactly true.”

2:40 p.m. Frank lets me sit in his chair and man the Twitter board. A bit of hostility pops up from DonDenson, a young white male whose picture shows just a pert nose and blue eyes: “Comcast in Houston sucks. No service for 48 days due to Ike. Entitled to 48 days credit plus $153 bill paid during outage. Incompetent accounting can fix billing.”

“Type ‘We try’ and then put an exclamation point or a smiley after it,” Frank instructs me. I opt for the exclamation point.

It goes on like that for a while because there are lots of disgruntled Comcast customers out there.

Even though Comcast lets Frank provide an excellent service, it helps to remember that any CSR, even those without Twitter accounts, have a name and a face, and they’ll be more willing to help you if you treat them the same respect and appreciation you’d show Frank himself.

Comcast’s Twitter Man [BusinessWeek]