Imagine that one day you notice that a box from which several Comcast connections sprout has recently become home to a nest of birds. Probably not a good thing for folks’ cable and Internet connections, but it seems like something that should be easily resolved with a simple e-mail to Comcast, right? Well, welcome to Kabletown…
Consumerist reader S thought she was doing a simple, good deed when she sent off the following e-mail to Comcast:
Our neighborhood”s cables are all connected to a box on the building next door to me. Someone apparently left the box open. There is a large bird nest in it, with birds flying in and out. It is on the west side of the building at XXXX.
Please remove the nest and close the box. Thank you.
In theory, this should have been like S telling someone they left their headlights on or their baby on the car roof. The response should have been a simple, “Thanks for the heads-up. We’ll get that taken care of ASAP.”
But this is Comcast, which means she gets the following reply:
Thank you for contacting Comcast home of Customer Guarantee. You have reached Xfinity Email Support. My name is D*** and I will do my best to assist you with your concern.
I understand that the cable cabinet in your area is being inhabited by birds. I know the importance of having that fixed. I appreciate you reporting that problem as it may cause problems with the service in your area, or pose as a hazard even. Please contact on of our chat representatives to setup a tech appointment to fix that cabinet in your area. Comcast offers quick-response solutions regarding account problems, especially those technical in nature. Please contact one of our Customer Account Executives and they are available 24/7 to assist you. Here is the link to chat with us:
To ensure the time you need to spend online is as short as possible, I suggest you have the following information available when chatting:
1. Comcast Account Number,
2. Last four digits of the Social Security Number associated with the account,
3. Address where service is provided and mailing address if different, Account name, and Phone number;
4. Date and amount of last payment made and
5. A list of Comcast services that is installed in your home.
If you need assistance in the future, please feel free to contact us through the following means of communication:
As part of our Comcast Customer Guarantee, you can always contact us at your convenience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 1-800-COMCAST (1-800-2662278).Comcast also offers excellent FAQ and Help forums located at http://www.comcast.com to help you reach a resolution independently.
To ensure the proper tracking of this issue, please take note of the reference number should you contact us regarding the same issue: XXXXX
Thank you for choosing Comcast. We appreciate you sharing your concerns as we continue to strive for total customer satisfaction. We value your business and have a great day.
Comcast Customer Care Specialist
S. then tries to explain that she should not have to go and start up an online chat when she was simply trying to do a nice thing by alerting Comcast to a problem with one of its one pieces of equipment.
That got a second reply:
Thank you for contacting Comcast home of Customer Guarantee. You have reached Xfinity Email Support. My name is D*** and I will do my best to assist you with your concern. I understand that you do not want to setup a tech appointment. I am sorry about that but we cannot book appointments on our end. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We are continuously working to increase customer satisfaction and are putting a tremendous amount of resources into improving our customers’ experiences with us.
We want to assure you that we do in fact recognize and acknowledge that we have room for improvement in our customer service, and that we are working diligently to ensure we can deliver a great experience to every customer, every time. Our goal is to deliver a positive experience to every customer we handle, every time Comcast offers quick-response solutions regarding account problems, especially those technical in nature. Please contact one of our Customer Account Executives should you want a tech to fix that cabinet, they are available 24/7 to assist you. Here is the link to chat
It then goes on to repeat the same list of ways to reach Comcast’s ineffective customer support.
Again, S. tried to clarify, writing back, “I don’t need an appointment. You need to forward this to your service department.”
Which earned her yet another fill in the blank reply from Comcast.
As they say in the song, third verse, same as the first:
Thank you for contacting Comcast, home of the Customer Guarantee. My name is Marifi and you have reached Xfinity TV email support. I will do my best to assist you with your concern.
I understand that you would like to inform us that there is an open cable cabinet in your area that you would like to be fixed. I know how important it is for you to have this issue resolve to avoid accident or service interruption in your area. It is my pleasure to provide you information on how we can properly address your concern.
S***, at Comcast, we are focused on providing our customers with the most secure customer support experience. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Please be advised to contact us through live chat so that we can set up a service request order in order to fix the open cable cabinet.
To make this process easier for you, we recommend that you use our secure live chat channel through the link I provided below. One of our Online Customer Support Specialists will be happy to assist you. Our agents are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
To ensure that the time you will spend online is as short as possible, I suggest that you have the following information available when contacting:
1. Name on the account
2. Complete service address
3. Telephone number associated with the account
4. One of the following:
4.1 Last four digits of the account holder’s Social Security Number
4.2 Account Number
4.3 Last payment date and amount
4.4 Services listed on the account.
This is when S. demanded that Comcast stop sending her this form e-mail. Either fix the problem or don’t, she replied. She had done her duty and was not going to set up a service call for something that didn’t require anyone coming up to her apartment to resolve the issue.
That finally got the attention of someone who wrote back saying her complaint had been escalated and that someone higher up would be contacting her within 72 hours.
She replied that she didn’t actually want anyone to contact her. Just do something about the birds; it’s Comcast’s problem, she was just trying to be a good person and let them know before any damage was done.
And in spite of her request to not be contacted, someone from Comcast’s executive customer service department wrote her. But last this message said what the very first one should have: That the problem had been forwarded to the right people and someone would be out to look at the box in the next couple days.
But wait — there’s more.
When the Comcast tech finally went to check out the box, he not only attempted to enter the customer’s building — where the box is not located — but also told her there was nothing he could do because he can’t remove the birds without calling Animal Control.
So between the numerous e-mails and the tech’s fruitless drive out to look at the box, how many hours were wasted that could have been saved if Comcast had simply read her original e-mail and responded with appropriate measures?