Comcast CEO Blames Bad Customer Service Reputation On Sheer Volume Of Calls

Comcast is the largest cable and Internet provider in the country and one of the biggest content providers with the acquisition of NBC. It’s also one of the most-hated companies in the country, a former Worst Company In America champ (and perennial quarterfinalist) with a reputation for horrendous customer service, inept tech support and bungled billing practices. But Comcast CEO Brian Roberts says it’s all just a matter of his company being so darn huge.

In an interview with Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal (audio is below), explains why Comcast is always at or near the bottom of most customer service and satisfaction surveys.

In fact, if you sort all of the companies ranked by the American Customer Satisfaction Index in 2013, Comcast is represented twice in the bottom 10; once for its Internet service (the lowest rank of all companies in that sector) and then again for its subscription TV service (the second-worst in that group of companies).

“That’s a very fair criticism that we’re working really hard to fix,” Roberts tells Marketplace, before getting into the numbers game:

“What unfortunately happens is we have about… 350 million interactions with consumers a year, between phone calls and truck calls. It may be over 400 million, and that doesn’t count any online interactions which are over, I think, a billion. You get one-tenth of one-percent bad experience, that’s a lot of people — unacceptable. We have to be the best service provider or in the end, this company won’t be what I want it to be.”

While we agree with him that this is completely unacceptable, we think Roberts doesn’t realize just how many bad experiences “one-tenth of one percent” of a billion interactions would be. That’s still 1 million times in a year when people are having bad Comcast customer service experiences!

What he’s also not mentioning is how many of those 1 billion interactions are times when the customer may have received decent customer service, but had to contact Comcast because their service was out or their bill was wrong. We’d love to see a truly transparent auditing of the actual reasons for customers contacting the company.

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  1. mongo says:

    “one-tenth of one percent” bad interactions? BWA HAHAHAHAAHAH!
    How about only getting decent response from a Comcast CSR 30% of the time?

    Obviously, the CEO insists on denial and living inside the bubble. It’s not fair that they keep a lock on the Golden Poo award.

    Comcast could fix it. The telephone companies did. It takes a top to bottom emphasis, endless training and attitude change. If they can’t get the CSRs to change the culture then clean house and hire new ones.

    How many calls do think AT&T gets?

    I cancelled Comcast when the 6th rep in row RUDELY insisted that me using the federally-mandated CableCARD for access meant that I was stealing something so I deserve to be charged MORE than customers who were renting entire set top boxes.

  2. CommonC3nts says:

    It is impossible to provide good customer service with TV and Internet troubleshooting as the customers are too stupid.

    I worked computer tech support before at a college where people are supposed to be smarter than average, but they still were completely incompetent. People cant follow directions. They basically refuse to do what you say, or they pretend to do it and then just say it does not work so that someone has to come out to find out they did not have cord plugged in all the way.
    I imagine most calls to comcast customer service are for things that the customer caused or could easily solve themselves by reading the manual or fixing their own computer.
    Computer and Internet tech support is a lost cause when customers are too stupid.

    The worst is all the callers that call up and ask for account changes that you can do yourself on the website.

    • mongo says:

      Ah, a proud Comcast Customer Service rep.

      I wonder why AT&T UVerse manages to get the smarter customers that don’t need support.

      Maybe it’s Comcast’s misleading ads that helps them lock up the market on the stupid customers.

  3. snobum82 says:

    Maybe if they had decent service in the first place they wouldn’t have such a high volume of calls. Just saying.

  4. FusioptimaSX says:

    Sadly they have a monopoly in many areas…even in 2013. As long as they have the customers and their $$$, things won’t change.

    This reminds me, I need to call in to threaten to cancel again. It’s that time of year!

  5. Terryc says:

    Yep bad service. Called to advise I needed cheaper cable had no problem with fewer channels. Was told No you have the best deal we can give you. Set every thing up at home spent a couple of hundred on computer upgrades and got local antenna access (60 channels) ustvnow (espn, tnt, spike and Scifi) and have the ability to record up to 4 channels at the same time. When I called to cancel was told Oh we have many less expensive options. Told them too late I spent my $$ and dont need them anymore. Yep if they had been willing to help me I would have kept giving them my $$. Now 3 years later I couldn’t be happier that I lost comcast.