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.