Can Comcast Reverse the Storm?

by Jay Deragon on 04/28/2008

Can Comcast Reverse the Storm?The social web is enabling customers to have a loud voice with the service levels from their suppliers. One example that has received profile throughout the blogosphere is Comcast.

Bob Fernandez of The Philadelphia Inquirer had an article in The Seattle Times yesterday titled Stormy times for Comcast which discusses the onslaught of customer complaints about Comcast Service. The article states “Frank Eliason, a Comcast manager with the daunting assignment of monitoring the nation’s blogosphere for venomous posts aimed at the company, answered right away: “That should not be. We should have that looked at. Send an e-mail with account info to [email protected].”

“Under siege for customer-service woes detailed on Comcastmustdie.com and other blogs, the Philadelphia cable giant has gone on the offensive, trawling the Internet for Comcast chatter. Eliason’s assignment is specific: If someone has a Comcast problem and is talking about it online, he contacts that person and offers help.”

“If Eliason thinks it’s an emergency that could spiral into unpleasantness, like an expletive-loaded blog bomb, he gets on the phone and cuts through the corporate red tape.”

It is apparent that the “social web” has Comcast attention and it is with many of the Fortune 500 whose service levels and product quality has become more and more transparent. Comcast is only but one example of the increased transparency.

Could the Storm Reverse into Comcast Favor?

When you read the full article mentioned above you will see how Comcast is reacting and much to its benefit over time. However the full story will be told and possible the conversation will change from complaints to praise if the Giant is capable of enhancing their basic cable, internet and phone service into a gateway to “social utilities” enabling consumers to do more than connect, view and talk. In terms of the problems with “customer service” the social web could be used much more effectively and at less cost than taking the service function in house and building yet another cost center requiring layers of management.

As indicated by the rankings in the enclosed chart Comcast “customer satisfaction” rating rank low and certainly “fixing the system” means more than hiring additional customer service support representatives. Fixing the obvious vital few would be part of the socialution while the other part would be to make the experience more efficient and effective by deploying and using “social tools” for customer service inquiries.

The good news for Comcast is they have the opportunity to be a leading brand that leverages the tools of the web for improvement of service and innovation of propositions to their customer base, both personal and business. Other corporations would follow them if they were able to execute the right strategy aimed at the edge of the web and at the hearts and minds of their customer base.

Time will tell but I certainly would like to see them pull it off. It would be Comcastic for them and for us not to mention they could create and entirely new market. Get it?.

What say you?

{ 1 comment }

Margaret Orem April 29, 2008 at 11:07 am

Comcast has been singled out in postings for review of its practices and current “state of affairs.” There are enough experts externally and internally who can delve into any threat or weakness it may have and take the opportunities Comcast has to leverage its strengths and emerge a stronger company.

It is easily discerned that Comcast has the opportunity now to take this open social media presence to recognize that VRM (Vendor Relationship Management) espoused by the esteemed Doc Searls, Harvard Fellow, and championed by Link to Your World (www.linktoyourworld.com) is the key. Comcast could jump into the new age of listening and responding to customers and potential customers through social media. What an opportunity before Comcast! It can be a trail blazer. It is not the negativity that is the issue–it is the response and resolve of the corporation which attracts and retains customers.

While Comcast is the focus of this post, I would hope that other companies recognize that it could easily be them, and most likely is them behind the scenes. It is time for all companies to learn about VRM which is the wave of the future.

I suggest that Comcast is in the enviable position of both setting the tone and taking the lead in creating a world-class social media adaptive process. “If you build it, they will come.”

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