Is it Comcastic?
After a scheduled overnight power outage a few weeks ago made by Dominion Virginia Power (don’t get me started on that), my TV cable box decided to not turn back on. Fantastic! <sarcasm here> It was now on me to do the thing we all dread most … well, a close second to going to the DMV. I had to CALL Comcast.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of calling Comcast, I dare you to try. Although they claim to power all of our communication tools (Internet, cable, phone), they do not seem to understand any of these very well. The automated voice, which I’ve grown to hate, required me to dial my “home telephone” so they can “better serve you.” Fine. I did it. Twice. After at least 5 more minutes of punching in various options … and I should mention I was hung up on 3 times … I was finally connected to a live person. Success! The person was nice and did his best to assist, but he quickly told me he cannot help further. Why? The familar accent on the other end of the line informed me that I was transferred to a customer service rep from the city where I purchased my cell phone (Boston, MA) based on my area code (even though this is the phone number assosicate with my account!). HELLO COMCAST, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Haven’t you heard that 1 in 5 Americans have discontinued their landline service to become more dependent on cell phones? This situation called for further investigation…
Comcast’s online presence is just as bad as their automated voice. A confusing and cluttered website layout makes it nearly impossible to navigate through to any material that would be useful. If you’re lucky enough to even find the links to “Live Chat” and “Ask the Comcast Community,” do not be fooled. This will waste your time. I immediately thought to go to Facebook and Twitter to speed up this painful process. After a very quick search on both, I could not find any official presence. Although I did find disgruntled customers that formed unofficial groups against Comcast. “Doing nothing” with social media tools is a bad idea and makes for a horrible online presense, or so I thought.
This is where my feelings about Comcast would have ended had I not been given this assignment. I’ve recently discovered from a blog that Comcast IS in fact on Twitter. Tweeting under the name “ComcastCares.” Apparently, Comcast’s Frank Eliason is pretty famous for using Twitter as a platform for customer service. Additionally, Comcast has very recently set up a blog called Comcast Voices. The success of this has yet to be determined as it launced only a few months ago.
Using these social media tools seems like a great idea. But when put to the test, Frank Eliason has yet to respond to my Comcast problems that I tweeted to him. (I’ll keep you posted when/if he does). The other burning question here is why doesn’t the Comcast website or voicemail system provide any information or link to their twitter account or blog? It’s practically hidden from their customers. If you have these tools up and running, why not spread the word and tell people about them? Comcast is surely trying, but I don’t think they’ve hit their mark yet.
The lesson here for other companies: Don’t make communication difficult for your customers. If you’re using social media tools:
- Don’t be shy. TELL your customers or else they may pass you by.
- RESPOND to all questions/comments/concerns or else you will lose your credibility.
Music to the Ears
In 2007, the Broadway musical Spring Awakening won 8 Tony Awards. The touring production is coming to Washington, DC beginning July 7 and its use of social media is both comprehensive and very well done. The touring show’s website features video, images, audio, and more detailed information on the show, its actors, creative team, news, reviews, and even other social media tools related to the musical including a fan forum. An official presence for the production can be found on facebook, myspace, twitter, and YouTube.
Additionally, fans can come together on Facebook to a localized fan page where they can chat about Spring Awakening coming to their town, discuss their own experiences with the musical, learn about upcoming related events, watch and share photos and videos, and keep up to date with the latest news on the show. Pretty cool stuff.
The lesson here for other companies: When done correctly, using social media tools for a company or organization is a great idea. Allow each tool to compliment the other. Consider all options and keep an open mind.
In case you’re interested…
Spring Awakening 2007 Tony Awards Performance