Posted tagged ‘Comcast’

How do you feel about digital memories?

September 14, 2009

digital ageListening the OnPoint, the topic is whether it is possible to create a “total recall” for all our memories of our lives. With all the social networks like Twitter and Facebook–not to mention the plethora of others–should we as human beings be recording all the minutiae of our lives to be retrieved at a later time?

Should we supplement our memory with the digital gadgets like cell phones, iPods, social networks or other aids?

Is there anything to the argument that the more you memorize, the more ability you have to memorize other things in the future? With children, it’s clear that the more you stress their brain with input of classical music or shapes/colors, the smarter the child will become and the faster her brain will be able to process new input.

What do you think? Should we record things that we don’t “need” to remember in our lives?

The Marketing Rules are (Still) Changing

March 6, 2009

tre-coverAs the world has witnessed the collapse of billion dollar companies such as AIG and Merryl Lynch, some of us stood by and were only able to watch in horror as if we were watching the Titanic sinking after hitting the iceberg. “It can never sink. It’s just too big,” they said. One can almost hear the naysayers scoffing at anyone who predicted such a catastrophic failure as what happened on Wall Street. “No, the banks can never fail. The government won’t let that happen.”

Look where it [our confidence] got us. Over the past two or three years, we have taken special notice to some blogs, names and phrases, such as, “Relationship Capital.”

The Relationship Economy is a system in which we are worth who we know and what we know. For example, I personally have just over 2,400 so-called “friends” on the online social network known as Facebook. A year ago, I had exactly 67 “friends” on that same network. Realizing that the shift from a goods-based/knowledge-based economy to a relationship-based economy, I started adding “friends” like crazy. Today, with my 2,400 + “friends,” I am more valuable than I was on March 5, 2008.

I’ve made connections to people all over the world, most of whom I will never meet or even speak to on the phone. And while I would say many will prove to be fruitless, I have made some really good connections to people in some very high places with companies such as Dell, IBM, Apple, HP, and, my favorite, Comcast.

The marketing has changed in the past six months. People are coming to the realization that the social networks are becoming more vital to businesses rather than just a fad. People are watching television online, listening to the radio online, getting their news online, and companies are capitalizing on the world’s ability to connect online.

So what’s my point?

With people spending so much time online and our ability to remain connected to the world, via Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, and RSS feeds, the marketing has changed locations and forums, but the message is still the same: “LOOK AT HOW GREAT MY PRODUCT IS!”

That’s where the marketing guys come up short. Rather than talking to us, they need to be talking with us. Finding out what it is we need. What we want a product to give us, etc.

In The Cluetrain Manifesto, written by Doc Searls et. al., says that marketes are conversations. It does little to aid your bottom-line if you are speaking in a language none of your customers can understand. Therefore, the relationship isn’t there.

Now, some companies have adapted their marketing to The Relationship Economy, but the big-boys–the banks, the insurance companies, etc.– have not. That’s why they collapsed in ’08.

Companies have forgotten that they aren’t all about million dollar homes and large offices with gold trash cans. When a person is made to feel important, that is when you will develop consumer pride and brand loyalty. But when a service call is not kept, the call is dropped, or the company doesn’t seem to care about YOU, the consumer, that is when the walls they have built all around them start to crumble.

The move toward the relationship economy is coming, and I think it may catch many big companies unaware.

How ’bout it?

Hell yes, I Want Customer Service

June 3, 2008

This post is in response to social networking strategist and expert Jay Deragon’s post titled Do We Really Want Customer Service?

Granted, we may actually PREFER life if every service to which we subscribed and gizmo we bought functioned the way it was intended — nay, the way we hoped in our semi-euphoric state just before we signed the deal, paid cash for our new “toy.” But that would be what people call Utopia, a land where there is no crime and everything works the way it was designed.

For that matter, we might ask, “Do we really want doctors?” or lawyers, or teachers, umpires, line-judges, prisons, mechanics, body-shops, dishwashers, replacement bulbs, or divorce courts. Things break. That’s the nature of the beast, and we have to learn to live with it.

If we didn’t need customer service, there would be no need for doctors to help cure cancer or keep us well, lawyers to help right the injustices against us, teachers to impart knowledge, umpires to call base-runners out at third, line-judges to decide if the serve was in or out, prisons to incarcerate criminals, mechanics to fix our cars when they break, and the list goes on…

Therefore, when things do happen, when life throws a curve-ball, there needs to be someone there to help us get back to where we desire to be. Rather than wishing the services a company provides be different, we need to accept that there will always be something we would change, and be open to measures those companies are taking to make “customer service” less painful.

Marguerite Reardon of CNET writes: Comcast has hired 15,000 new customer service agents and technicians over the past 18 months to help the company answer calls and provide service to customers. It has also rolled out new high-tech diagnostic tools for agents in the field and at call centers to help better assess problems. Comcast has also started re-dispatching field technicians if it looks like a certain technician may not be able to get to his next appointment.

Customer service agents are also starting to work on Saturdays and Sundays to schedule and serve customers when it’s most convenient for them. And it’s offering real time online chat services so that customers can talk live with a customer account executive.

Kudos to Comcast, which even has a team that monitors the blogosphere, and immediately addresses customers’ concerns or problems. Click here to see what we mean. Working to make the customer service issue less painless for customers should be on the front burner of every major company in the business-world today.

And I think other large companies like Verizon are also hiring teams of people to monitor blogs. So, Jay, in answer to your question, do we want customer service, my answer is Hell yes, but I want it to be faster, easier, and less painless than ever before!

How ’bout it

Comcast Tries, but technical difficulties and inexperience hurt customer satisfaction

May 14, 2008

Because we were given a Mac Powerbook Pro several months ago, we’ve been spending the majority of our days at coffee shops (Panera) and other places we could get Wi-Fi. Just two weeks ago, we decided to get an aircard from Verizon Wireless which would provide me with internet access wherever my cell phone in-service.

For a time, it was incredible! I was able to connect to the internet with my laptop from the living room, the back deck, the front porch, but the problem was that the connection through the aircard was just too slow. I guess I had gotten used to the “lightning-fast speeds” which Comcast boasts.

So I decided to make the switch to a wireless connection at home. I made the appointment for a Comcast tech to come out and install a wireless modem with router Tuesday — four days later — between 8 am and 11.

The technician, who was a contractor, called shortly after 10 and said he’d be at the house at 10:30. He might have been off by a few minutes, but he did arrive before the “window” closed at 11.

Everything was going as planned, albeit a little more slowly than expected, until I was told we had “too much” signal to our modem. The tech said he would put on a splitter in the box to cut down the signal. His intention prompted me to “watch him like a hawk,” since he wanted to make our service something less than it already was.

After numerous phone calls dispatch and other people – all of which were strictly related to providing me with wireless – he told me that our cable and our neighbor’s cable should have been run in separately, and that that he would have to come back with a supervisor later in the day, since he had six appointments scheduled from 12 to 3:00.

He made sure that I was going to be at home for the next 2 ½ hours, and said he’d come back possibly with a supervisor. Again, I was considering whether I really wanted to rely both professionally and personally on the internet service he provided. Before he left, he made sure that I was able to access the internet from my desktop, so for that, I was grateful.

Around 2:00, the technician called me to tell me that I should could give him a call after I picked up my son at 3:00. I told him that I would take care of having him picked up by a friend, and that he could come as soon as he was able to – hoping that he would bring someone who had a little more experience than himself.

As of 5:25, and though I’ve watched TV, showered, done laundry, mowed the lawn, and made dinner, I’m still waiting…

However, when I called Comcast at 6:00 to make sure that he was still coming, I was assured by Chris Thompson, that “He’s on his last job and will be headed [my] way as soon as he’s finished.”

The tech did arrive as promised, and a full hour later, I was up and running wirelessly. He left the house at approximately 8:35 pm. Kudos to him for his perseverance and determination, but right now, we’re not all that pleased with the customer service provided by Comcast.

Maybe with more training for the techs, they would be able to arrive during the scheduled window and perform the scheduled service in a timely manner.

How ’bout it?

Comcast Starts Seeing Benefits of Conversations

April 4, 2008

conversation-on-comcast.jpgWith the Facebook group “The Conversation on Comcast,” which was started by several members of the business community who don’t work for Comcast, solutions have been provided to concerns Comcast clients/customers have expressed by executives who work at Comcast!

Though the vast majority of the group does not work for Comcast in any form or fashion, there are a couple of Comcast execs who are members: Frank Eliason and Scott Westerman. Kudos to these two! They are engaging The Relationship Economy, and Comcast is establishing good relationships with clients, as a result of their actions.

As Doc Searls says in The Cluetrain Manifesto, “Markets are Conversations. Therefore they (the markets) are constantly changing. They are ever-evolving, and flowing as rivers of conversations. They can change the way people buy, sell or do business. The internet is a perfect example. For several years now, we have been doing our holiday (Christmas) shopping online, rather than driving to the local mall, driving around to find a parking space, and fighting the crowds. It’s much faster and easier to shop online.

As the group grows, it provides value for not only Comcast, but also for its members. The problems which are solved provide a hope and an insight to other solutions which are case-specific. Though the commercials for Comcast high-speed internet are amusing to say the least, they are really nothing compared to the buzz created by Conversations on Comcast!

The Conversation on Comcast

March 19, 2008

conversation-on-comcast.jpgWhatever your industry, if you are engaging the virtual space, you need to get traction — or hits — for whatever you’re posting. Whether you’re simply complaining to a world-wide audience (hopefully) without any end-goal in mind, or you are trying to gain a loyal readership of what you write — eventually to capitalize on creating the forum you create — you need to have quality and substance in your posts.

Since we aspire to be paid to think — no matter the outcome — we need to achieve traction by generating interest of the masses. We started out several weeks ago with our Comcast post without a clear intent in mind. We simply wanted an acknowledgment that we were having problems with our Comcast service — and we got much more than we ever expected!

Now, a month later, we have moved the conversation into creating a Facebook group called “The Conversation on Comcast.” Within that first month, the membership of the group soared, but has now begun to slow as the “novelty factor” wears off. What we are trying to do is to get as many people who have some relationship with Comcast, the cable giant, to join and share their experiences — both good and bad — with the company.

What is our motivation? We want to make history by creating a new way for companies to enhance customer service and thereby improve customer satisfaction. Soon we will be unveiling plans and new features like podcasts which can prove beneficial to all involved.

If you have any suggestions on ways to engage more people, let us know.

How ’bout it?

The Markets Are Changing

March 5, 2008

tre-cover.jpgWhile the benefits of the social web are innumerable, one amazing characteristic of the social web is that it is changing the marketplace. We are seeing major companies, like the cable giant Comcast, sit up and take notice of what their clients and customers are saying on within the open networks of the emerging space.

For instance, when we wrote about the poor customer service of Comcast compared with AT&T, we got a phone call from one of the Comcast execs not asking us to discontinue expressing our displeasure or to remove the post, but rather to inform us that measures are being taken to improve customer service – which, the caller admitted, has been at times “bad” – and customer satisfaction.

The social web is making companies take notice of what the masses are saying. Facebook groups like “The Conversation on Comcast” are allowing people the forums to express their thoughts about the company – both good and bad – without going to the trouble of actually creating a blog devoted to the subject.

As social networking strategist Jay Deragon says in his blog, “The social web is the new marketplace of influence fueled by conversations and relationships formed at the intersection of people and technology.” Concerns are being expressed in these conversations or “rivers” and Comcast execs are starting to take action. When other/more companies start to realize that though their customers aren’t telling them directly, they aren’t necessarily happy with services or products, The Relationship Economy will be in full swing!

The market is changing. It’s becoming better informed, better connected, and smarter than ever before. The influence is moving from the big to the small; from the companies to the individuals – one by one until it reaches Critical Mass. Is YOUR company ready for the shift?

How ’bout it?