Comcast Cares: Customer Service through Social Media

Everyone with a cable subscription knows all too well how frustrating a call to the Customer Service hotline can be. I remember earlier this year, I called the AT&T U-verse hotline to dispute being charged twice in the same month. One hour later, I had been transferred 6-7 times. I had been “accidentally” disconnected. I had been given no answers. And I had begun to see red. Later that night, over dinner with friends, they questioned my snippy attitude and short temper. My only response: AT&T ruined my evening.

Now, the days of calling 1-800 may be coming to a close. Comcast’s Digital Care team has attempted to take Customer Service to the next level. Launched last year, Comcast Cares has attempted to use Twitter as a form of customer relations to proactively assist guests that may be having issues with their service.

The team, headed up by Frank Eliason, spends their time skimming twitter feeds for any tweets that mention Comcast. Once one is found, the Comcast subscriber can anticipate a personalized re-tweet or direct message simply asking: :”How can I help?” Also, when outages or issues occur, the team take to the Twitterverse to spread the word:

This sounds like a brilliant idea, right? Let’s take a closer look:

The biggest win of this campaign is that they personalized several Twitter accounts to coincide with the man or woman behind the screen. Instead of talking to @ComcastSupportAgent, you speak with @ComcastMichael or @ComcastSteve. This makes a huge difference by adding that human element to something that could be very dehumanizing.

However, after thorough review of the service, I have noticed some areas that can use some TLC:

  1. Consistency in communication. With each different Twitter account comes a unique personality. And all these personalities seem to engage the Comcast customers in different ways and at different frequencies.
  2. Promotion of this tool. I now know about this seemingly excellent service; however, I’ve been using Twitter for over a year now and only found out about Comcast Cares now.
  3. Actually Respond. The service seems to be tapering off. Each Comcast Twitter user seems to post few and far between (sometimes months apart). If this service is up and running, it deserves a little more focus.

In conclusion, I’d like to note that I actually tested this service yesterday by tweeting the statement: “So frustrated with Comcast right now.” Over 24-hrs later, I’m still waiting for a response. If this was once a great service with a sneak-peak to the next generation of customer service, it seems to have fallen short of its initial hype.

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It’s Time: A Viral Case Study

You’ve all seen it! It flooded your news feeds, and may even have roused you to post/retweet it yourself. No, I’m not talking about Rebecca Black’s awkwardly contagious video production. I’m talking, of course, of the “It’s Time” video that first emerged on YouTube last Thanksgiving.

Take a moment to wipe the tears from your eyes…

Now, let’s discuss.

The It’s Time video began to flood my Facebook news feed when I was on vacation in Miami–roaming the streets of South Beach. Curious, but only with my iPhone at my disposal, I tucked myself into the shade of one of the street corners and plugged in my ear-buds to see what everyone was ‘Liking’. Exactly 1 minute and 17 seconds later, my stomach lurched. By the end of the 2 minute video, my heart felt like it been replaced with a small gerbil, tearing at my chest cavity to escape.

Within the week, a Facebook Page emerged asking for support to air the video on U.S. National Television. The campaign was raising funds, and I was overjoyed that a positive and realistic portrayal of LGBT life was gaining so much attention… Then, it just stopped.

The YouTube video currently sits at 6.5+ million views but the Facebook campaign has stopped just short of 10 thousand ‘Likes’. Although the project has raised funds, through the webpage SocialTeeth.org, it has only raised 2.6% of its $50,000 goal.

So, was this video viral? Yes, I believe it was, and the millions of views speak to that. It gained massive public attention on a global scale within a very short period of time.

But was the viral-factor of this video affective at meeting its goals? Sadly, I must conclude that no, it was not. Although the video was highly popular, it did not create the change it sought in a way that could be measured (aka $$$). It may have inspired viewers to open their hearts but they kept their wallets closed.

Ten months later, this campaign appears to be coming to a close. This video, if aired on national television, may indeed have the ability to catapult marriage equality into U.S. law. But unfortunately, for all its emotional appeal, it still lacks the lucrative traction to create change.