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Comcast Wants to Win You Over with an Exclusive No-Wait Hotline

Comcast is trying to repair its image with a special team of customer service reps, but with limited access to this team, its unclear if this is a step in the right direction.
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Comcast is one of the most hated companies in the United States. Thanks in part to incidents like this, its Internet service division was ranked second-to-last this year by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index. And when the company made a bid to buy Time Warner back in February, it generated even more vitriol from the general public. So how does the cable giant plan to mend its bruised image? With semi-secret customer service cards.

Branded as "We're On It" cards, these tickets let customers bypass the traditional customer service hotline and go straight to a dedicated team whose job it is to resolve your complaint in 24 hours or less. Comcast reps get 12 of these cards per year, which they can hand out at their discretion. The cards are meant for customers who've had negative or unresolved experiences with Comcast customer support. Each card has a unique ID number that connects you with a no-wait hotline where one of 250 special reps will take your call.

The concept isn't unique to Comcast. Today's customer service reps work 24/7 on the phone, online, and even through video. Just last year Amazon launched Mayday, a live, video-based customer service hotline that's cooked into its Kindle Fire tablets and smartphone. Other companies like Southwest, Chase, and JetBlue also have a strong presence on social media to address their customer complaints.

Unfortunately, Comcast admits that its "We're On It" agents don't have any special privileges over the company's traditional reps. Instead, the company says they're similar to its digital care team, a small group of customer service reps that live on Twitter and Facebook. Both are dedicated teams trained to diffuse tense scenarios through different mediums.

Tech blog The Verge reports that these cards don't always work and quotes a former Comcast rep as saying its "simply a palliative to pacify the public."

Readers, what do you think? Is this a step forward for Comcast customer service or do you think it's just a smokescreen designed to make you feel special? Let us know your thoughts below.


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With over a decade of experience covering technology, Louis Ramirez has written for CNET, Laptop, Gizmodo, and various other publications. Follow him on Twitter at @louisramirez.
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15 comments
silversailor
I'm a great test case. I have substantial billing and other issues with Comcast. Just called the "Make it Right Dept" # and spoke with a rep for about 1/2 hr. No hold, No transfers, No "it's not my dept." She promised immediate attention (not results) and that she would keep in contact with me. I'll update as soon as I get results... good or bad.
j00py
If perhaps Comcast would invest in the infrastructure to actually provide the services they claim to offer, then maybe they wouldn't have to spend so much on customer service. Their problem is that their infrastructure doesn't work. If it worked, I wouldn't have to call and complain about my internet connection being intermittent, and they wouldn't have had to send out three guys who didn't fix the problem I'm still paying $85 a month to experience.
kdkg11
If I had any other choice for internet I would cxl that from Comcast too. The internet is slow even though I spend close to $70 per month. I have been told that the main lines in my area are old and need to be replaced but they won't do it. At least I don't have to spend every month on the phone with them since I went with DirectTV for the television service. That always was going out. Comcast is one of my most hated companies! I doubt this new service will change anything, bad company philosophy all around.
zratlyahoocom
The only comment I have for you guys is I am leaving you in absolute dismay!...may be one day comcast may gets it, if ever.
Pete134589
Comcast is literally the worst. One their "special reps" called me after complaining about not being able to schedule a reasonable internet install after they messed up. During the phone call he offered a $50 credit for my troubles, which he took back after he realized that all installation appointment were booked and he couldn't help?!?! Seriously! Seriously! WTF
lindat51
It is not only the customer service that sucks. It is not distributing working equipment, and unknowledgeable customer representatives. This is a smoke screen for sure. Why else would they be doing this now. They have moved service centers to large, elegant offices with very large tv's touting their services. Too bad the representatives are so worthless.
annie4260
By the way, AT&T offered me a faster speed! BS! It's a lot slower! I wouldn't recommend this Uverse to anyone! I need to call & complain, but I am, so, tired of arguing with them! It's a battle every time! I had telephone service with them going way, way back! You would think they'd treat their long time customers better the they do! All of us are between a rock & a hard place! We all need to bombard the FCC with complaints & hopefully [duh] have something done about these companies unscrupulous practices!
Ygor
Wait time is not the issue.
The issue is getting someone on the phone that Has A Clue !
annie4260
I have 2 choices......AT&T & Comcast! I have AT&T & was going to switch to Comcast, but have heard bad about them! AT&T is NOT any better! I have to argue with them over & over again. They are real sneaky, trying to get by with adding this & that. A couple months ago, I decided to try their U verse after being hounded over & over...wouldn't cost me anything to have it installed.....blah, blah, blah! I get this huge bill afterwards. On there is Uverse voice. WTH!!! I had never, even, heard of it! $55 for my phone bill. I had been getting the cheapest, only, using it for limited calls.....which kept going up. The excuses they use for every fee on the bill is unbelievable! They are constantly double talking & trying to confuse! I ended up cutting it off. They never told me I no longer needed it with UVerse. I, finally, settled up for a cheaper UVerse rate locked in [LOL] for a year. Comcast & AT&T are both cheating, conniving companies, who milk us for all they can get!
tradderjohn
I wish i can have comcast back, i am stuck with centurylink 3 meg down. I have to reset my DSL modem every night and the rain is the cause of EVERYTHING.
I dream of comcast again, please move into my area.

I bet they have gentlemans agreement on who has what area.
spireview
I've been calling their customer care team every weekend for 7 weeks.....since I "upgraded" to blast and went from 25mps down to 5-18mps. They came by, blamed the modem (new 6141), reprovisioned my modem, tested the cable, put on new adapters, charged me for the visits (but didn't fix anything), etc. They were supposed to send me a new modem, but instead sent a gateway, which I want no part of. Some members of the team are clueless, other try to be helpful, but bottom line, they earned the distinction of worst customer service. Ever.
dshriner
I have never been a customer for a company worse than Comcast and I doubt that this new service will change much.
Why is this "We're on it" so limited? A good company would seek to provide a top level of service to all customers, not just those who scream the loudest.
I could list at least 10 or 15 problems I have had over the past few years but since they have the best internet service I have stayed on. I monitor my bill closely each month to catch their thievery.
They charged me several times for items never sent.
They charged me for two years for a receiver I did not have. When I complained, they credited my account a few dollars a month but never the entire amount. After six months, I was finally credited the full amount but I had to complain every month.
I even filed complaints with my state's attorney general consumer protection service.
Te only group on par with Comcast for poor customer service was Michigan's attorney general's consumer protection office.
dealnews-Louis
@Cilvre I agree that without competition they're the ones in power, but have you ever tried haggling with them? You'd be surprised at how quick they are to negotiate if you call and say "I'd like to cancel my cable subscription."
arkansan4ever
I contacted Comcast as a potential new customer to get two questions asked: What channels are in their 240+ tier and what do I need to have DVR service for 2 televisions. It took almost an hour and I was transferred to 6 different people. And the worst part is that I finally figured out the answers while holding doing some intense Binging on my own.

I filled out their survey and told them if they couldn't answer those simple questions for new customers there was no way I was going to become a customer.

I don't think this is going to work. It's going to backfire because if I were a customer and needed to contact customer support I'd ask for a card. They would have to either give me one of their 12 or tell me I'm not a good enough customer to deserve what I would refer to as normal customer service.

And the worst part? This campaign merely cements in the minds of customers - current and potential - that Comcast has horrible customer service!

Not all press is good press!
Cilvre
it's a sham, most people can't leave comcast due to lack of choice for broadband internet, and that's the major reasoning behind comcast's actions. my bill regularly goes up and without competition, there is nothing holding them back from screwing over their hostages/customers.
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