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PostHeaderIcon Giving Credit to @ComcastGeorge

@Comcastgeorge's Personal Profile on Twitter - notice how it is used

@Comcastgeorge's Personal Profile on Twitter - notice how it is used

For weeks, I have been talking to clients about ways to use social media to aid their businesses – not just to market them.  And one of the best case studies I had heard about was Comcast.  Generally, I have been quite pleased with Comcast’s service (as compared to say this big telephone monopoly I use for my cell phone), although there are those who think that Comcast’s service and customer service quality ranks just below dirty diapers left drying in the hot sun.  To proactively deal with that problem, Comcast’s Director of Digital Care, Frank Eliason, set up a system by which Comcast customer service reps watch Twitter (I’m assuming they use Twitter search to identify mentions), looking for any issues that could become or have just become customer complaints.  At that point, the Comcast team reaches out and tries to solve the problem. 

This is brilliant from two perspectives.  First, from a pure operational perspective, it reduces the call response and problem resolution times as reported by a call center.  These are very standard metrics by which the performance of customer service centers is judged and are therefore extremely relevant to measuring the success of any business.  Second, from a branding perspective, it turns the entire Comcast service quality issue from a negative to a positive.  Most people understand that companies that run complex systems will have service issues.  What they don’t understand is not being able to reach somone in a timely fashion to get help figuring out what is wrong and finally achieve a repair.  There is a wonderful saying: “All companies can do well when their customers are happy.   The difference between great companies and average companies is how they react when their customer is unhappy.”   Comcast may not be perfect, but it has shown through this one example that it is trying to “hear” its unhappy customers better and is using technology – creatively, in ways no one else thought of – to try to close the chasm between its customers’ concerns and its ability to act on them.

The way I would describe this is that through Twitter, Comcast makes everyone capable of having their own personal hotline to a Comcast CSR. 

But being the skeptic that I am, I figured that if I ever had a chance to test the approach, I would.  And I did.  If you were on Twitter with me at 5:32AM on March 26 you would have seen the following comment:

If Comcast continues to crash and run like nectar through as sieve, I’m going to have a cow.. I’ve got a Tweet and I know how to use it. 

Now you have to realize that the usage levels of Twitter really don’t start to rise until about 6AM.   So I can forgive  the fact that @Comcastgeorge didn’t get back to me until 6:13AM when he picked up on my thread and helped to resolve my issue (which turned out to be a larger service problem in my area – but at least I then knew it wasn’t my modem or computer).

 So given the fact that often CSRs only hear criticism, here’s a shoutout compliment to you Frank Eliason and @ComcastGeorge – good work on living up to your promise, not embarassing me in front of my clients, etc. etc.  But don’t get cocky.  You’re only as good as your last call center metrics report.

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