Is Twitter for Customer Service or Damage Control?

Comcast has gotten a lot of praise for their Twitter customer service team and I don’t doubt it’s been responsible for their sharply increased rating on the American Consumer Satisfation Index (ACSI). I’ve used their team myself to resolve problems that support doesn’t or get quick answers to service questions. While I think they’re doing a valuable job, their function has been misidentified as customer service.

In my mind, customer service starts the minute you initiate contact to resolve an issue. You have an expectation that when you call in, you’re going to walk away with some kind of resolution. When you get conflicting answers from a CSR or don’t get your problem resolved by tech support, you’re not getting good customer service. By the time you’re venting on your blog, on a forum, or on your Twitter account, the damage is done: you got poor service.

When the Twitter-based customer service ninjas swoop in to try and get the problem fixed, they’re in full-on damage control mode. This isn’t to say they aren’t doing a great job of cleaning up messes; they are. But the core problem, that the customer service team failed to deliver, still hasn’t been fixed. I often don’t bother calling in with problems because I know I’m going to spend half an hour rebooting everything to have them blame my router, demand escalation, sit on hold another 15 minutes, and then face getting disconnected. It’s a lot easier to either complain online or seek out the Twitter folks to get things done.

This lesson is an important one for other service providers as a lot of former Comcast customers I’ve spoken with have sworn off ever going back because of customer service issues. Many Mstar customers have been in the same boat. Even though XMission’s DSL service is slower than Comcast and sometimes a bit more expensive, customers are fiercely loyal because the service is, by all accounts, awesome. It’s not because they’re using Twitter, it’s because they don’t have to in order to resolve customer issues.

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2 Responses to Is Twitter for Customer Service or Damage Control?

  1. u235sentinel says:

    while we would like more bandwidth (because my family has needs beyond our gaming addiction) we won’t go back to Concast.

    In 2007 when they terminated our Internet, we learned that despite having NOTHING that compares to their speeds, we couldn’t in good conscience go back. Even when their imposed 12 month penalty expired. We don’t believe they were telling the truth when they said we used 300 gigs a month. I have nearly two years of data that shows the most we used was 73 Gigs in a single month. And that was because I pulled down the 7.04 ubuntu i386 repo for work I was doing at the time.

    Concast has come far in the last two years. I’ve detailed it on my blog but simply put they now tell you what their bandwidth cap is (they denied they had one when our unlimited bandwidth account was terminated.

    They ‘claim’ they are working on a bandwidth monitoring tool so you can see how much you actually used in a month. And they ‘claim’ their twit team can help when their CSR’s are in Epic Fail mode. I’ve heard the stories.

    So why wouldn’t I go back? More bandwidth and problems solved right?


    How do I know they are monitoring my account correctly? I have tools in place now that show me what my usage is and honestly it’s never come close to what they accused us of. granted I wasn’t monitoring at the time. I didn’t think I needed to since their advertising (and the contract) said unlimited use and NOT unlimited access.

    I believe they are as dishonest of a company as they come. And Brian Roberts saying in interviews he doesn’t understand why they have a bad rep. If he listened to me in the letter I sent him in 2007 then he would have a clear understanding.

    We have no confidence in them and their ability to resolve problems. Even their twit team doesn’t inspire me with confidence that going back things would be better. What if my monitoring software says I’m using 50 Gigs a month and they insist I’m using 300 again?? I’m using tools such as Cacti, RRDtool and vnstat to monitor our usage. They are running on the firewall so I’m capturing everything.

    Sigh… Sorry but they must do better if they want me or other’s on my street to return (yes, there were several other’s also terminated for overusage).

  2. Jonathan says:

    Along with possibly not monitoring bandwidth correctly. I have had port 25 shut off because of excessive use right after an IP change. I know I couldn’t have been sending spam from a virus because I blocked port 25 at my firewall.

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