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Monday, November 19, 2018

Opinion

Comcast’s customer service earns title of ‘Worst Company in America’


Comcast

Francis Emelogu/The Cougar

One has definitely heard about Comcast, whether the company is your cable provider or if it has been seen on the press. From the nightmare customer service stories that come out year after year, it comes as no surprise that Comcast was voted the ‘Worst Company in America’ for 2014 by Consumerist, beating out the likes of Facebook, Monsanto — an oft-criticized chemical and agricultural biotechnology corporation — and even SeaWorld.

When Ryan Block tried to cancel his Comcast service in July, he recorded the now-infamous call to demonstrate how difficult it is to cancel a Comcast account. This would be the second occasion that Comcast has been voted ‘America’s worst company’ and if that trend continues, eventually the public will force the company to change its rules and policies, or face a potential downfall.

Listening to the phone call recording, one can hear the Comcast representative repeatedly asking, “What was wrong with the service?” The representative is obviously asking for feedback about the company and asking how service can be improved, but at that point in time, the customer no longer wants to answer questions or cooperate.

Comcast senior vice president of customer service Tom Karinshak released a statement regarding the incident with Block.

“The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives,” Karinshak said. ”We are using this unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.”

The problems with Comcast seem to include its notorious reputation for poor customer service, difficulty with account and service procedures and lack of genuinely good relationships with their consumers.

With so many people practically wishing the company to go down, it makes it that much more difficult for Comcast to change its image and build a positive reputation — that is, if Comcast cares to change its reputation. If Comcast doesn’t feel threatened that it will lose out on a huge amount of its consumer base, the company won’t see a need to move forward in a positive direction.

According to the Huffington Post, Eric Santelices said he spent more than two hours on the phone trying to resolve a service problem that happened the night before. Additionally, a whopping 43 percent of Federal Trade Commission reports included a narrative complaining about internet connectivity or pricing.

Comcast seems to be receiving the hardest punches, with more customer service complaints being shared virally online. For example, according to CBS News, Aaron Spain of Illinois was put on hold for over three hours Monday after calling the company to cancel his service. Spain learned that Comcast was closed for the day after calling another company department.

With a possible merger between Comcast and Time Warner in the works, the merger would control over 40 percent of all broadband access in the U.S., and will be the only option for many communities with a lack of other alternatives for high-speed internet access.

Taking the situation into a different light, according to CNET, the cable TV provider industry ranked dead last for overall customer service. Based on the surveys, 11 out of the 14 bottom-rated companies are either in the TV or Internet service industry.

The biggest potential threat to cable service is the Internet. With the rise in popularity of Netflix, mobile TV apps and online-streaming, if cable companies don’t get their act together, they might not be around much longer. With increasingly busy schedules and a need to be on the move around the clock, the average American isn’t spending hours plopped on the couch watching live television. The behaviors have changed, and so have consumer expectations.

Comcast continues to publicly apologize for the continually poor customer service, calling the experience “unacceptable” and assuring that this is not the experience they want customers to have. On the flip side, it keeps happening and the recorded videos and audio are only going to keep coming.

If a company isn’t being transparent and respectful to consumers, it’s going to have a hard time staying afloat. It’s only a matter of time until companies like Comcast change their strategies and start giving exemplary customer service or they’ll have no chance of succeeding. The modern American expects quality service, especially when you’re paying higher fees to have that service.

Opinion columnist Gemrick Curtom is a public relations senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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