Comcast is the largest provider of entertainment, information and communications services and products in the United States, providing cable television, broadband Internet and telephone services to their customer base in 40 states. As of March 2012, Comcast had more than 18 million subscribers to their Internet services alone. Despite their obvious commercial success, the company had been the target of criticism for their poor level of customer service for a long time, which had been evidenced in their low customer satisfaction scores.
It is a well know fact of life in the digital age that disgruntled customers can do tremendous harm to the reputation of a company by tweeting and posting negative comments about their experiences with customer service. Due to the viral nature of Facebook and Twitter, the company’s reputation will surely suffer in almost all such cases.
Comcast has managed to revolutionise their customer care approach and improve customer satisfaction by utilising Twitter as a means of reaching out and communicating with their customers. In 2008, Frank Eliason, a Comcast customer service representative, initiated a new project where he and his team of 10 started addressing the growing criticism of their customers that had been caused by their frustration and dissatisfaction with Comcast’s customer service. The project made good use of Twitter’s microblog functionality in order to help customers in the most efficient way possible.
According to a 2011 report, Frank’s new customer care division processes about 6000 blog posts and 2000 Twitter messages per day which results in faster customer response times that directly translate into improved customer satisfaction indexes. One unique aspect of their Twitter based communication is that they don’t use “ghost” personas – all communication that comes from @ComcastCares originates from Frank himself. This brings the much needed human touch back to the online customer interaction which is pretty rare among companies the size of Comcast. Arguably, this has been the key ingredient that made Frank’s project a success and a very strong differentiator compared to customer service practices of similarly large corporations.
To sum up, taking care of your customers and handling customer complaints appropriately must be a first priority for every company that wants to improve (or even just maintain) their good reputation on the market. With the proliferation of social media on the Internet, news travel extremely quickly and no company can afford to lose their paying customers due to the perception that their concerns are not being addressed appropiately by customer service. Conversely, by providing stellar customer service through social media can be an important differentation that can result in serious market advantages over the competitors.
Wikipedia – Comcast
Wikipedia – Criticism of Comcast
Cable Continues Low Customer Satisfactions Tradition
Comcast Reports 1st Quarter 2012 Results
12 digital and social media case studies that prove Customer Service ROI
Social Media Case Study: How Comcast Is Winning The Battle For Perception
Twitter – Frank Eliason
Twitter – @ComcastCares