If you're reading this from your own internet, there's a good chance it's being brought to you by Comcast. One of the leading providers of cable, internet, and phone in the Chicago area, the company is well-recognized amongst customers and non-customers alike.
Comcast may do things right in the Twitter world, but we couldn't help but notice a big disconnect between their online customer service and their real-life execution.
So what do they do well, and what are they getting a Fail Whale for? Our four cents below:
Comcast does do one thing better than virtually any other company in the Chicago Twitterverse, and that is respond. Fast.
No @, no handle necessary; Comcast appears to have a team of hawk-eyed, professionally photographed people staring at their monitors for any mention of the company, all eager to assist you. Add the fact that each handle is a person, with a name, a face, and a personality, and suddenly tweeting Comcast reps stand-out in a world of automated menus, bad hold music, and nameless operators whose only interest seems to be reading the script in front of them. That's right, Bill is real, and he's here just for you.
There are two different Comcasts: The online one, and the one you get in the flesh. (Or more appropriately, the phone.) Last year I attempted to get a second cable box set up in my apartment. After 10 days, four hours of holdtime and half the Comcast crew following me on Twitter, I ended up fixing it myself. The bottom line: it does not matter how quick a response I received, or how polite, friendly, and personable the rep was, if at the end of an interaction, my problem still exists. Just like baseball, it's all in the follow-through.
So Comcast's Twitter handles are very responsive and I give them a lot of credit, because some days trying to help angry Comcast patrons online is like trying to run positive image PR for Labron James. All in all, even if we are disgruntled, they still try, even if it is with a corporate response.
Regardless of Twitter response time, they still suck. It's not exactly Twitter's fault, or any or the reps who do an amazing job on it. It's the fact that they have gotten too big to handle their volume of customers. The biggest disconnect happens when you call them. If you're dealing with a local call center, then I wish you the best.
We give Comcast 3, (generous) hashtags for their quick response times, personal touches, but major disconnect between what they promise and what they deliver. They need to realign their system so that the Twitter personas, Call center peeps, AND their Canadian chain all get on the same page. The cable company serves as a prime example of both the potential of social media as a customer service tool, and the real depth and thought required around making it work every step of the way.
Jen Healy is a Global Social Media Specialist for a really big international (go figure) company on the Northside of Chicago. Her claim to social media fame involves a stint as the social media intern for the RedEye, America's Test Kitchen, and the title of “Top 10 World's Coolest Interns.” (Yes, it's real, and it's spectacular.)
Katie Holland is a Social Media Supervisor for a really big international (different from Jen's) company out in the west suburbs of Chicago. Her claim to social media fame involves a mention in the bestseller Groundswell for a Twitter interaction in 2010, and serving as co-chair of the Social Customer Care subcommittee for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. She is also featured in Rebecca Black's video for Friday. (Okay, not really)