Service Failure, Three Ways

Wow. We’ve all had experiences with a utility that makes us cringe. None have made me cringe more than the cable company. It’s a service many of us can’t really live without, yet, there’s no competition in that space. So, we’re forced to endure the worst of the worst when it comes to Customer Service. I’m certain my experience isn’t unique, just multiplied.

I moved across town recently, during this move I switched my internet service from Comcast to Centurylink (whom I’ve blogged about before because of their fantastic customer service at every turn,) and downgraded to the most basic of cable service. I knew this would mean that I would lose my @comcast email addresses, which also served as my log in to pay my bill. Easy enough. At the direction of the service agent who helped me transition my service, I changed my log in information to reflect my new email address and log in so I could have access once my email addresses terminated. Easy. …Or so I thought.

Old computers
(Used under creative commons, thanks eurlief)

First Fail: Fast-Forward: Chatting For Service
I went to log in last week and found that I couldn’t sign it. It said: “No account found.” So I used the “lost password” link, as you’re supposed to, and found my email was not in the system. Hmmm.

So I used the “Chat with a customer service specialist” option. After verifying my existence, the customer service representative had me try to sign in, (I’ve done that.) Try the lost password link (I’ve done that.) and then try the register a new log in link (I hadn’t tried that.) When I attempted to register a new account I received an “Account already registered to ID: ” error. Once I relayed that error to the customer service representative, the agent typed: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to do with that error, you’re going to have to call customer service: 1-800-XFINITY” and then the chat window terminated. (Wait, wasn’t I just talking to Customer Service?)

Neon Telephone

Second Fail: Calling Customer Service: Picking The Phone
So, after fuming about being terminated from “Customer Service” Chat. I stepped back into my issue and called Customer Service. After navigating their phone tree… I finally got to a live body, who said their name so fast I couldn’t write it down (I usually take note of a customer service representative’s name so I can thank them later,) and I then launched into my issue. After confirming my identity and my account (name is Nicholas Church,) he continued to address me as “ma’am.” Nothing gets under my collar quicker as being called ma’am on the phone. After the 3rd time, I corrected him, his reply:

…”I’m Sorry Ma’am.”

“ARE YOU EVEN LISTENING TO ME?!” I was fuming. I relayed my issue again, that I couldn’t pay my bill, and after another 3 “ma’am”s, I paid my bill, after confirming I wouldn’t be charged the fee for paying on the phone (I sincerely hate paying fees for paying bills, I think it’s the stupidest business decision) and hung up the phone while still fuming and took to Twitter, what seemed to be the last bastion of respectable customer service.

Tweet Me
(used under creative commons, thanks TPorter2006!)

Third Fail: Twitter – 140 Characters of Service
Now, in the last couple of years, Comcast has been known for their Twitter customer service (@Comcastcares) – If you had an issue, you could reach out to them and see second-tier resolution. Not exactly first-call, but your problem would be solved. So I reached out. Explained the issue, my steps to resolution, omitting my frustration with being called “ma’am” since it wasn’t relevant to the discussion. I went through all the testing steps they suggested, (Same ones as above) and then was told that an internet specialist would follow up with me later. I waited 4 days, spanning a weekend, with no response. On the fifth day, I followed up with the Twitter Service Rep who was handling my issue. He had no recollection of my previous issue, I had to remind him of the situation, and I was told, again, there would be an internet service representative calling. The next day, now a week later, I received a call from the internet support rep, re-explained my issue and after three separate calls, finally was able to log into my Comcast account.

Where I noticed I have a pending charge for paying on the phone. That will be another call, for another day.

If you’re looking for a great way to fail at customer service, the above experience is a textbook example of how to do it in three separate modes of communication.

Failing at customer service, Xfinity’s triple play.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Aargh! I wish I could say I’m shocked but unfortunately I’m not. At one time Comcast reigned supreme in the world of customer service (IMO) but ever since they switched to Xfinity they have lost all credibility in my world. I believe the X was done to signify their decision to remove customer service from their business model. I’ve had similar experiences over the last couple years. You’ve done a wonderful job of capturing the insanity of the X. So sorry you had to go through this. Hopefully you can easily get that added bill removed… Good luck, ma’am… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Schnik says:

      More likely is that I’m going to cancel my service and just use Netflix. Since Xfinity will be requiring a cable box for the most basic of cable at some point this summer so they can charge the rental fees.

  2. Good Afternoon.
    I’m very sorry for the poor experience we’ve created here. I would like to review this with the leadership teams. Please email us with a link to this post and the phone number associated with your account. Please also include your twitter ID. We will pull the chat, call, and tweets and discuss with management. Thank you for this feedback. We look forward to hearing from you and the opportunity to make this right.

    Kind Regards,
    Melissa Mendoza
    Digital Media Specialist
    National Customer Operations

    1. Schnik says:


      I’ve responded with the information you’ve requested.

  3. Joell says:

    Sadly, this type of service is all too common these days. Good luck with Melissa (per her above comment) and getting some good resolution. Thanks for the visit and the follow at my blog! ๐Ÿ™‚ I think you are a dear friend of my dear friend Sarah? Love that girl!

    1. Schnik says:

      You’re right. This experience is FAR too common. I’m just doing my part to shine a light on glaring errors.

  4. All I can say is that I am glad I don’t have to deal with this since I use a smaller local company for these services ๐Ÿ™‚ Sorry for your troubles dude. I hope they all get resolved sooner than later.

    1. Schnik says:

      Thanks Jeremy, for you comments and for stopping by my little home on the web. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Hopefully you will get this all resolved soon. Luckily for me, I have an excellent local company to use for these services.

  6. My experience with Comcast is that they give the appearance of customer service, but with absolutely zero follow-through or commitment. I fear the above contact is along the same lines. One time when I called with a fairly simple question, I’m pretty sure the second-tier person I talked to was faking a British accent and pretending not to understand my query.

    1. Schnik says:

      Hehe. Was that “Comcast Jane?” Cause I’ve talked to her, too.

      It’s a really sad experience when you have to reach into the depths of the organizational structure to get the kind of service you should have received in the first interaction…

  7. Marissa says:

    As one who used to work for Comcast in 2005/6, this saddens me deeply. We had such a GREAT reputation for serving Customers both in inbound sales and with problem solving. At the time I was there the Beaverton Region was ranked in the Top 3 in the Country and the mandate was from the VP of our Region that we keep it there if not get better.

    How does a Company go from that to where they are now in 6 years? What was the change? It baffles me because QA was such a vital part of our daily work ethic on everyone’s part.

    1. Schnik says:

      Some would say it was the Xfinity Purchase and some would say it was when local control was lost.

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