Is Twitter is Really Changing Comcast’s Culture?: 7 Signs to Look For

by cv harquail on October 26, 2009

If you read TechCruch or pay attention to social media gurus, you might think that Comcast was really making progress towards becoming more customer-oriented.

We hear a lot about Frank Eliason and his leadership in getting Comcast onto social media to respond to customer complaints that, increasingly, are being voiced online. With @ComcastCares on Twitter, Eliason is attempting to handle complaints that are upsetting specific customers, fueling an anti-Comcast sentiment, and damaging Comcast’s reputation.

Because Eliason and his team are role models for how to use social media to connect with customers, you might be tempted to conclude that Comcast, as an organization, has begun to change.  Expand your search a little, though, and you’ll see an entire online world devoted to complaints — current complaints — about Comcast and disappointed Comcast’s customers still are with Comcast’s service, products and organization.

Could it be that @ComcastCares, but that Comcast as an organization doesn’t give a *&^# care?


Last week, MG Siegler reported that Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts believes Twitter Has Changed the Culture of Our Company.

Even though there were no details offered by Roberts to demonstrate how, where and why Comcast’s culture was changing, many were quick to spread that comment and repeat again that Twitter was changing Comcast. (Wish fulfillment, I wonder?)

How are these folks coming to this conclusion? How can they claim that Twitter, the practice of using Twitter for customer service, and/or the hard work of the Comcast Digital Care Team have actually had an impact inside of Comcast?

How do we know that Comcast has grown and changed as an organization because of the way the Digital Care Team has interacted with customers?

We need more than an offhand (albeit enthusiastic) comment from the CEO. We need evidence. How about:

7 Signs of (possible) Organizational Change at Comcast

If Comcast really were to change as an organization, these 7 signs would need to be visible, somewhere, right now:

  1. New systems are being created at Comcast to gather and analyze data about customer concerns as reflected on Twitter and other social media sites.
  2. All customers, and not just those with social media savvy, are having their concerns responded to promptly, with respect and empathy.
  3. Systems are being coordinated to respond to this data so that these customer problems happen less frequently.
  4. Comcast employees throughout the organization are developing a greater sensitivity to customer concerns, customer service and customer satisfaction.
  5. Comcast leadership is creating and reinforcing systems that turn feedback into problem diagnosis into solution generating into solution execution into customer followup into organizational learning.
  6. Comcast as a organization is becoming more and more customer-oriented.
  7. Comcast customers are feeling cared about.

_wp-content_uploads_comcastcares.jpgAs fellow skeptic Patrickpray wrote at NotShakespeare:

Making noise on Twitter is relatively easy.   Training personnel, reengineering support processes, and investing in systems to allow for seamless handoffs is a bit harder.

Your Take-a-way:
It’s not an authentic effort to change the organization unless actions directed outside are supported by and in turn support system changes on the inside. Otherwise, it’s just well intentioned, well-done astrotweeting.

[Note: After I drafted this post with these 7 signs, I looked a little further myself for some evidence, and I’ll share this in a follow up post.]

Magic 8-Ball Image from


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