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?

_TheySuck_Comcast_Comcast-Still-Sucks.jpg

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 ComcastSucks.org

{ 8 comments }

Comcastcares October 26, 2009 at 10:57 pm

I can actually provided examples of each, including new systems, improvements in Customer satisfaction (still prefer much more improvement, which will come), and overall company changes, including new credo focusing on the Customer experience. We will continue to improve and learn from our Customers. I posted this with my email address if you would like to chat further.

Frank Eliason
Comcast
Senior Director National Customer Operations
We_Can_Help@cable. Comcast.com

Comcastcares October 26, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Sorry for some of the iPhone typos!

Frank

cv October 27, 2009 at 8:50 am

Frank, Thanks so much for the comment– and for the offer to direct me to some resources that might have evidence of any or all of these 7 Signs… I’m emailing you now. cvh

Allen, ATT Uverse Reviews November 5, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I’ve read a similar post and I don’t think not everybody is positive about it, but well let’s see. They still can’t beat the quality of ATT Customer Service.

Becki (@beckinoles) December 4, 2009 at 4:41 pm

I for one will not contact Comcast by phone again. If I have an issue with my Comcast account, I automatically turn to Frank Eliason and his team via Twitter. Last year I had an issue and I contacted Comcast C/S no less than 5 times. I tweeted about my terrible experience and Frank and his team literally took care of the issue in 20 minutes. It was awesome.

I feel bad for those who are not social media savvy, but as they say, the early bird catches the worm.
.-= Becki (@beckinoles)´s last blog ..Be a Better Decision Maker =-.

cv December 4, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Hi Becki-
And who could blame you! Once you (or any customer) finds a way to get real attention for their concern, why try anything else!
What your experience points out, too, is how different parts of a company can have such different responses and attitudes…where the folks on Twitter are right there with a solution, and the folks over at formal customer service still send you through the wringer before they drop your call.
I heard of the same disconnect with Continental Airlines– great help on Twitter, frustration on the “live help” at customer service…. Not sure if it’s a departmental thing, or a problem with tech adoption, but very interesting….
cvh

Joe September 14, 2010 at 10:33 am

Comcast’s culture is the sickest, most toxic one I’ve ever been a part of, and I couldn’t get out quick enough. In short, it is Dilbert. They value numbers only, not quality of service (despite current initiatives) or certainly not their employees. Hardly anyone likes working there, but they continue to do so either because they’re not qualified or too scared in this economy. Constant micro-managing IS the norm, across the board. Doesn’t matter if you’re a “suit” or a tech–you better be prepared to be constantly harassed, lied to and mistreated by your own company.

Some actual events that I witnessed:
-My boss actually emailed a spreadsheet full of EVERYONE’S annual performance rating out to all his direct reports so we all saw what each other were rated–and everyone who worked for each of us. Wow–never thought I’d see that level of unprofessional behavior anywhere!

-A fight on the office floor between 2 employees where the “F” bomb was dropped several times and they almost came to blows.

-A salesperson forging a customer’s name on a contract.

-Deliberate lying about customer’s business status and product applications in order to sell to make monthly quota.

I could go on and on…

So glad to get out–I don’t know why anyone would subject themselves to such conditions when there ARE many better opportunities out there. Life is short people, don’t waste it working for this company.

cv harquail September 15, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Joe, it sounds awful for you. It’s so important for the people deep within the organization to feel pride in their company– and when that’s missing, no amount of tweeting or blogging makes a difference. Thanks for sharing. cvh

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