Everybody hates Comcast. If you think that’s an exaggeration, just Google “Comcast” and it will turn up gems like this:
15 years ago in Boston I made a vow to go Cable-less rather than ever be a Comcast customer again. That, coupled with years of experience listening to my friends complain about horrific customer service from the cable giant makes me even more appreciative of my local cable company, Bright House.
Currently I am blessed to fall outside of Comcast’s reach; although Bright House also enjoys a geographic monopoly like all cable companies, I count my lucky stars that I am their customer. Over the roughly 8 years I’ve been with them, Bright House has yet to disappoint me on the customer service front.
I live on Florida’s Gulf Coast, which means we have lots of thunderstorms. It also means that our service gets knocked out more often than other areas. Those outages, in addition to my not so prompt payment a few times over the years, has given me regular experience with Bright House’s customer service center. They are always courteous, but most importantly, they are always available.
Recently I lost internet 30 minutes before our Millennial Think Tank show was about to begin on Google+; a big problem since I’m the moderator. Because my internet was down, so was my landline – I couldn’t call BrightHouse. I went to their website via my cell to get their phone number and IT was down, along with their 1 800 number, which rang busy when I called.
I have so much faith in this company that I simply went to Twitter, and messaged BrightHouseCare.
Most striking to my marketing self was the fact that my consumer self was not surprised AT ALL when they responded, immediately. Even though I’d never used Twitter to reach out to Bright House before, I KNEW they’d be there because they had built up a resevoir of good will with me. Always reliable, I thought nothing of reaching out to them via Twitter.
Bright House is Not Alone
As I write this post I’m flying on a Soutwest Airplane headed back home; after my canceled flight yesterday I’m relieved to have a couple of hours to catch up on work as I can connect as we fly.
Southwest is my favorite airline, which doesn’t mean too much; there isn’t another that I even like. I spent 5 years flying 3 – 4 times a week and I learned, thoroughly, just how bad bad customer service can be. I am obviously not alone in my love of Sourthwest; the airline is regularly named the one of most on time, most liked airlines flying.
There is a reason for their popularity that goes beyond efficiency and cheap fares; Southwest has built a culture around a friendly, can-do attitude that permeates the company. It shows up everywhere. On this trip it was in the comedian flight attendant we were blessed with, but also in how they handled issues beyond their control.
On the day I was to return home there was a ‘wintry mix’ making the Pennsylvania roads dangerous; I realized that Baltimore was faring no better, and my return from BWI would probably be canceled. I tried calling Southwest to change my flight, but of course they were overwhelmed with calls from other travelers being hit by the same weather. So, I turned to Southwest.com on my phone, and connected to their mobile customer service number. Within minutes I was rebooked for the following day. Simple, and so easy to take for granted.
So what’s the real point of my two stories of customer service excellence? Here’s the thing: in both instances the normal channel I would have chosen for emergency, reliable service, the telephone, was either not possible, or, would have left me waiting, and waiting, and becoming more displeased with every minute. Because both of these companies have alternative methods of communicating with their customers, they saved me and countless others, from long, drawn out, frustration building experiences.
And yes, I may be more social media sophisticated than many, but that’s changing quickly. We EXPECT rapid customer service in this high speed, digital age. WE, as in ALL of your customers Mr/Ms CMO/CEO and anyone else who cares about the bottom line.
My colleague Joe Cardillo and I talk about this all of the time; foolish is the executive who actually believes their company is bullet proof-protected from bad PR/bad customer service, and the mixed nightmare they can be for anyone handling a PR crisis. The reality is that bad customer experiences compound over time, and unless your company has the telecom industry type of monopoly on their customers, you should think hard about your omni-channel customer service, and whether it’s up to snuff.