After reading a news post listed near my business on Merchant Circle, I can only shake my head in wonder. According to the information hot on the blogs, a Comcast employee not only wandered into a house to do some work but managed to take a nap - and was filmed doing so. That video wound up on the ‘net and generated a great deal of bad press for Comcast. It leaves me to wonder, however, what type of avenues this might open up for the small business owner.
I'd like to take you quickly through the text of the video (sorry to spoil it for you, you can still go and watch!):
"A Comcast technician came to replace my modem He spent over an hour on hold with Comcast. He fell asleep on my couch. Thanks Comcast for: Two broken routers, four hour appointment blocks, weeklong internet outages, long hold times, high prices, three missed appointments, promising to call back and then not calling, Thanks Comcast for everything. "
Now, in the interest of honesty, I will confess that I have not had problems like this with Comcast. I have, however, had similar problems with BellSouth. Granted, no techs have fallen asleep on my couch. But I've suffered through insane appointment blocks, missed appointments, and ridiculous hold and wait times.
Several blogs have asked the question, why was the tech so poorly trained as to have to wait on hold for an hour? I've noticed that they have to do the followup, so perhaps the tech was just calling in to close out the appointment. I've also considered napping on my hold time with BellSouth (my best was two hours, btw, after they cut off my internet when I told them to cancel the phone and KEEP the DHL, but that's another ball of wax. . . ). Furthermore, I will also note that the problem was resolved by Comcast, obviously in a very professional manner.
I hate to blog and commercialize, but I will just say that my experiences with larger companies are what have led to my role in Redd Infinity, our low voltage wiring company based out of Atlanta. While we don't handle installs that require Comcast techs, we can do the simple additions of jacks to add basic cable (legally) to other rooms. Having experienced a zillion three or four hour windows, we don't do them. We make an appointment and we finish up quickly, striving always to exceed expectations. In short, because we are a smaller business, we believe we can help out consumers better than larger companies, where you are only a name.
Another quick look at windows, which are my bane. The aforementioned video notes that three four-hour windows were missed, for a total of 12 hours. Then, of course, there was the appointment a tech actually showed up for; we'll figure it only took two hours (remember, the tech was on hold for one of those hours). Total work missed (because the windows always require work being missed): 14 hours. At $10/hour, we're talking about being out $140, even if there was no charge for the tech. Furthermore, if we estimate a 30 minute drive to and from work (here in Atlanta, it takes 30 minutes to go 2 miles, thanks to traffic), that is an extra hour of work missed, for four appointments. Total money lost, at $10/hour: $180. If your salary is higher (or your drive time further), the cost would be even greater.
Customer service has certainly gone down the tubes. This is another reason why small business owners need to keep their service at a superior level (and we have a better chance to). As larger companies leave customers with a bad taste in their mouths, smaller companies have the chance to come out ahead.
Nola Redd is an author on http://www.Writing.Com which is a site for Fiction Writing . She maintains a free blog and newsletter for small business owners while her husband does low-voltage wiring with Redd Infinity .