Good ol’ Michael Arrington of TechCrunch had an interesting weekend in which he learned how to minimize the classic ISP runaround (i.e., the customer service you get when your Internet stops working). He had 36 hours of downtime before, as he puts it, he lost his cool and posted to Twitter this message: “I am going to expend significant energy over the next three weeks trashing comcast.”
It only took 20 minutes after his Twitter message for a Comcast executive in Philadelphia to call him asking the “how can I help” question. The executive explained that he monitors Twitter and blogs to get an understanding of what people are saying about Comcast. Soon after the call, a team was dispatched to Arrington’s place and the issue was resolved. This sure beats what he experienced earlier with the automated phone system and misleading customer service.
The whole episode reminds me of the time last year when I had to go without Internet for two months. Lots of factors were to blame, but Verizon did not handle the situation very well. Next time anything like this happens, it seems that I should know exactly what to do. I’ll give them one chance to fix it and then start blogging / tweeting from a friend’s house.
When you use the Internet more than practically anything else at home (it’s my phone book / maps / weather / driving directions / calendar / dictionary / encyclopedia / banking / movie show times / reviews / credit cards / bills / shopping / streaming movies / music downloads / pictures / email / news / order tracking), the lifestyle change even for a short period of time is a huge pain.
But before I get too excited with this new found ISP customer service solution, I wonder, will it work for those who aren’t big shots? And even if it does, how sustainable is that kind of model? If only the regular customer service were good enough in the first place so that this kind of work around wouldn’t be necessary…
*Update* Paul Ellis has his own Comcast tech support story, which I think tops Arrington’s.