1. Where I Rant About a Poor Experience with Comcast Self-Service

    brian on 2008.08.03
    at 12:22 am

    I went to Comcast’s web site tonight to attempt some web self-service. I realized that after my most recent TiVo difficulties, that once I got the software re-installed that a few video settings were still running on their defaults, which weren’t the proper settings for my HDTV. When it dawned on me why all my HD channels were letter boxed, I dug back into fix them. When I got to where I needed to change the setting, I couldn’t recall whether I was supposed to use 720i Fixed or 720i Hybrid. I remember researching this in the user manual for the box, but thanks to our office becoming a nursery, there was no way to find that manual without hours of digging.

    I thought to myself, “I remember seeing a QuickTips PDF on the TiVo portion of Comcast’s site. Maybe they have all the user manuals there too! That would make things much easier.”

    Instead, I got caught in a loop on this page I couldn’t escape. The service page said I could write an email to their head honcho of support, so I did. This is the part where I ranted.

    Greetings Rick,

    I came to your site for self-service support, but got caught in a endless login loop. I click “cable TV” then “DVR service”, then it asks for my address, which I supply. But instead of being then dropped into the DVR section, I’m dropped out at some other location and I’m totally lost. Once I find the option for support buried in some side sliding fly-out navigation after a couple minutes, it drops me back at the main support area. I press “Cable TV” a second time, then “DVR service” a second time, and guess what? It asks for my address, again! My cookies are on, so it should remember my info from last time, but no. I figure I’ll try to be helpful and use the bottom option of signing in to my account instead, hoping that’ll be more sticky. But then it tells me my account “cannot be accessed at this time” Oh yeah? Why not? And what time will it be accessible? If not when I need help, then it’s not going to do me any good.

    However, I can “read a letter from Rick.” Will that tell me the proper video display setting on my TiVo? 720i Hybrid or Fixed? Kinda doubt it. I’m sure that letter makes the site’s internal stakeholders feel good, but how about the customers who this site is supposed to be assisting. No offense, Rick, but seeing your picture doesn’t help me find the user manual to my DCT3416-I!

    Even this cute little email form is broken, below the “How can I help you?” heading, the text wraps below this text field I’m typing in. (Safari 3.2.1) And lastly, I don’t really want to be called by Comcast about my message. If I wanted any reply, I’d want it via email, since I’m sending you an email. If I wanted to talk to someone, I would have called. But instead, all I can do is give you my calling instructions. Since I don’t have a home phone, I’m sure you’ll call when I’m at work! (UPDATE! spotted no where near the giant heading “Tell us about you” is a pre-filled text field at the top of the faux email form is “From: Type Email Address” where I can enter my email address! Well, sure, I’ll fill it in, now that I now know it’s not part of the decoration wrapping the page.)

    Oh dear. Sometime, Comcast, you get so close to providing a satisfying experience, but then there are these cracks in the veneer that expose the fact that I’m still dealing with the cable company. Now that’s Comtastic.

    [PS-I’m not trying to be a jerk here, just I’m very frustrated. If you can’t tell I work in the field of user experience (I met one of your experience designers just a few weeks ago, even) and I go off when I get really frustrated. If I can’t figure out your site, how’s my Mom going to manage? Hopefully, buried in all of my venting, you can find something of value in this rant.]

    Really, it’s hard for me not to come across as a jerk, sometimes. Often, even. I get wound up, and then out it comes. And yes, I realize the initial glitch with my location info was just that, a bug.

    There’s some good work going on inside Comcast, so far as web design. There are also some really good techs that I’ve come across, too. Almost everyone I’ve talked to on the phone has been exceedingly friendly. Their executive relations team contacted me after my last blog rant, and they were effective too. Now they have some good press because of their push into the social media space for support, with Frank Eliason, famous for his work on Twitter.

    They’ve got the beginnings of some very good things. It makes it that more painful when they stumble.

    Posted in: Design · Web


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