Comcast tries to improve service times

Cable companies hope better service keeps customers from ditching cable for Internet video.

By Kim Peterson Jun 21, 2011 2:49PM
Image: Watching television (© Digital Vision Ltd./SuperStock)The cable repair guy said he'd show up between noon and 4 p.m. So you took the afternoon off from work, only to watch the hours tick by. Now it's 3:58 p.m. Where in the world is he?

Situations like these hurt Comcast (CMCSA). The cable company won the "worst company in America" crown from the Consumerist website last year, and slow customer service was likely a big factor there.

So Comcast is trying to clean itself up, starting with that nasty four-hour cable guy window. By next year, the cable giant wants to shorten its repair window to two hours or less, Bloomberg reports.

This isn't as easy as it sounds. The company is adding new dispatch technology and giving all of its technicians laptops and handheld devices, Bloomberg reports. It's part of the broader overhaul of the cable system, which Comcast is renaming "Xfinity."

Something with the sleek new name "Xfinity" shouldn't have a four-hour wait time.

"Xfinity service should mean something different than it did in the past," Comcast's chief executive, Brian Roberts, told Bloomberg. "It should stand for better technology and better customer service."

You can hear more from Roberts about Xfinity in the following video interview.

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Charter Communications
(CHTR) and other cable companies are also scrambling to improve service. Time Warner Cable (TWC) lets premium customers make repair reservations for specific times. That's becoming more important than ever as customers find it increasingly easy to cut the cable cord and get programs from Netflix (NFLX), Hulu and other online sites.

The cable companies say they aren't seeing a huge exodus of customers cutting the cord. But they're clearly doing what they can to hold on to customers. Just call your cable company and threaten to cancel. You might be surprised at what they offer to keep you.

"People get really mad when they take time off work and a cable guy is really late or doesn't show up," the managing editor of Consumerist.com told Bloomberg. "Comcast is the biggest cable provider, and the bigger you are, the more complaints you're going to get."

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

1Comment
Nov 8, 2011 10:10AM
avatar
It is a good thing Comcast is trying to improve.  It sounds incredible but a few years ago when I called for a service appointment, I was given a 12 hour window.  8 to 8.  I asked the Comcast person if she was kidding and she said she was not and that was the best she could offer me!
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