Stories of woe involving people’s interactions with customer service departments at cable companies are about as rare as snow in the Northeast right now. It seems as though we can’t even go one day without hearing a new tale of terror involving some poor, unsuspecting customer’s interactions with his or her cable TV and Internet service provider. Our favorite recent examples are when Comcast tried to keep money from a rent check that an elderly woman accidentally sent in, and when another woman had to complain to Comcast’s CEO’s mother in order to get results.
Now, things have taken an interesting new turn.
To oversimplify things a bit, cable lobbyists’ jobs are to believe cable companies can do no wrong, and to convince other people that the interests of their clients, regardless of how ridiculous they might be, are in consumers’ best interest as well.
It is particularly interesting, then, to learn that the cable industry’s top lobbyist has openly admitted that his clients’ customer service departments are subpar at best.
“Customer service right now is completely unacceptable,” said Michael Powell in an interview with The Washington Post. Powell used to be the head of the Federal Communications Commission and is currently the CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the industry’s top lobbyist group.
Powell continued, “I think the industry needs to really — not double, triple — make a 10-year commitment to the recovery of that relationship.”
The sad truth of the matter is that cable companies have had almost universally awful customer service for many, many years, and they constantly make claims about dedicating resources to improving subscriber relations. And yet industry leaders like Time Warner Cable and Comcast continue to be ranked at or near the bottom of every list in every study that concerns customer service.
In fact, Comcast’s customer care has gotten so bad that one of the media industry’s top analysts thinks it might even end up undoing the company’s proposed $45 billion merger with Time Warner Cable.