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Shane 0, Comcast 0. No one wins when you offer loser customer service

Creative Commons License photo credit: Amir K.

Shane over at mentioned to me a while back about an interaction he had with Comcast.

Yes, I’ve seen the litany of “Comcast sucks” threads, and I’m aware that they have a support team on Twitter.

First, mosey over to AskShane and read about his experience with Comcast. Then come back so we can discuss how this applies to your business.

Mark hums the Jeopardy theme song as you read Shane’s story

Ok, welcome back.

Think about the obvious stuff your website should be telling people.

Think about the message it sends about your company when everyday information that your customers and prospects need is hidden from them.

Worse case, does the site lose them by assuming what they know?

Yeah, it’s worse when they can’t get it by website or phone (as in Shane’s case), but more and more folks depend on the net to start the relationship.

In more and more cases, it’s the bellwether that signals whether they will do business with you at all.

Maybe you don’t do business via your site, but if your site doesn’t introduce you, your company and what you do properly, many will leave right then and there and choose someone whose site does get the message across.

Fairness is irrelevant

Is that fair? Doesn’t matter.

If a prospect uses that as their “sorting hat” to decide whether your company has its game on, you made the decision for them.

Can we depend on your site to start the relationship properly?

To get the right message – and the right info – across to someone new to you?

Paper is so 1900’s…or is it?

This isn’t just about your website. What about your other “new prospect-facing materials”?

Yeah, those business cards, paper brochures and so on.

Are they doing the job of introducing your business to others? Or are they just something with your phone #, website and email address on them?

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Comcast: Choosing the wrong way

Comcast appears to feel that it’s a problem that their customers actually use their service. OK, that’s a little vague.

More accurately, they have a problem with that small percentage who use their service *a lot* despite doing so within their (current) terms.

Their new solution to this “problem” is to cut off that customer and probably motivate them to avoid being a Comcast customer forever. I don’t imagine that this sort of action will contribute to good word of mouth marketing by former Comcast customers.

While their bandwidth limits seem rational, history has proven that customer needs will expand beyond that – and quite often more quickly than Comcast would respond with policy changes or additional billing options.

In contrast, Time-Warner is testing tiered pricing. The more you use, the more you pay. That makes sense, particularly beyond a certain level.

In every group of customers, there’s a percentage of high-use customers.

You have two choices

  • Cut them off. Tick them off. Run them (and probably their friends) off.
  • Find a way to bill them that reflects their use and the value you’re delivering.

Think about that for your business. There’s probably a small percentage of high profit customers (or potential high profit customers) who might benefit from an additional level of service.

Running off the customers who need your products and services the most seems a little crazy, doesn’t it?