For the last few days I have not been blogging because I was moving houses. This experience allowed me to see in depth the customer service of several companies including Comcast.
Comcast has a national advertising campaign running on prime television programs touting its customer service. They should cancel the ad program and instead invest in new software to run their business and improve their customer service. Six times I called Comcast to get a data modem working--six times I had to give them the modem ID number. This basic information is not part of the customer record and is not noted by customer service staff in their call logs. Turned out my data modem is no longer supported by Comcast. Even though I rent the modem from Comcast, they did not tell me about not supporting the modem when I requested to move the address of the service. So until the modem was changed there was no way I was getting Internet from Comcast. Only one out of six reps noted this issue. At two points in this odyssey I was referred to Signature Support, Comcast's high level paid support. Only once was I told that there was a charge for this service and they did not note the modem issue. Takeaway: Comcast needs to update their customer service/account software to track information related to data services. Comcast has been providing Internet connectivity in my part of Florida for about five years but appears to lack the basic software to service customers.
I also heard a story on NPR (can't find the link) about the problems with the Department of Defense (DOD) payroll system that pays our military personnel. Appears that the system requires double entry of data for, for example, a change in assignment. One paper form is required to transfer the soldier to Afghanistan and then the form is entered in the payroll system, which leads to multiple errors and many soldiers incorrectly paid. In a real travesty, if the DOD overpays the soldier they garnish wages and use collection agencies for their own mistakes. Takeaway: Why does the DOD not have a modern payroll/employee information system. Every commanding officer is taught to take care of their people.
The problems of Comcast and DOD and many other companies all relate to antiquated software systems and infrastructure that have not been updated despite the growth and changes in operations. Such fundamental failures should be the responsibility of the organization's CEO. I believe it is a CEO responsibility because of the changing nature of customer relationships, which I explained in this post "The Evolution of Understanding the Customer. Customers have multiple ways to interact with a company now because of social media. Therefore, customer expectations are higher whether it be a virtual or telephone interaction. Software needs to be re-done to enhance the customer experience or else customers are going to go elsewhere.