Why does Comcast care about Twitter? (Video)

I was pleased to see Frank Eliason (he just launched his blog) from Comcast cares join us at Forrester ‘s Consumer Forum this week. In fact, I talked to many of the world’s largest brands about social media marketing during my 1 on 1 sessions with clients (almost 14 of them), it was really the common theme throughout many discussions.

If you don’t know the story of Comcast Cares, well they’ve a pretty disliked reputation for service and support (see sleeping technician), but are trying to turn a new leaf by responding and supporting customers using Comcast Cares on twitter. I had to use this a few months ago, as my bandwidth was extremely slow at home, and they responded within a few minutes.

Frank has become somewhat of a a celebrity, they are frequently mentioned in presentations (mine included) and while many companies are now supporting customers on Twitter, the reason why they get so much attention is because, just like Microsoft and Dell did, the tarnished brands get extra community kudos when they stick out and try to connect with customers.

I polled my twitter followers (twitter is my social computer) to pose some questions for Frank, and I found these ones to be interesting, tune in to find out his responses.

seacatz: @jowyang what’s the most surprising customer experience or story he’s encountered so far?

davefleet: @jowyang does he have the power within Comcast to actually get issues addressed? Is there substance to the engagement or just words?

williamu: @jowyang Ask him how SM doesn’t short circuit p2p/community groups that are Comcast focused. Is it competition or collaboration?

Tabz: @jowyang Whose idea was @comcastcares to begin with – was there resistance from the Powers that be? How did he overcome it?

Despite this outreach on twitter and other websites, what’s going to matter if Comcast actually makes changes to improve their products and service –not just be responsive to problems as they occur. I’ll be watching.

Action Items for your Brand:

  • Monitor your brand (or your clients) on Twitter using search tools
  • Secure your company names
  • Develop a roles, policy, procedure to respond
  • Before you respond, be prepared to make actionable changes, not just providing lip service
    • http://jonlitwack.com Jon Litwack

      This video is phenomenal! A perfect multimedia piece to add to my “why use SM for brand equity” preso! Good job!

    • http://www.scottwesterman.com Scott Westerman

      Frank is a first class guy who actually gets to live his passion for customer care. We’re richly blessed to have him in the Comcast family.

      Thanks for showcasing him!

    • http://twitter.com/michaeljbarber Michael Barber

      Hey Jeremiah,

      Here’s a decent, free tool that brands/companies can utilize to check (and then secure) their brand names on a variety of social networking sites.

      http://usernamecheck.com/

      A quick check of some major F500 companies illustrates many are not taking this space as seriously as they should. I feel another twitter exxonmobilcorp fiasco coming on.

      Thanks for the great posts. Keep up the awesome work.

    • Elizabeth Sipple

      Excellent video. How refreshing to see someone so very supported by senior management.

    • DevlinD

      Thanks so much for the video. It really drives home the point that online social efforts MUST have the buy in from senior executives so that the insight gained can actually be put to good use. If the customer doesn’t see anything coming out of their contribution to social initiatives they will also go where they feel their needs are being better served AND spread the word about the poor initiative.

    • http://silkcharm.blogspot.com/2008/09/online-community-is-customer-service.html Laurel Papworth

      Told y’all it was CUSTOMER SERVICE not marketing, not PR that handle online communities. :P
      online community is customer service
      Texaaaassss!

    • http://www.constructivegrumpiness.com Len Kendall

      Frank is a “BUT.” And to be clear, he acts as a tremendously valuable “BUT.”

      I’m sure there are thousands of search results around the notion that Comcast sucks. There are two sides of the discussion (not including Comcast), 1) you have thousands of small voices who are complaining and 2) you have a hundreds of big voices (popular bloggers, brand discussion websites, social media gurus, etc who know about @comcastcares on Twitter.

      So although all the negative posts may not stop any time soon until the Comcast infrastructure is improved, you have an army of well-spoken bloggers who are telling the public, “yes i hear comcast has its problems BUT…”

      Frank is a person that every company needs. He is the one (at minimum) redeemable quality that every company should have in its back pocket that they can tout as a legitimate entity that cares about individual customers.

    • http://www.sonnygill.com Sonny Gill

      I can definitely attest to Frank’s commitment to Twitter and caring for his customers. Being at the MarketingProfs conference the other week and getting to meet and hang out with him, you saw his dedication as he was constantly replying to customer tweets and emails. Definitely dedicated to what he does.

    • http://www.nickstamoulis.com Nick Stamoulis

      Yeah they have a steep hill to climb as far as customer service goes but Twitter is a good start. Maybe they can launch there own portal for complaints to get things done quicker. Twitter won’t help having three comcast techs over the span of a month trying to set up internet before they finally figure it out.

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    • http://tastynectar.com/blog Brett Tilford

      Awesome interview Jeremiah. Interesting to hear how the whole thing started, very organic and unmeditated.

    • http://www.webstrategyblog.com Karen OBrien

      Thanks for this piece Jeremiah – like yourself I do give kudos to companies like Comcast who are trying to do the right thing by reaching out to customers. I really enjoy seeing the “person behind the tweets” would love to see more of these.

    • http://tabithagracesmith.com/ Tabitha “Tabz” Smith

      Thanks for asking my questions Jeremiah! Frank is a fantastic example of how well Twitter and other SM tools can be used to help improve their brand.

      I have to admit, I was a HUGE hater of Comcast because of their customer service when I had them, but now Frank and Bill have revived my opinion.

    • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

      I’m glad folks like this video, thanks for the feedback here

    • http://len.devanna.com Len Devanna

      I came across Comcastcares only last night while watching the Tweets around the election. After digging in to see what it was all about and checking out some of the back / forth with customers, I’m impressed.

      Then, this morning, I come across this story. Nicely put together, Jeremiah – thanks for sharing this – and Frank for sharing your story.

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    • Andrea Gerstner

      Email to Frank Eliason regarding previous digital upgrade mishap.

      Thank you for restoring our service so quickly.

      While this overall experience has been disappointing I appreciate the personal attention you gave this matter. You responded to all of my emails quickly and worked with me for a resolution. While I have to honestly admit that my final acceptance of the promotional offer was based on personal reasons I do look forward to improved customer relations. While I feel that customer service is lacking at the base level I feel that you and your team are on the right track. You have a daunting task at hand. I give you a lot of credit for not only dealing with disgruntled customers on a regular basis but at attempting to resolve their issues at all hours. I can only assume that given the time that I received some of your emails that your job had to be taking you away from family time.

      I am interested to see what the next year brings with Comcast. Thank you again for your time and attention.

      Andrea Gerstner

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    • http://richardvanderhurst.info Richard Vanderhurst

      Customer Service is Online Community. Thanks for sharing this video. nice post!

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    • fettman24

      I do appreciate Comcast reaching out to customers, that is some good customer service. The provider I subscribe to and work for as well, DISH Network, has an online response team also. Being able to speak to somebody with Twitter is a lot easier then having to call in, even though I always get an agent quickly with DISH. Also this can combat the negative press Comcast has been getting about customer service complaints and so on. DISH Network beat all satellite and cable providers this last year in ACSI.

    • fettman24

      I do appreciate Comcast reaching out to customers, that is some good customer service. The provider I subscribe to and work for as well, DISH Network, has an online response team also. Being able to speak to somebody with Twitter is a lot easier then having to call in, even though I always get an agent quickly with DISH. Also this can combat the negative press Comcast has been getting about customer service complaints and so on. DISH Network beat all satellite and cable providers this last year in ACSI.