I’m sure the euphoria will wear off soon, but I had a very pleasant and rewarding conversation with a Comcast service rep this morning. Yes, Comcast. That Comcast. The company that seems to be universally despised by everyone in America. So much had I feared having to deal with them that today’s call had been postponed for literally years. I just didn’t feel like getting into a contentious conversation where the opposition holds all the cards and I get defensive and tongue-tied. Now, of course, I feel like ten kinds of idiot for not making the call sooner.
I had two reasons for calling them. The first was to ask about getting a new remote control since several buttons on the current one no longer work properly. Of course I encountered their automated answering system which eventually routed me to their automated answer. Yes, I could obtain a new remote by going to the nearest Comcast store at such-and-such an address. I had no desire to do that, since the last time I was down there some years ago it was “take a number and wait your turn” along with a roomful of other people. So I kept saying “service rep” and “operator” and such until the machine finally routed me to a live person.
Justin. A very pleasant, young-sounding man. Certainly, he said, they could ship me a new remote (just as they’d sent a new set-top box a few years ago) and I could return the old device in the same box. So simple. The man was putty in my hands. So I moved on to the serious stuff — the fact that in 11 years with Comcast, my bill for TV and internet has risen from $129 a month to $185 a month. And the only change in all that time has been a switch from a regular to a high def box.
Look, says I, I’m a little old lady on Social Security (yes, I played that card — shamelessly) and it hasn’t gone up nearly as much as your bill. I simply cannot go on with this. Something’s gotta give. Can I cut back on those hundreds of channels I never watch, in those old bundles that you haven’t offered for many years, and just get a basic package?
Well, says he, let me see what I can do.
And by the time we were through talking, he’d whacked $50 off my bill, set me up with a basic package that includes everything I watch and then some (100+ channels), and a faster download speed on my internet (which I hadn’t even mentioned).
By the time I hung up, I was sending mad hugs through the phone. Then I began kicking myself for not having made the call ages ago. That’s a savings of almost a new video game every month, or a new Xbox in 6 months, when a new one just happens to be coming out. Or any number of other things. I’d actually bookmarked several articles with step-by-step instructions on how to approach such a request, what you should say and not say, and that you should tell the service rep who answers first that you’d like to speak to a “retention specialist.” Talk about ready for war. But look what happened. I was nice, he was nice. I got a big cut in my bill and he kept a customer (I understand their customer base is eroding rapidly as millennials find alternatives to cable and “cut the cord”).
While I’m on the subject, I should mention several other pleasant transactions I’ve had with their customer service reps in recent years. On two different occasions, the dog settled into her spot on the couch and in doing so stepped on the remote, pressing lord-only-knows which of several dozen buttons and totally messing up the TV. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t start pressing buttons trying to get back to the original setting. Both times I was forced to call Comcast customer service and beg — sheepishly but desperately — for help. Both times I was quickly connected with very sympathetic women who walked me though what to do. One time it was as simple as pushing one button, one time. (Hey, don’t laugh. It could happen to you. Maybe. If you’re an old fart like me.)
Anyway, as I said at the top, I’m sure the euphoria will wear off soon. But I thought I should document one of the apparently very rare times when Comcast came out smelling like a rose. Take note. It will probably never happen again.