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Cable Technology Feature Article

June 21, 2011

Comcast To Test Cutting Service and Installation Windows in Half

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor

While Comcast (News - Alert), the nation's largest cable company, was rebranding its services into Xfinity – a network of products that include high speed Internet, high definition cable, XfinityTV.com and mobile applications – consumers were rebranding Comcast more along the lines of “Infinity”: as in, the amount of time one would need to wait for a Comcast service and installation guy to show up.

Last year, readers of the Web site Consumerist.com, a consumer affairs blog maintained by the Consumers Union, ranked Comcast dead last behind all the U.S.'s cable providers in terms of customer service.

Not exactly something to be proud of.

Philadelphia-based Comcast is now making a new customer service pledge, similar to those made by other (and higher ranked) cable companies. Comcast is carrying out pilot programs in Lancaster, Philadelphia and Salt Lake City, Utah using newer dispatch management solutions to help cut its repair and installation service windows (as in, “A service representative will be there between 10:00 and 2:00”) to two hours from its previous four.

In addition to using the specialized software solutions provided by Englewood, Colorado- based CSG Systems (News - Alert) International Inc. and Ventyx, a division of Zurich-based ABB Ltd., technicians will start carrying mobile, handheld devices to relay their whereabouts and allow regional coordinators to use the scheduling and dispatch software to tighten schedule and make quick adjustments, said Comcast said. All this will be accomplished without the need to hire new employees, reports today.

The information was relayed by Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, who recently said that better service is one of Comcast’s main goals as it rebrands its cable service into “Xfinity.”

“Xfinity service should mean something different than it did in the past,” said Roberts. “It should stand for better technology and better customer service,” he said last week in an interview during the National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s Cable Show in Chicago.

The company's pledge will put it more in line with other cable providers, such as St. Louis-based Charter Communications and the nation's second-largest cable provider, Time Warner (News - Alert), said Bloomberg.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell