I hope you don’t mind the open, public nature of this letter. I tried to find a way to contact you directly, but your email address seems to be guarded with all of the security of Fort Knox. How do you get that arrangement? I ask, because I think it would make my life easier in corporate America if I, too, could shield myself from any concerns, wants, needs or questions that others might have. That might, in fact, make my workday a whole lot easier. So, if you have thoughts on how I might accomplish that, I’m looking to you for guidance.
Tom, I didn’t even know you existed until I began to explore Comcast’s website for ways that I might solve my ongoing Comcast issues. You see, I tried to call today to follow up on something your company committed to communicating with me about quickly. I was not successful by phone, so I turned my attention to your website. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that Comcast had a Senior Vice President of Customer Experience! Surely, I thought, “Comcast must have really had to hunt for the right person for this position what with the Marquis de Sade being dead and all for so long now.” What, exactly, were the qualifications needed for this position? I imagine the executive recruiters had a list that looked something like this:
Lack of customer focus required with a strong internal focus on Comcast
Complete lack of empathy
Ability to say one thing but mean another
Poor communication skills required. Strong avoidance to communication desired.
Tom, I noticed, once I discovered you existed, a statement next to your name and title that read:
“Hello I’m Tom Karinshak, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Comcast. The Best Customer Experience, that’s what we strive for every day. As a company, our job is to make sure every interaction you have with us is a special one. We know your time is important. We know you want answers to your questions quickly and you want issues resolved the first time. We heard you. We are listening. And it’s all about you.”
That is such an interesting paragraph, Tom, filled with statements that aren’t even close to being based in reality. Now, I work in marketing, so I understand the concept of claiming big, broad spaces in the marketplace for your own. But you really need to be ready, when someone says, “Oh? Prove it.” And so, that’s my challenge to you today: Prove it. Because so far, my experience has been so much the antithesis that it makes your statement not just seem like hyperbole, but, rather, the ravings of a lunatic.
“The Best Customer Experience” – Wow, that one is so important to you, you had to use capitalization as if implying it’s the title of your next book huh? But let me assure you, this experience has not been the best customer experience I’ve had….not even close. In fact, the surly toll-takers I’ve encountered in my lifetime have provided better customer experiences than you have. I once waited at the DMV in Las Vegas for over 6 hours to get a drivers license; and that was a better customer experience. I was also once stuck on the “It’s a Small World” ride at Disney for over 45 minutes, and despite the PTSD I suffer from that, that was a better customer experience. “The Best Customer Experience” – Prove it.
“As a company, our job is to make sure every interaction you have with us is a special one.” Oh, they’ve been special all right. One of my favorites recently involved a representative telling me, “I guess they are working on it.” Another one occurred this morning when I attempted to call only to find your line busy (this, of course, after going through the requisite 72 phone tree steps). Special interactions, indeed. Although I suspect that isn’t exactly what you had in mind when you said “special.” So, again, I say, “Prove it.”
“We know your time is important.” Now, THAT, is funny Tom. That you would have the temerity to make such a claim is worthy of a belly laugh in and of itself. We all know what you really mean is, “We know you think your time is important, but we really don’t care.” Seriously, the absurdity here is palpable. You get statements like, “Someone will call you within 48 hours,” and then the silence begins as if you are hoping I won’t notice that you never called back and that my issues have gone unresolved. If you really know that my time is important, prove it.
“We know you want answers to your questions quickly and you want issues resolved the first time.” Glad to hear you know that. I also take note of the fact that you offer no suggestion of activity or behavior on your part based on this apparently newfound knowledge. But perhaps you are still working those details out. So, prove it Tom. Knowing this means nothing if it’s not translated to action. Prove it.
“We heard you. We are listening. And it’s all about you.” Kind of hard to hear me, Tom, when I can’t even locate your e-mail address. Or do you mean it in that “omniscient” sort of way? Regardless, let’s stop pretending that “it’s all about me.” We both know it’s really all about how much of my money you can extract from me. But I will give you one last chance at all of this: Prove it.
Tom, your house is a mess. And in this situation, the guests aren’t on their way; they’ve already arrived. But instead of acknowledging the mess, you make these absurd claims as if the mess never even existed. People are tripping over the mess, and you are saying, “Isn’t it so nice to be in my home?” No, Tom, it is not. Clean up the mess and apologize for not having your house in order to begin with. Prove you mean what you say. If not, I’ll be leaving the party early. Very early. I hear DISH and DirecTV are throwing parties right now too. I might just have to see what those are all about.
PS – I’m serious about the tips on shielding my e-mail address. I think I could eliminate at least half of my work if my pesky customers wouldn’t bother me.