Portland, Oregon
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Yes, it should be easy to do business with Comcast or any other company but like everything else out there if you don’t know the rules of the game it can be frustrating and time-consuming. Hopefully this article will shine a light on how to get the best offer with Comcast, how they view customer service and treat their employees, dealing with stores, starting or cancelling and more. Be sure to share this with your friends… they’ll likely be very grateful you did.

*** PRICE QUOTES / NEW SERVICE ***

If you call in to Comcast to get a service quote, the offer you are given is only valid on the call with the agent giving you the quote at that time. If you want that offer you should have the agent put the order into the system to hold it. It’s likely you could get a different package or even higher rate if you elect to call back in as offers change regularly, agents have access to different offers, interpret equipment you need differently, etc. You are not financially obligated until 30 days after the installation since Comcast offers a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee.

Comcast requires any past due balances and deposits ($100-$200, refundable after 12 months) be paid prior to starting new service.

Comcast is the fastest high speed internet service provider in the United States offering downloads up to 2 GBps according to Ookla Speedtest.net

CenturyLink and many other service providers are DSL and may require a phone line to get internet service OR require the phone line to get the $19.99 advertised Internet rate. CenturyLink DSL is slow- with many customers reporting speeds up to 1.5mbps (not 20mbps advertised) and CenturyLink knows it so they offer a $20 monthly price with a 5 year contract to entice customers more focused on price which sounds enticing but once you realize how slow their internet is, it’s too late to switch and you’re stuck in their contract. Not everyone gets slow speeds with CenturyLink but eventually you may cap out at their offered speeds and will need to switch to another provider. It is easy for the average home user to need speeds faster than CenturyLink can offer.

Don’t call in to only order only Internet service. You are wasting your time. The agent you speak with on the phone doesn’t get paid commission for signing you up for Internet-only service and will generally charge you more for monthly service and installation. Sign up for Internet-only service online. Only call in to sign up if you have your own modem, know your home is Comcast-ready and you want to self-activate and are ready to start using the internet service on the same call.

*** CUSTOMER SERVICE ***

If you place an order and are given a Confirmation Number instead of an Account Number your order was taken by a third-party vendor and not a real Comcast employee. It takes 24-48 hours for these orders to get entered into Comcast’s system and installation dates/times provided with these orders are not guaranteed. If you call in to modify an order before the 48 hour time-frame it’s highly likely your order will not be in the system.

Comcast hires third-party vendors for everything. They take overflow calls, they install (contractors), they’re outside Walmart and Best Buy, they manage Comcast’s sales web site, they manage a large part of the Company’s IVR (phone system when you call in). For security reasons, vendors do not have access to all of the tools and information that In-house Comcast employees have.

Agents selling Comcast service outside of Walmart and Best Buy are NOT actual Comcast employees – they are third-party vendors. You can call in and get routed to a vendor and not know it. Orders placed through Comcast.com are all handled through a third-party vendor.

Comcast doesn’t have an actual “Customer Service” department. They expect all departments to provide “customer service.” Comcast has residential Sales, Billing and Technical Support departments. If you call in for a Tech ETA, to report a down line, check the status of construction, etc. you are most likely being transferred to the sales department. Sales can see very little activity in other departments and communicates with other departments via ticket system. The Comcast agent and the customer both have no direct phone number for calling the other departments.

Demanding to speak with a supervisor will most likely not yield the result you are looking for. For example, when you call in you most likely end up with the Sales Department which has little control over scheduling (they can only see future appointments). Asking to speak with a supervisor is a waste of time because supervisors cannot see anything different than the agent you are speaking with and supervisors can also only submit a ticket. They have access to the same scheduling system and can only input a ticket to dispatch.

The agents that route tickets to dispatch, construction and other departments regularly close tickets without any actual resolution thereby causing a bad customer experience and generating another unnecessary call back into Comcast for the customer. The internal ticket system has strict limitations and requirements as to what qualifies for a ticket so agents submit tickets as best they can to take care of customers but the reason for the ticket might not “quality” per the ticket system so the ticket gets closed. For example, if a ticket is submitted for what would make sense as a technician “go-back” requiring a tech to go back to your home (system requires this must be same day as appointment only) but the agent *routing* the ticket thinks it should have been submitted as a different ticket- rather than taking care of the customer and getting the request to the right department or just handling the request they simply close the ticket. If you haven’t received a call-back from Comcast within 4 hours of having the ticket entered then you should call back in to make sure the ticket wasn’t closed.

Comcast agents cannot see your technicians ETA on the day of installation. They can only see the 2 hour appointment arrival window, which you can check online or through the Xfinity My Account app. Only customers can get their technicians ETA through the Xfinity My Account app which can be pre-activated and used prior to installation. Comcast provides customers with a 2 hour arrival window when you place your initial order and you are expected to have someone over the age of 18 at home during this timeframe. You can reschedule online without having to call in to reschedule.

Comcast does not generally offer same day or next day appointments for professional installation. Call with the expectation that it might be a week before your service is installed. Plan ahead when you want a technician to come to your home- technician availability is usually about a week out. Self-Installation may be an option if your address qualifies and you are capable of doing so.

Understand if a Comcast agent is telling you a technician is required then it is probably required. Agents (Sales, installers, etc.) get paid for installing orders so it’s to the agent’s financial advantage to get your service installed as quickly as possible – they would rather set you up with a self-install if it is an option so your order closes quickly rather than waiting for an installer to do the work. An in-house Comcast agent is not going to recommend a technician installation if you can do it your self quicker.

*** EMPLOYEES ***

Comcast pays their in-house sales agents minimum wage and commission. The commission is calculated two ways and Comcast changes the rates and what/how they pay their employees every 3 months so it’s very unpredictable for the agent you speak with to actually know what their pay will be month to month. Comcast pays a small commission based on product sold (TV, Phone, Home Security – they do not pay their employees for setting up your Internet-only account) and they add this product commission to close rate commission. They take the number of calls the agent takes and divide it by the number of sales the agent makes that month and based on the percentage the agent earns the rest of their commission. They add the close rate commission plus the product commission and that is the agent’s commission for the month, plus their minimum wage. Bottom line is, every call you make into the Sales Department that isn’t adding money to your account directly penalizes that agent’s paycheck.

In October 2015 Comcast’s West Division revised their employee commission plan and cut their sales agents pay by 30-40% depending on the agents close rate and product sales. Some agents are seeing a pay cut of $20,000 or more. This caused a mass-exodus of employees that quit in response.

The Government requires Comcast to answered within a set amount of time or get fined so the company deliberately dumps non-sales calls into the Sales Department which effectively penalizes the paycheck of the agent you are talking to (a win-win for Comcast) and requires you be transferred to the correct department.

Comcast assigns “skills” to their agents as a way of routing calls. Their Sales Dept does this so Online Sales, Upgrade Sales and New Sales get routed to the correct department. When Upgrades or “Change of Service” calls overflow the system Comcast routes these calls to the Sales Department. If the agent isn’t adding money (service) to your account it penalizes the agent’s paycheck. Comcast doesn’t care because the call was answered so they weren’t fined by the government and it lowers the agents close rate so they don’t have to pay the agent very much in commission.

In-house Agents are required to ask you about all services offered by Comcast Xfinity. In fact, Comcast pays a third party company to listen to 5-6 random calls from each in-house agent monthly and the calls are graded. The agent’s shift rankings, pay increases, promotions, etc. are based on these grades. Unfortunately, most of the customer service complaints actually come from Comcast’s third party vendors but the company takes it out on their in-house employees. The Comcast Agent’s hands are largely tied regarding what they can and cannot help you with.

Sales Agents cannot remove things from your account. There is a separate department for adding service to an account (Sales) and a separate department for taking them off (Loyalty). You cannot call in and instantly get routed to Loyalty- someone has to transfer you to their department.

*** OFFERS / PROMOTIONS ***

You typically get a better price on a package and installation if you have more than one service.

The promotions offered by Comcast Xfinity are hard-coded into the computer system. When you call in offers are pre-loaded on the agents screen based on your service address since mailers with different offers vary by address. Agents have very little room to negotiate on rates since they are all hard coded and offer little to no room for flexibility.

Your package price will be different from the advertised offer you may have received which is advertising the starting price. The average household price for TV and Internet is $100. For example, an offer for $79.99 for TV and Internet is actually $99 when you add on $10 HD on 1 TV and $10 Wi-Fi Modem Rental. Also keep in mind that $79.99 rate is for one year with a 2 year contract and increases $20 the second year.

The $79.99 offer being mailed to customers with a gift card up to $250 requires a qualifying HD Triple Play package (including TV, internet and home phone or security) and the packages that qualify for the gift card offers start at $139.99 a month without equipment.

The promotional rate you see advertised online or in your mailbox is the starting rate for service without any equipment or any extras. Comcast isn’t the only provider that advertises this way - all providers including satellite price their Hopper and Genie services this way. If you don’t believe me, read the fine print on their mailers or web site. One way to lower your bill is by purchasing a new cable modem.

Comcast has their price structure down to a science. Their 105mbps Internet Only offer with no promotion including the modem rental is $99 a month. Their 220 channel package with a SD Cable Box and Wi-Fi Modem rental is $99 a month with contract. Their 140 channel package with SD Cable Box, 75mbps Internet, Wi-Fi Modem Rental and Unlimited Home Phone service is also $99 a month.

Comcast Xfinity offers free installation with triple play (TV, Phone or Security, Internet) or quad play (TV, Phone, Internet, Security) packages where the base price for triple play is $139.99 before equipment and quad play is $169.99 before equipment. Very select areas in Colorado and Kansas City offer free installation on TV/Internet packages with a contract. Everyone else is subject to installation which varies between $49 and $149 in most cases. Internet-only installation is $89. In many cases a Self-Install Kit is available if the home has had service recently.

Don’t call in to only order Internet service unless you have your modem, know your home is Comcast-ready and you want to self-activate. It’s faster and probably cheaper to order internet-only service online. Ordering Internet with other services like TV is more complicated to do online and it’s probably easier to order bundled services over the phone.

Contract offers are $10 less per month than non-contract offers. This means $39.99 x 12 for 25 mbps Internet-only is $49.99 x 12 without a contract. Don’t forget to add an extra $10 per month if you are leasing a Wi-Fi modem.

Comcast has the lowest early termination fees in their industry ranging from $110-$230 depending on your package and are pro-rated based on when you are cancelling. DirecTV has ETF’s up to $400 or more and will put you into a new contract if you add/upgrade equipment whereas Comcast does not.

Existing customers who are moving and call 1-800-Comcast to transfer their service to their new address qualify for a new promotion. You don’t have to cancel your existing service and then set up new service to get a new offer… just transfer your service to your new address- even if you aren’t moving in to the address immediately you can have billing stopped at the old address and started at the new address on separate days. Cancelling and then starting entirely new service just makes things more confusing for you and Comcast. (For example, your Comcast login’s for your account and apps don’t move from one address to another unless transferred properly as part of the move process.)

Door to Door Comcast Agents have the best offers; they have better offers than Comcast’s web site, their stores and better offers than over the phone sales. If a Comcast agent comes to your door don’t send them away as you likely won’t get a better deal- and you have to sign up with that door to door agent. If you have to “think about it” that same offer is not guaranteed at a later time with a different agent.

The entire month of September and Black Friday are when Comcast usually has their best promotional offers.

*** LOCAL STORES / SERVICE CENTERS ***

You cannot call your local Comcast Xfinity store. They accept walk-in appointments on a first come, first serve basis only.

You can pick up equipment at any store. You do not need to call in to tell us which store you are going to. They all have access to your account.

Do not call Comcast to ask if you can return or swap equipment at the local store. You only need to call if you want Comcast to mail you equipment. You can also order additional TV boxes online. Otherwise, just go to the local store to swap or return equipment. There is no need to call in first – you are only wasting your time by doing so.

Comcast Xfinity has a partnership with The UPS Store for customers that want to return equipment. Instead of waiting in line at a Comcast store customers can take their equipment and account number to a UPS Store, hand it to the UPS Store clerk and have the equipment scanned off their account. The UPS Store clerk will even provide you with a receipt showing the equipment was returned.

If your service was disconnected for non-payment and you plan on paying and restoring service DO NOT RETURN YOUR EQUIPMENT!! Even if you are called about returning the equipment, advise the caller you are going to keep it and restore service. Once your past due balance and refundable security deposit is collected Comcast can restore service remotely without needing to send someone back out to your home.

Keep in mind there is a mandatory deposit required to restore service within 30 days of a disconnect. If you wait longer than 30 days to restore or start new service a credit check will be done to determine if a deposit is necessary. You can skip the credit check by paying the mandatory $100 deposit. Deposits are refundable after 12 months good payment history or in the event you cancel before 12 months the deposit is credited back to your account at the time of disconnect.

*** MISCELLANEOUS ***

If you want to keep the same Comcast.net email address (which is deleted within 90 days of cancelling) simply buy a movie to own “forever” On-Demand. The movie will be tied to your Comcast log-in and will not be deleted. If you ever come back to Comcast you would still be able to utilize the same email address.

Customers with a triple play (TV, Phone, Internet) will almost always get routed to an in-house agent in the United States. Customers with one or two services have a much higher chance of being routed to an agent in the Philippines.

In 2012 Comcast changed their company structure from having one building that handles everything for your city/state (sales, billing, repair, installation, etc.) to creating centralized “Centers of Excellence” (COE) that specialize in specific tasks. For example all in-house sales calls for the West Division (13 states on West Coast including Texas, Missouri and Minnesota) are routed to Oregon or Washington or to an offshore vendor. This made it easier for the company to make sure all agents were on the same page based on their task. The company has Billing, Loyalty and Repair COE’s throughout the country.

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