Hate Your ISP? See if They are On Twitter

David Armano of the excellent Logic+Emotion blog recently wrote about one of the most universally frustrating experiences:  dealing with an ISP when you have an outage.  My own ISP, Verizon (Fios) provides excellent service when it is running, but when it goes down, Verizon actually asks you to run a diagnostic tools THAT IS THEN SENT TO THEM OVER THE INTERNET.  That’s hard to do when your freaking connection is out.

I won’t even get into the fact that I once seached the Verizon site for 30 minutes looking for a tech support number and then finally Googled it and found it posted by some other equally frustrated person who posted the right number on his/blog.

But enough about me.  David has a good story to tell because when he returned home from vacation, the service from his ISP, Comcast, was out.   So after trying the traditional routes David discovered that Comcast has a Twitter account — and a real guy, Frank, behind it.

David wrote:

Within a few minutes on a Sunday evening, Frank responded to my complaint letting me know that it was most likely not an outage in my area, but a problem at my house. He also guided me through a process that would have fixed it (if I had a amplifier vs. a splitter), but it was still nice to get the education on the difference, not to mention the personal touch delivered through what is supposed to be an impersonal medium.”

Amen.  Does Comcast still get a bazillion complaints?  Probably.  But this again validates the fact that increasingly, and at a very low cost, companies can provide services to their customers in the manner in which the customers want to receive it. I, for one, would get on a plane to Bangalore before I have to call Verizon again.  Twitter can be a highly personal experience.

And David even did a screen capture of the conversation  Very cool:

Great post, David.




  1. I read David Armano’s piece, and agree he got great service. But…

    I recently wrote about the problems that companies like Comcast are going to start facing as Twitter moves beyond the early adopter phase. (Post is over on MB, “Social Media, meet Achilles”)

    *If* Twitter finds a way to monetize and can handle the additional users, can Comcast still keep up with the volume if even 10% of their phone-tree-languishing customers move to Twitter? I also respectfully disagree with the idea that this is a low-cost way to address customer problems–it might be now, but it won’t be later. I can’t remember where I saw it, but Comcast reportedly has 12 people handling Twitter complaints/customer service issues right now. My guess is that these are probably folks at a higher pay grade than their phone staff–they have to be, since there is no phone tree to sort the minor problems from the really big technical ones; the technical problems from the billing issues, etc. These folks have to be generalists who know a lot about multiple business lines w/in Comcast.

    As more users move to Twitter to air their customer service issues, companies like Comcast will have to a) add more high level staffers to field the complaints, and b) they will likely begin to triage the complaints (if they aren’t doing this already). David, with 3K+ followers (easily discovered when looking at his profile) will get zippy service. I’d fall way further down the food chain, I’m guessing.

    I’m having a lot of trouble visualizing the scalability of this high-level of customer care on Twitter, and so far I have not received a thoughtful, reasonable explanation on how this is going to work when the number of complaints increases exponentially. I’m open-minded and willing to listen to any reasonable explanation as to how this can increase with *no* loss on the quality of the service.

    I’m really not as grumpy as this comment sounds! 🙂

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