Saturday is bill paying day. One of those bills was Comcast. I'm signed up for automatic payments but I generally check to make sure everything is okay. I'm a bit paranoid that way and it usually only takes a few minutes with a cup of coffee steaming next to me to confirm that all is well.
Comcast was last on the list since I review my bills in reverse chronological order and the Comcast bill notification arrived in my inbox on Friday.
I clicked through on the bill and entered my user name.
I tried three times, paying special attention to ensure I didn't fat finger something. Each time, same thing.
So I contacted customer support using their Live Chat feature. I was quickly connected with Vanessa who after a brief back and forth provided this explanation.
Vanessa > I wish to inform you that we did an upgrade with our system and we merged the 2 accounts which is the comcast.net and .com
Vanessa > And due to this upgrade since you do not have internet service I am afraid that you need to register it again online, AJ.
That makes as much sense as a fish riding a bicycle! To Vanessa's credit she was apologetic (even though it wasn't her fault) and very helpful. Thank you Vanessa.
Comcast System Upgrade?
I'm not an engineer or a coder, but I know enough to know that a database merge can be done far more elegantly. Boiled down, isn't this a simple left outer join?
Even if there is more complexity (and there usually is) wouldn't it be wise to deal with those issues instead of inconveniencing your customers?
Comcast Error Messaging
Even if Comcast chose to go ahead as planned, they could have avoided in-bound customer service issues by applying proper error messaging.
A simple statement about a system upgrade requiring users to re-register would have made the situation clear. Inconvenient but at least Comcast would have provided an immediate answer to the problem they created.
But here's the rub. You need your account number to register!
That account number is not on the billing email and since I use paperless billing I have no material with my Comcast account number. No matter what, I'd still have to contact customer support to retrieve my account number.
Comcast Customer Service
Despite the buzz Comcast has generated around their use of Twitter they still don't seem to understand customer service.
If they did, they'd have created use cases from a customer perspective and realized that this upgrade would be detrimental for users and would cause added customer support costs.
AT&T U-verse is looking better all the time.