So I got a new TV. An HD TV. Flat panel, sleek, nice. Even bought an HD cable to make it work. Figured we already had HD downstairs, so it would be a matter of putting the HD cable into the cable box and it'd be a "go." Except that my cable box was old enough that it didn't HAVE an HD input. #Fail. So I unhooked the old box and headed to my cable company (My company is Comcast, by the way) for an exchange.
I know, I know. Your cable company. The company you love to hate. They charge for everything, it takes forever to get service, and service calls occur under 80-hour windows, where you're trapped in your house, desperate for the cable guy to come, afraid to even go to the bathroom lest they appear while you're unavailable. Have heard it all. Have experienced a lot of it. "We're experiencing high call volume right now. You will be a decade older when we finally answer and you won't remember what you needed anymore." This time, I was informed that the amount that I was paying for HD wasn't for the service, but for each TV's HD service. $15 per. Nonetheless, I sucked it up and took the box.
The box I liked. Compact and sleek, I saw it as living nicely under my TV, taking up very little room. So we set it up, and we called to activate it. They did so over the phone, and we waited for it to take effect.
And today, 24-hours later, I realized that something was just "not right." I didn't have all the channels, and I kept getting a "you must activate this box" message. So I called. And got the "longer than normal" wait-time message. Gotta admit, I wasn't feeling all that "Comcastic."
Enter social media. I had had an experience a year or so ago when my internet went out and I couldn't get through to tech support. I Tweeted something like, "Comcastic my fanny!" on Twitter, and lo and behold, @comcastcares (Frank Elias) sent me a message asking me what was up and how could he help? I thought, "Ok, no harm no foul," and direct-messaged my phone number. From text messaging on my cell and Twitter, Frank fixed my internet issue. No phone call, no waiting, and actually, very little hassle.
So this time, while I simultaneously was on hold waiting for phone support, I also fired up my computer and tweeted, "Looking for @comcastcares or one of Frank's compatriots. Need a reset (or something) on the new HD box. kthx."
A minute or so later (still on hold on the phone), @comcastBonnie asked me what was up (Frank has expanded his network, clearly). And again, within 10 minutes, I'd direct-messaged Bonnie my phone number and she activated the box, eliminated the message, and then told me I'd have a buttload more channels now. Before I ever got through on the phone.
And this is why, even though my cable company frustrates me sometimes, I absolutely love them, too. Because people like Frank and Bonnie have decided to make it better. By using social media. By having conversations with their customers, rather than just talking at them. If anyone at corporate Comcast reads this, I hope they call their Twitter crew right away and ask them what else they can do to improve the company. Because these people get it.
Twitter useless? Hardly. And this is an example even a luddite could appreciate.