Top Cable Lobbyist Says Industry’s Customer Service Is ‘Completely Unacceptable’

In a perfect world, none of us would have to call customer service, but alas, the world is far from perfect. And so too is the customer service we're talking about. No one likes having to deal with the hassle of ringing up customer service for help or a request, but that dislike gets amplified when the company behind this customer service is a cable or Internet provider.

Unless you've somehow managed to avoid the Internet these past few years, you're probably well aware of the enormous number of horror stories that have stemmed from the customer service departments of companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

Just earlier this month, we learned that some exemplary Comcast employee decided to change one customer's name to "Asshole Brown", and not long after, another customer became a victim of derogatory naming as well. Those events just cap off a long line of customer service problems. And lest we not forget last summer, where former Engadget Editor-in-Chief Ryan Block made his customer service call public. A mere month after that, we learned of the experience of someone else who was charged outrageous fees for things he was outright told would be free. Oy.

Customer Service Rankings
Cable providers consistently rank at the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys

Suffice to say, Comcast has a horrible reputation, and while it's not the only company that's guilty of poor customer service, it's been doing an awesome job of hogging the limelight.

Well, fortunately for us, the president and chief executive of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association Michael Powell agrees that the customer service situation is brutal. He says, "Customer service right now is completely unacceptable.", and that "I think the industry needs to really — not double, triple — make a 10-year commitment to the recovery of that relationship."

Powell goes on to say that he doesn't think customer service reps are bad people; this is all just the consequence of the industry exploding as it has. In the 90s, cable's popularity substantially grew, and when home Internet became a reality, its adoption only added to the stress of these companies.

Comcast Remotes
Comcast's customer service isn't remotely impressive (Flickr: namestartswithj89)

I personally don't really buy that excuse; size shouldn't dictate whether customers are treated well. Companies like Comcast have become infamous for not only nickel and diming their customers, but also intimidating them should they want to cut down or remove their service.

Either way, it's nice to see that the top brass in the industry is displeased with the situation. All we can do is hope that it will result in actual change.

Tags:  cable, ISP