Author’s Note: Although this article is now several years old, many people still experience similar issues. In 2015, I moved from Indianapolis into Time Warner Cable (now Spectrum) territory. Compared to TWC/Spectrum’s offerings in 2017, I truly miss the user interface and Internet speeds that the X1 offered in 2013.
Two weeks ago, I was drafting a rant about my new xfinity X1 service. I held off on publishing for once I got a resolution. This story has a happy ending and a great social media/reputation management twist as well.
After 2½ weeks of headache and service visits I can now report that Comcast listened and took the steps necessary to listen to my issues.
So let me start at the beginning…four years ago, I was very excited to move into our new house because I could get AT&T UVerse. We hadn’t even moved in yet, but we had at least a TV in the house so they could install the service. For those four years, I was a big fan on UVerse, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of saving $60/mo. for the next year, by switching to Comcast.
Ordering service on the website was very easy and it only took three days to install the service. I placed the order on Saturday and the installer came on Tuesday.
A Comcast contractor was the person who did the installation for my service. Initially, I though he did his due diligence by checking out the TV connections — even going into the attic to check the wiring. He had some concerns about signal levels, but stated they were acceptable. For some reason he was hung up on my self-purchased modem not working with the new xfinity X1 cable boxes.
The Internet service worked great. I went was about 12 Mbps to almost 30 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps to 5 Mbps up. I can’t be more ecstatic about that. Unfortunately, getting the TV service was a big challenge.
The first night our box locked up watching a VOD program. We did the box reboot and everything worked okay again. Well until Wednesday night … and Thursday night … and then again on Friday night. We couldn’t go more than 2 hours without having the TV service crash.
Tweeting my frustrations
After waiting on the phone 45-50 minutes to get a service tech, I took to Twitter to vent my frustration. I was well aware that Comcast has a social media response team.
— Jason Crundwell (@IndyWebDaddy) September 7, 2013
// The first tech, came the following Tuesday, (one week after install) and determined there must be an issue with the signal from the street to the house. So he replaced that line.
Everything worked fine for a couple of hours, but TV froze up again. Which of course required a reboot. This went on for another couple of days. I’m tried to be patient and level headed, but still used Twitter to vent my frustrations. Below is one several tweets I sent, tagging the @ComcastCares account in the process. As you will see, my Tweets were getting noticed.
Again, a Comcast tech was dispatched to the house — this time to swap the box. He came again on a Tuesday (two weeks after install) A new box installed, this has to clear up the issue. In reality, it felt like a scene from Groundhog Day. Just after 6:30 p.m. the xfinity X1 box became unresponsive again. That meant more Tweets…
— Jason Crundwell (@IndyWebDaddy) September 17, 2013
This doesn’t include the entire exchange, but the Comcast social media team took action and I received several calls from the Comcast Corporate Escalation Team.
The corporate team put me in direct contact with a technical supervisor here in Indy. After our conversations with the supervisor, he scheduled an appointment to send his best tech and xfinity X1 specialist to the house to figure out what was going on.
Fast forward to Friday, and sure enough, I have two Comcast trucks parked outside the house. The two techs, Doug McB. and Steve L. really knew their stuff and tested the signal at the entry to the house and the TV outlet. The signal was strong on the outside of the house, but lost half it’s strength by the time it got to the TV.
— Jason Crundwell (@IndyWebDaddy) September 20, 2013
Doug traversed back into my attic, which only has a small opening through the garage storage attic and did some deeper investigation. At some point, before I purchased the house, a new cable was dropped into the kitchen. The person who installed that line used a Radio Shack splitter and the “gold plated” connections to hook up the new line and the old one. Well, the lines were wired wrong.
To add insult to injury, the line in the attic was RG-59, which doesn’t have enough bandwidth to carry a broadband signal. Those two items were the critical pinch point that was causing the issues with my TV. Doug said my main TV box should have never even worked in the first place. This should have been corrected or at least addressed with me during the install by the Comcast contractor.
Actually, the contractor did a really crappy job overall. First, he told me he put an amplifier on the service. Well, he put a plug in but never installed the amplifier in the service box. He also left of a mess of screws and cable bits underneath the work area. I don’t know how much they save by using contractors, but in this case, I don’t think it was worth it.
The good news was I already had some wires running though the sun room to the TV, so they just replaced the lines from my old satellite dish to the TV.
There’s are a few lessons to be learned from this experience.
- Every business person needs to read my last post about doing things half-assed. It’s always better to do it right the first time and avoid those additional service calls.
- Business should always be listening to what is being said about your brand on social media. I’m very impressed that the Comcast Corporate team really took ownership of the issue and worked to get it fixed.
- If you’re a consumer, be persistent. If you vent via social media and don’t get a response, go old school and pick up the phone. Work your way up the ladder until you can talk to someone who can make things happen.
I would hope Comcast can find a way to improve their phone response time and improve their overall consumer experience. (I’ve heard horror stories from people who had to wait in line at their office.) Then again, these same executives are trying their hardest to make NBC not suck from 8-11 p.m.
I believe they also need to make it clear that the xfinity X1 service requires the home’s cable plant to be up-to-date. There are a lot of homes with older wiring and lots of do-it-yourself additions from the analog cable days. It’s probably in the disclaimers, but should be more front and center.
I’m still curious if there’s going to be some additional charges coming my way for the additional writing and their work, but we will see.