In response to my recent letter to Comcast, I received a call from a friendly woman named Nancy in Comcast’s New England executive customer care office. The call went pretty much how I expected. She had read my letter and understood what I was upset about, but she let me vent at her about the whole thing anyway. She said she would pass on my concerns to the people in management who are responsible for determining pricing, fees, etc. She then offered, as a token of appreciation for the fact that I had been a Comcast customer for a long time, to give me their faster Internet service for six months at the the same price as their slower service. I politely declined her offer.
The conversation was entirely civil, which didn’t surprise me at all. Most of the Comcast customer service representatives (the ones in America, at least) I’ve dealt with have been both civil and knowledgeable. Generally speaking, the Comcast employees that you and I deal with on a daily basis are not the problem. The problem is the people higher up who have constructed a predatory, customer-unfriendly business model.
Last week when I was considering switching to Comcast, I called their sales department to ask some questions, although I wasn’t quite ready to switch yet. A couple of days later, I received a very friendly voice-mail message from a sales representative at RCN named Lloyd. He said it was his job to follow up on a “certain number” of sales inquiries from potential customers and wanted to speak to me to make sure that all of my questions had been answered and to see if there were any additional available offers or incentives that I hadn’t been told about.
I called Lloyd back on Thursday. I am now a happy (so far!) RCN customer, and I a few minutes ago I canceled my Comcast service (again, the woman with whom I spoke was friendly and helpful, and she even wished me good luck with RCN at the end of the call and didn’t sound snarky about it).
Let me tell you all the reasons why I’m happy with RCN right now:
- Both Lloyd and the other sales representative to whom I spoke last week were helpful and friendly.
- When my promotional rate expires in a year, RCN will let me sign up for whatever promotional rate is in effect at that time. Comcast doesn’t offer promotional rates to current or past (within the last two years, I believe) customers. Lloyd said to me, “A current customer who pays his bills on time is much more valuable to us than a new customer.”
- RCN still charges only $3 per month for modem rental, not the $5 per month that Comcast recently started charging. Furthermore, when you sign up for RCN service, they tell you that you have the option of providing your own modem; Comcast never mentions it.
- RCN’s rates are significantly cheaper than Comcast’s.
- Lloyd discounted the already promotionally discounted rate for their 10Mbps Internet service by an additional $5 per month for six months.
- RCN doesn’t charge for installation as long as you aren’t a deadbeat on utility bills (they do a soft pull of your credit report to check).
- If you aren’t happy with your new RCN service, you can cancel within 30 days and owe nothing.
- After the first 30 days, the early termination fee if you cancel before the end of your contract is graduated — $75 through month 6, $50 through month 9 and $25 through month 12. This makes it clear that the fee is to truly to recoup their costs, not just an opportunity to screw over departing customers on their way out the door.
- I called Lloyd on Thursday. The technicians were at my house to install my service the next day.
- The technicians called to let me know they were running late, but they still arrived within the promised time window.
- The technicians were friendly and efficient. They replaced, without prompting, a cable splitter inside the house which they said wasn’t good enough.
- RCN has apparently stopped using overly aggressive door-to-door salesmen. The reason why we originally chose Comcast over RCN was because of the army of RCN salesmen who kept trying, over and over and over again, to get us to sign up for service. We haven’t seen them in our neighborhood for years, so apparently they’ve thought better of that sales strategy. I like a company that learns from its mistakes!
What’s not to like?