I use a Comcast cable modem at home… I’ve been satisfied with the service; it’s fast enough for my needs and is generally dependable (brief glitches happen once in a while, which quickly fix themselves). However, for the past two days my modem wasn’t able to connect at all, so for the first time I actually had to call Comcast. A few observations on the experience…
* The first thing you hear when calling 1-800-COMCAST is “This is Shaquille O’Neal, and this is Ben Stein… Thank you for calling Comcast” (in their voices). This is a fantastic way to confuse callers, since it sounds like you’ve dialed a wrong number. Why have a celebrity voice on their number at all? I don’t get it.
* While their phone system routes your call to the right department, you get treated to a completely irrelevant advertisement for their telephony service. These kinds of forced ads piss me off to no end. [See also: long-winded offers you're forced to listen to when activating a new credit card.]
* I was amused that their automated phone service suggested that if I was having problems connecting to the internet, I could get help on their website.
* I dread calling “technical support,” because it usually means wasting time as they run though a standard troubleshooting checklist unrelated to what the actual problem is. To Comcast’s credit, I wasn’t subjected to this and it was an efficient process. The techs were nice, but I wish they had better diagnostic tools — the first two calls resulted in “your cable modem is dead, buy a new one”, and then my “dead” modem started to work the next morning!
* The scripted “I’m sorry you’re having a problem, I can assist you with this issue” phrase techs are required to say sounds really corny when you’ve heard the exact same line on each call. Mix it up a little?
* Dear Apple and AT&T — it’s just days until 20-fucking-10, and I still can’t tether my iPhone to my MacBook for internet access in a pinch? Sheesh.