(#218) Stop Saying “I Understand!”

Don’t guarantee what you cannot deliver.

By now you probably heard the customer service call from hell that a Comcast customer recently endured. While Comcast apologized, I think most of us can sympathize, empathize and/or identify with the situation. At one time or another we have encountered a company agent who was anything but helpful.

Coincidentally, I was having my own issues with Comcast at the same time the story above hit the national news.

The short story: Comcast promised to complete a repair order and bury a new cable at our residence on July 14.  After several phone calls (lots of holds) and social media posts (my Facebook feed and the Comcast site), I eventually got connected with a corporate email address…which finally got the job finished on July 20. Five days late.

Image: stockimages/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: stockimages/

The teacher inside me has to pass along some suggestions/questions/lessons:

  • Stop over-promising. State what you can do and when you can do it.
  • Ditch the script. Please hire people who you can trust to speak without a script.  Someone who can think critically, speak clearly, and have a real conversation.
  • Stop telling every customer, “I understand.”  The third time I heard that I was over it. Especially when nothing has been resolved for days.
  • If customers call concerning a shortcoming in your service, why are your company agents hawking other products and services? If you cannot deliver on your current service, there is no reason I want to sign up for more (potentially) bad service.
  • When you make an appointment, make an appointment!  I was told by one of the many Comcast agents I spoke with that although I had an appointment for July 14, it didn’t really mean July 14.  Comcast, the agent told me, considers it has 7-10 days to deliver on that appointment.  Say what?  Tell that to your boss, your clients or creditors: “Sure, I’ll mark down July 14 for you.  But that means I might not complete my obligation until July 24.”  Huh?

    Video recommendation for the week:

    This video pretty much sums it up.

  • One customer service agent boldly told me “I guarantee it will be taken care of today.”  When I repeated his “guarantee” he said, “Definitely!”  It took another three days. Don’t guarantee what you cannot deliver.
  • Please define “escalation.”  I was told by a number of agents that my ticket was going to be “escalated.”  Three days into the ordeal, a supervisor told me she would “re-escalate” the ticket.  Glad she “re-escalated” as it only took another 3 days for service delivery!
  • Get more supervisors who can make decisions and tell a customer exactly what is what.
  • If you can’t handle the volume of calls, then either reduce your business or get more (and better) agents.
  • If you tell a paying customer (really, anyone) that “someone will call you later today” please make sure the call is made.
  • I found out (from a post to my Facebook feed) that there is a special “Make it Right” phone number to Comcast (that requires a special ID#).  Why isn’t the first call to Comcast the “Make it Right” phone call?

I realize operating the behemoth muscle-bound company you have created has to be difficult; and that service is slow at times; and that you cannot always deliver as you promise.

I understand.

Not really.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


About stevepiscitelli

Community Advocate-Author-Pet Therapy Team Member
This entry was posted in Integrity, quality, service and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to (#218) Stop Saying “I Understand!”

  1. Mimi Folk says:

    Go Steve GO! Been there and it is ugly.
    Ditto when a student makes a commitment and then doesn’t deliver. Think the Comcast issue is a relevant cautionary tale (and they’ll get that one!)


  2. …and ATT is no better. I have been dealing with them since July 3. Latest problem: We still have no phone service and Internet service at home. Tech just came; but he is not the “right” one to fix the problem. It is systemic with many big corporations/entities. So…I continue to hold them accountable–and demand
    the service for which I am paying. May be a reprise blog based on what happens with ATT today. Hope you are well!


  3. Outstanding, Steve!


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