A Google search for “Comcast sucks” pulls up a whopping 900,000 results. You’ll find Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and even a website all touting the angry message. While telecom providers have a pretty unfavorable reputation as a group, the rage against Comcast is unrivaled. In fact, many speculate that Comcast’s 2010 rebrand to Xfinity was intended to help alleviate some of that bad reputation. But when you look at the facts, they’re far from the worst-rated company when it comes to customer satisfaction. When reviewing Comcast’s TV service, we dug deep into the source of the customer service hate.
A Problematic Public Past
Few but Comcast have faced such public incidents of bad customer service. Perhaps the most notable instance was a cringe-worthy customer service call that went viral in 2014. Reported on by major outlets like NPR and Time, the recorded call has been listened to over 6 million times. In it, Comcast customer Ryan Block spends 20 minutes trying to cancel his service. The retention representative persistently refused to cancel Block’s service and becomes increasingly agitated. Instead of canceling the service, the representative asks questions like, “You don’t want something that works?” and “Okay, so you’re not interested in the fastest internet in the country?” The rep’s desperate tone is perhaps the most frustrating part, especially in contrast to Block’s calm and polite requests to simply cancel the service.
Comcast followed up with a few statements, first stating they were very embarrassed by the call and then following up by admitting that the agent did what they pay him to do. Basically, Comcast didn’t come out looking very good, and the whole affair added validation to the frustrations many customers face.
But the Facts Are in Comcast’s Favor
Despite its reputation for having such terrible service, Comcast actually has pretty mediocre ratings in customer satisfaction surveys. In the J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, Comcast earned a 3/5 in the South region, placing above Cox Communications, Spectrum, and Suddenlink. Its lowest ratings were in billing and customer service, but in general, its service was deemed about average. Similarly, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) rated Comcast 57/100 in 2019 — better than Frontier, Mediacom, and Suddenlink. Even Consumer Reports readers ranked Comcast above eight other providers.
While Comcast still rates well below providers known for great customer service (Verizon, DISH, DIRECTV), Comcast certainly isn’t the worst provider out there. Likely, the larger pool of hatred can be credited to its wider availability. Comcast services 40 states, while Medicom is available in 22 states and Cox Communications in just 18.
Are Things Getting Better?
Most of those angry Google results and Twitter accounts date back to 2014-2016 — the height of Comcast hate following the viral incident. These days, Comcast has taken a few steps to improve. In an update on its customer service written in 2017, Comcast noted that “Our on-time arrival rate for technicians coming to your home has improved to over 97 percent. Our success rate for solving your issue on the FIRST call is up by 7 percent, getting us closer to our goal of fixing it right the first time, every time.” The initiative to improve customer service also includes a new callback feature that allows customers to schedule a call, rather than wait on hold indefinitely. Comcast has also introduced shorter appointment windows and real-time tracking that will let you know when the technician arrives — plus $20 off the next bill if the technician misses or is late for an appointment. While everyone’s personal experience will be different, Comcast is taking some steps to improve.