Less than two weeks after the collapse of a $45 billion merger bid for Time Warner Cable, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts took the stage at the INTX cable conference in Chicago to unveil new products and initiatives to improve the company's notorious customer service and thank his "friends" at TWC by letting the audience know, yet again, that Comcast is "moving on."
The TWC references didn't stop there. While demonstrating a new voice-controlled remote, Roberts asked the system to show him "the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger." A second later, an explosion scene from the action flick The Fast and The Furious (distributed by Universal Studios, which is owned by Comcast) showed up on two large screens, and the audience erupted in laughter. (According to Roberts, the new remote will be rolled out to X1 customers at no extra charge.)
Other announcements included new ways customers can engage with Comcast's customer service representatives and technicians.
"We want to make the customer experience our number-one priority and our best product," Roberts told the audience. "The goal is to make it incredibly easy for customers to do business with us, easier than ever before."
To that end, Comcast (cmcsa) is unveiling a feature called "Tech Tracker," an application that allows customers to pinpoint exactly when a technician will arrive at their home. Comcast users can also use the app to see the technician's name and rate them after the visit. According to Roberts, this feature has already rolled out in Boston and will be available to customers across the country by end of the year. The CEO also announced a new way customers can talk to service reps; instead of putting callers on hold, the company will now offer scheduled calls in 15-minute increments. What's more, they'll call customers back to initiate the conversation.
"Instead of calling us," Roberts said, "we'll call you."
This isn't the first time Comcast has tried to revamp the way it does customer service, but the company still ranks at the bottom of a number of industry surveys and rankings. That said, as customers begin to have more options—including access to newer content distribution platforms such as Netflix—Comcast might have more at stake than ever before. Its business is changing in more ways than one. Yesterday, during its quarterly earnings call with investors, Comcast revealed that the number of broadband customers is now larger than the number of pay-TV customers.
Not surprisingly, Roberts also had some news on the broadband side at the INTX conference. But surprisingly, he led with a redesigned modem. The sleeker-looking device, says Roberts, provides 50% lower cost per megabit than today's routers. It also looked more like something you'd find at an Apple store than a Comcast shop. Looks like Comcast's business really is changing.