Comcast DTA Conversion – Epic Fail!

This has to be the poorest planning of a technology roll-out we have seen in the last 10 years.

This posted is dedicated to Brian L. Roberts CEO of Comcast who let this fiasco happen on his watch. For the record Edoceo holds no shares of Comcast and David Busby (our owner and author of this post) has sold any/all of his.

First Fail

Folks from Comcast show up at our building (5 unit walk-up) just before noon to drop off the new DTA boxes. No announcement, no pre-notice was given.

Was given two boxes for my unit. I told the Comcast guy that I could take the devices for the other units – he refused. I informed him that I own two units in this building and needed at least four devices – two for me and two for the tenant I lease to. He flatly refused. The devices need to be set for the tenant account. Apparently this Comcast ass-clown could not get it through his thick skull that as land-lord of the unit I’m providing them service and that when my tenant moves out the Comcast service will remain and I will continue to pay for it.

Summary of Issue One: Comcast will not give devices to the person who pays-the-bills only to the person that some dip-shit delivery boy thinks pays the bills cause his instructions are to give the devices to “the tenant”. Be-dammed that when the tenant moves they’ll have to come deliver more boxes for my new tenants or that the existing tenant currently has no obligations to Comcast what-so-ever. Stupid!

Now we have these devices – each of which consumes 24W (120V * 0.2A) – at total of about 210kWh per year. In Seattle this will cost roughly $12/yr per device ( 24W * 24h * 365.25d / 1000 = 210.385kWh/yr * $0.05844/kWh = $12.30/yr) – price per kWh is yearly average. That’s $12/yr for each device – our building has (at this time) four devices – once properly squared away we will have 10 devices. As these devices are constantly on we will be drawing an additional, constant 2A and have a total yearly increase in power consumption of 2103kWh. Let’s save the conversation of the environmental cost of >2000kWh for another time. Either way – each device now costs us, the consumer, and additional $12/yr.

Second: When we call in the system asks for a 16 digit number on the front of the box. Both of our boxes are missing this number. We enter our phone number – but Comcast cannot find my account.

On to activation of said devices. Did I mention that before calling we had to have all devices plugged in, connected to the TV and powered-on? Well it’s true. After completely setting up the hardware it’s time to call the activation line (888-634-4434). Our first call was a 1316h and took 17 minutes. They couldn’t find our account – because our building has one account (for bulk TV) and each tenant has their own accounts for Internet and Voice (to re-cap: bulk-TV in the building for 5 units, 2 sepearte accounts for Internet (me and one other) and one for Voice (me, but not for long)). So then they found us by address, and I had to call a different line. Then my damn iPhone ran out of battery.

Third Fail: Cannot find account, cannot properly sort these devices when given to individuals who have service on bulk account. CSRs not properly trained for this circumstance.

I waited to charge the phone, then called back at 1607h – waited 7 minutes for a person to get on the phone who I could not understand so I had to hang-up and call again. Now Marcy is helping me. Oh! She cannot find my account – so I explain to her how the “bulk services” work and ask her to connect me. ( I cannot connect myself because I don’t know the account number or phone number the account was setup on as it was done by our HOA more than 10 years ago ( Comcast will also not share that information with us ) ).

Ok, now time to wait. Disconnect the DTA from power while waiting with crummy (and very static-y) MoH. Can’t we get Mozart, Brahms or Bach – why this crappy “new age” shit?

This time on hold – six minutes. Ends with with us having to start all over! So, we enter our phone number. Then the system asks if we are a customer (shouldn’t you already know? – my IVR is that smart). When prompted about new DTA activation we are taken back to the system from part one (above) to start process again. Then the system told us they were overloaded and we had to try again.

Fourth call to Comcast regarding the same issue. As soon as our call was answered we ask for supervisor – not playing around this time. 31 minutes on hold to find I have to call back into the bulk/commercial department (800 316 1619)

So we called that number, which again couldn’t find us because the original phone number for the account had been lost. Couldn’t find us by address but this CSR was very helpful in trying to find our account.

Now, finally we have an intelligent tenacious person to deal with. She attempts to signal our DTA boxes with no success. Still a dead box, still no TV activity. Our options conclude with trading in the boxes for new ones at the service center on Monday or waiting for a Tech to come to us on Wednesday. We chose the Tech.

Check back here in four days to find out the results!

Here is a summary of what Comcast did wrong and how most technology providers do it right

1) Unannounced technology upgrade? Epic Fail. Users like to be told a well ahead of time about change.

2) Couldn’t give me devices for all units I own and pay for service on – poor decisions on management let to failed execution by staff.

3) CSRs poorly trained to handle bulk-account situation.

4) IVR and PBX system did not have sufficient capacity to handle the flood of calls from the roll-out. Everyone knows that change brings in phone calls – lots of them.

5) Process and IVR system poorly designed which frustrates clients dealing with issues from parts 1 through 4.