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Marianne Paskowski

I Really Hate This Idea

September 5, 2007 2:37 PM

Wall Street loves the idea of Comcast’s test plans to let customers self-install Internet-based phone service because it will save the company anywhere from $200-$300 per truck rollout and accelerate the nation’s largest MSO’s growth in the voice business.

According to Bloomberg.com, the self-install is a breeze, quoting a Comcast person who said the process takes less than 30 minutes from opening the box to getting a ring tone. One of the problems mentioned was that the self-install only works with cordless phones and not wired phones.

While investors love the idea, I absolutely hate it. And apparently I’m not alone. In that same article a Cablevision Systems representative said the MSO began offering the self-install option in 2005, but a majority of its customers opted for a professional installation. Why am I not surprised?

Why would I want to waste 30 minutes doing something I hate, tinkering with technology, given there was no mention of a price break for those do-it-yourself types, which I clearly am not?

Been there, done that with Verizon’s DSL service. The box came and sat on my desk for a week before I had the courage to open it. But I was motivated to do it because I was rewarded with a cheap rate of $19.99 a month. That’s what Comcast needs to do: offer it on the cheap if the company expects customers to do its job. And oh, my DSL works with wired phones and not just cordless.


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Comments (3)

Marianne Paskowski:

Remiss of me not to say,and leave the wrong impression, this is just a Comcast test. And if you love your land line, however, you cannot do a self-install. Whatever, I still don't like it.And while Wall Street analysts are liking it, the stock is actually down, again. Go figure.
Signing off,

mp (Setting the record straight, before I get the annoying emails and phone calls that come whenever I dis a cable company.)

This has been one of the major pushes of the Internet - let customers do it themselves from data entry for orders to installation of devices.

It sure is a lot to ask of people with varying training and little voice help to support them in these projects. I am sure we have all spoken to Indians when trying to get something done and waited and waited and waited and waited some more to talk to a person. After all, we customers have nothing better to do.

I believe that the large corporations have generally succeeded in pushing work to their customers and make them pay the same prices for the products/services.

I think Vonage has done a fairly good job but have reduced the costs for customers. I use a little USB device for phone service and find I can plug into any Internet connected computer and make no extra charge calls to a large area of the world.

For all of this to continue to succeed, there has to be a return to writing good documentation and have support readily available with proper cost/pricing adjustments. But I guess this is not likely to happen since literacy in this country is so down and going lower.

In the end, there is little customer loyalty around anymore. When a company has a good representative arrive at a person's home providing a good service and conversation can keep customers on board with them. Now we are ready to jump anytime they stick it to us.

Marianne Paskowski:

Speaking of literacy, the written instructions leave a lot of be desired, adding to the frustrations of any self-installed gizmo. Most are one size fits all approaches, not taking into account different setups people might have. I can't even read the garble, telling me to insert Jack A into Slot A and I learn I don't even have a Slot A. Given mounting customer dissatisfaction, I would guess Comcast will have the same results as Cablevision on this new self-install test, not many takers. Certainly not me.

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