Comcast Tests App That Lets Subs Track, Rate Techs

As part of ongoing efforts to improve its customer service, Comcast said it’s testing out a new feature for the MSO’s MyAccount app that lets customers track the arrival times of technicians and also rate their performance.

Comcast is rolling out the trial, which tracks the whereabouts of technicians in real time, “outside Boston this week,” Charlie Herrin, Comcast’s recently-appointed SVP, customer service, explained in this blog post about the pilot feature.

According to Herrin, customers with scheduled appointments will be alerted through the MyAccount app when the tech is about 30 minutes away from arriving at the customer’s home, while also allowing customers to track this technician’s progress on a map.

“We’re hoping this will prevent our customers from just needing to sit at home and wait.  They can check the app from the office, or wherever they are, and head home when they see we’re on our way,” Herrin explained. “If we are running late, which can happen if our tech gets tied up at someone else’s house, we will let folks know that too, and provide real-time status updates so they can plan accordingly.”

In another nod to an Uber-like model, the trial app also lets customers provide feedback using a “rate the experience” feature. “If the experience isn’t what it should have been, customers can let us know, and we will call them to see how we can correct the situation as quickly as possible,” Herrin noted.

He said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts demonstrated the new features at an event in San Francisco. CSG Systems, one of Comcast’s key billing and customer care partners, has been talking up such capabilities, which are enabled by enhanced field workforce apps that rely on geographic analytics and GPS information.

Update: Comcast said it's not working with CSG on this test feature, but is using GPS tracking technology from an unnamed third party that is integrated with the technicians' phones. 

Comcast, Herrin said, could expand the availability of the feature next year if the trial is successful.

Comcast has been trying to improve its image and its overall customer service performance as the MSO seeks regulatory approval for its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable and faces a high-profile lawsuit from Conal O’Rourke, a former Comcast customer in California, who claims his complaints about the cable company's poor customer service led to his firing from PricewaterhouseCoopers.  Comcast apologized for its customer service performance, but denied playing a role in O’Rourke’s termination. 

Among other recent moves aimed at improving the customer experience, Comcast announced an agreement that enables customers to return equipment such as set-tops and cable modems to Comcast for free at one of more than 4,400 UPS Store locations.