Posted on : 29-06-2009 | By : Frank Eliason | In : Business, Comcast, Customer Service, Social Media
Tags: Comcast, ComcastCares, Frank Eliason
After seeing the USA Today story on Friday, I was shocked to be referenced as “something of a legend.” I see everything I have done as really being Customer Service 101.
I started with Comcast in September, 2007 as a manager of Customer Service in Philadelphia. On my fourth day with the company we were asked to locate a blogger and reach out to them to assist with a problem. We called and assisted the Customer. From that day forward, on occasion, we would reach out to bloggers when we had time. Each and every time we did that the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. In December I was asked why we did not write on blogs. I did not realize we could (my background was in financial services and we were not allowed to write on the web regarding work). This provided us the opportunity to reach out to many bloggers that were typically anonymous. Reaction remained overwhelmingly positive. In February, I became the manager of Digital Care (I later became Director of Digital Care), a new role to look at ways we can meet Customer where they already are. At that time we started to review ways we can assist Customers in this digital world. We outlined our goals, which were to listen to our Customer and help when we can. It is very simplistic, but that remains the same goals we work from today. Early on we learned from others regarding the space (my only experience in social media was a website for our daughter, and, later, our family website ). We learned quickly that each space is its own community, and you have to treat it as such. Forums, for example, are peers helping peers, and you do not want to take away from that. Based on this, we typically private message within forums. We were introduced to Twitter by a VP of our southwest region, Scott Westerman. Like other spaces we watched for a long time, reaching out on occasion via phone. At one point we reached out to Michael Arrington. In fact it is a day that stands out for me. I was procrastinating putting in ceiling fans and I was reviewing emails instead. I was also reviewing RSS feeds that I had set up, including the one for Twitter. I noticed Michael’s post, and I called him on the phone. The next day he posted â€œComcast, Twitter and the Chicken, Trust me I have a Point. The neat part about that post was the first few comments were they reached out to you because you are Michael Arrington. That was simply not true, we reached out because I saw it. But other people started posting and telling Michael, â€œThey reached out to me, and I am nobody. That to me is what it is all about, helping anyone in need.
Anyway, that was the first day I actually tweeted. My original intent behind ComcastCares, was this ID would be used by all members of my team as I learned how to engage in this space. My original avatar was the Comcast logo and not my picture. Well after Michael blogs about you, many follow. Every post offered different types of feedback. I read every one, and when possible, incorporated the feedback. I realized the space was personal, and people wanted to interact with other individuals. It was then I added my name and later my picture. It is also why now each of my team members has their own ID. They also decide background and avatar. All of my tweets, 31,500 and 15,000 direct messages were done by me. One of the more memorable blog posts discussed me using the word â€˜perception and how it was not typically used. At first I laughed, because I have always used that word, in writing and speaking to people. What the post really was telling me to do was loosen up a bit. So I did. I also learned very quickly that when you are reaching out to someone, do not try to interfere in any way. So instead of just providing an answer, we may open the conversation with â€œCan I help? If they want assistance, they will respond. I did learn to tweet about other things and loosen up a lot, but you still need to be careful. I remember during the first Presidential debate I was following much of the discussion via Twitter search. I really wanted to get involved in the conversation, but I know politics and religion can be difficult when you represent a company. During that debate Jim Lehrer tried to control both candidates. Not thinking it was political, I tweeted â€œJim Lehrer for President. I did not realize that some people view him leaning one way or the other, but responses I received made that clear. So much for being too personal! The fact is we are writing the book each day as we learn more and more through every social space. I always enjoy learning and I love when I have the opportunity to learn even more.
One of the best learnings in this space was not so much the interaction, but the valuable feedback and the speed of information. I now have so many people watching Twitter search, because it usually provides information even before calls come in. We are then able to react to it and provide Customers the best information.
So that is enough of this after school special!