There is a trend I have been keeping an eye on via Twitter and this week I got to experience it myself. This post is a result of that experience.

Twitter is many things as anyone who has used the service knows.  It is used by marketers, celebrities, media outlets, Presidents, congressmen, senators, fictional characters.  The list goes on and on.

One example of use that I have been watching over the last few months is the customer service that COMCAST offers via Twitter. As I remember it started with just one rep and then slowly other COMCAST folks were online and eventually COMCAST had 24 hours a day, 7 days a week coverage on Twitter.

I imagine his is how it happens – whatever COMCAST rep is online they have a search for the term COMCAST.  Now this search can be via the web at or maybe they created a search panel in Tweetdeck looking for that term or maybe even the more generic term cable.

Now when the duty Twitter CSR (Customer Service Rep) is online and sees that search term get a hit they send a quick note to the Twitter of record and offer to help out.  If it is a real COMCAST related issue then they are on the spot ready to help.  If for some reason it isn’t about a COMCAST outage they can just say sorry and see ya later.

I do something very similar to find people tweeting about Windows 7.  When I see a tweet I like to engage that individual to discuss Windows 7 and learn from them and maybe even offer some info about the beta operating system.

Now my personal experience with this awesome style of customer service happened this past week.

I was at home wrapping up some preparations for our trip to New York City.  I am actually writing this post from 37,000 feet on JetBlue Flight 616 to JFK but that is info for another blog post.

I was getting ready to go online to JetBlue’s website and do our online checkin when the Internet died out.  TV was in and out and our Internet phone lines through COMCAST were also offline.  So I grabbed my Blackjack 2 cell phone and started up TinyTwitter and sent a quick tweet stating that all my COMCAST services were offline.  Within just a few minutes of that tweet I had a reply in my timeline from @ComcastBonnie that simply asked “Can I help with that?”.

I replied absolutely and DM’d her my home phone number to help look up my account info, etc.

Within just a few minutes she replied back and said there was a significant outage on my node – upwards of 300 people were in a similar situation.  So i waited to hear back from her and within an hour my service was restored and we were back online.

Now I know with that big of an outage COMCAST would have been well aware of it but there is something to be said to have a simple acknowledgement of the outage.  It let me know that it was being paid attention to.

Now what would my alternative have been with this outage? 

  1. Get on the phone.  Wait home phone was out with the outage.  So onto the cell phone to call COMCAST.
  2. Possibly stay on hold and burn my cell phone minutes waiting for a reply.
  3. Provide all my details and wait for the CSR to research what was going on.
  4. Get word on the outage and then wait for resolution.

Now of course the only change to the above steps that I had when I used Twitter to get this same assistance was instead of the phone I tweeted about the outage.  I am sure I could have also directly sent a tweet to the COMCAST rep as well. Instead of being on hold tied to the phone I was able to get on with other things I needed to do and just check my Twitter stream for replies from @COMCASTBonnie with updates.

I will take a resolution process that allows me to get on with other things instead of being tied to the phone waiting.

So COMCAST – please accept my thanks for the help on my personal outage.  I will add a Well Done for the way you are doing this customer service via Twitter.  It is an excellent use of the medium and although it may not have been the way Twitter was meant to be used when it first came online with its simple question What Are You Doing?

However, this has to be one of the best uses I have seen personally. I have seen you address many outages and issues via Twitter and have seen so many satisfied customers – that is the way to do business in any environment.

COMCAST Customer Service Reps on Twitter: