@ComcastCares really does care

I was having issues with my Comcast internet service where it would randomly disconnect throughout the day. Usually, the disconnects lasted only a minute or two, as the cable modem re-acquired the signal (if I happened to get to the basement fast enough, I could see the modem go through its startup sequence of flashing lights), although sometimes it would be down for several minutes. This would usually happen three or four times a day.

One day, when it was especially flaky, I called Comcast customer service. After going through the standard troubleshooting tips (including resetting the modem and rebooting the computer), I finally got a service call scheduled. The technician didn't find anything wrong inside the house and promised to schedule a line technician to check the wires outside. He said to call back in a few days if things hadn't improved. When they hadn't a few days later, I tried calling back, only to get a customer service rep on the line who could only tell me that he didn't have access to the line tech's schedule, but to try waiting a week as it sometimes takes that long for a technician to be available.

During the week, on a particularly hot day, the internet service was being very unstable again. It did seem like, the hotter the day, the less stable my internet connection (although that could just be correlation, since really hot days are days I'd rather spend inside in the A/C). I decided to send a tweet to the @ComcastCares customer service account to ask if this was typical behavior, which resulted in an exchange of messages where the @ComcastCares representative was actually able to tell me that the line tech had not been out yet, and that he would see to it that it got done.

Already I was pretty impressed with their service (and more disappointed with the telephone customer service), but I was completely unprepared for the next step. That Sunday afternoon, I got a phone call from someone who monitors the @ComcastCares Twitter account to follow up with my service issues. After asking me some more detailed questions about my setup (like whether the cable line went through a whole-house amplifier before or after it hits the cable modem, and whether there were any splitters or traps on the line) and then trying some other troubleshooting steps (like removing the splitter and trap and just dedicating the cable line to the modem), he promised to follow up with another service call from another technician.

The next service call, the technician was able to determine that there was damage on the line from the house to the pedestal, and he replaced that and scheduled a time for another team to come back and bury the cable.

Unfortunately, the problems didn't stop there. Things did seem to get better for a time. (There was one peculiar instance of my cable modem doing a factory reset of itself. My network setup requires the cable modem be in "bridging" mode instead of the default "routing", so when this happened, I couldn't connect to the internet even though my connection was technically "good". Since I couldn't fix this myself, I used my phone to fire off a tweet to @ComcastCares, and it was fixed within minutes. No rep that I've spoken to about this can figure out why this happened, however.)

Again, I got a phone call from that same rep who's been watching my case. Although he had promised to have an area manager contact me, he realized there was some miscommunication along the way, and the area manager was sending him updates but not me; so he wanted to contact me and check on the status. I mentioned that things seemed a lot better, although things still weren't perfect. (This was right after the cable had been buried.) He had already left me his voice mail number on an earlier call, and he invited me to keep an eye on things and leave him a message if things hadn't improved. Well, not much later that day, there were a couple fairly long-term (i.e., several minutes) dropouts, so I did end up leaving him a voice mail.

I haven't heard back from him just yet, but there was a technician at our house today. He checked the line and was finding some errors, and he started tracing the line back along their network until he found a bad amplifier further upstream. He reported to us that he fixed that, and that the bad amplifier plus our damaged cable would be a likely cause to all our issues. He also said he was surprised no one else had reported any problems.

So, as of now, things are a whole lot better than they were. I have to say, I am really amazed at the level of service I've received through the @ComcastCares account. Sure, it would be nice if nothing ever went wrong in the first place, but the fact that the people I've been working with have actually taken an interest in fixing things up (especially reaching out and calling me to check up on things) is really impressive.

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