In Digital Home Entertainment, Who’s Winning the Race to the Bottom?

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The digital home entertainment industry ranks dead last in customer service. The major players – Comcast, DirectTV and Dish Network – routinely enrage customers with shoddy service. And that left me with a dilemma recently when the combination of DirecTV and ISP CenturyLink (which I threw out of my business years ago) couldn’t get their gear working after 6 months in our new house. That left us holding our nose and switching to…gag…Comcast.

I have criticized Comcast’s service relentlessly based on customer experience bolstered by media reports. I included the infamous “Mona the Hammer” incident, a horrible indictment of Comcast service, in my latest book. But then something half-magical happened. After struggling to place our order with untrained service agents who were wrong about services and prices more often than not, I got someone very well-trained and competent. Then I ran into some technical problems, including difficulty getting our two Roku instances working. This is about to get ugly, I thought. But low and behold, it didn’t. Instead, I stumbled into two well-trained service techs who knew not only their systems but Roku as well. They completely exceeded my admittedly dismal expectations.

Then a couple of days after everything was up and running I read about Comcast admitting its customer relations had been awful and now investing $500 million to upgrade service, based on customer demands. Hey, some companies really are listening to us, including one of the deafest of the deaf, which will apparently lose the race to the bottom.

Have you experienced pleasant service surprises lately that reflect big business hearing us?

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