Shopper Experience: Five Ways Comcast Creates A World-Class Customer Experience


I felt like I was back in college on a special field trip to visit a company and learn how more than 80,000 employees work hard to deliver a good customer experience to more than 29 million customers. A dozen customer service and experience experts and authors were invited to spend a day with Comcast’s top executives at the new, state-of-the-art Comcast Technology Center, and the focus of the day was on customer service and experience (CX). They wanted us to hear their story about their focus and vision to deliver world-class CX to all their customers.

Read more: Shopper Experience: The Phone Is Still A Big Deal For Your Customer Experience.

Before I share some of the insights gleaned that day, we should address the reputation that has been plaguing the Internet and cable TV industry for years. Here are a couple of reasons why:

    1. In the past, getting cable TV was inconvenient. You had to take a half-day off work (or more), sitting around and waiting for the technician to show up. You still can’t get around having to let the technician into your home, but it’s gotten better – a lot better. Instead of a half day, there are two-hour windows, extended hours, a call from the technician when he/she is on the way, and more.
    2. Once in a while, the Internet goes down or cable goes out. The only time you notice this is when it isn’t working. That may seem like a ridiculous statement but consider that there might be times when outages occur and are repaired when you’re not using the product. You would never know about them. But, what we sorely remember is that right in the middle of our favorite show, the cable goes out. (I hate when that happens.) In defense of all cable and Internet companies, sometimes things break. It’s the way a company – any company – handles the situation that can restore your faith and trust in the company.

With those two “issues” in mind, let’s take a look how Comcast is shedding the industry’s reputation and delivering a world-class customer experience to its customers. We can start by looking at its short, six-word customer service and experience vision, what I refer to as a “mantra,” one simple sentence – or less – that is a company’s guiding principle:

Make customer experience our best product.

That’s a bold statement, and if they deliver, they win the hearts and minds of their customers. So, how does Comcast go about this? To start with, it has someone to lead the charge, and that’s Charlie Herrin, the executive VP and chief customer officer. Throughout the day, he and other Comcast executives gave us a glimpse into some of the strategies it will take to deliver on their vision. Here are five lessons learned that could apply to any business, big or small:


  1. If you are going to write a book on CX, the first chapter should be about employees. Remember, the audience consisted of business experts and authors. All of us nodded in approval as Herrin talked about the company’s employee-centric approach to CX. What’s happening on the inside of the company is felt on the outside by the customers. To be a customer-focused company, it has start internally, with every employee, which is why all 80,000 employees are trained to that vision. Every employee knows how they fit into the CX initiative. And, whether you have tens of thousands (or more) employees, or just one or two, the customer experience starts on the inside of the company.
  2. Wow! I never knew I always wanted this! Fraser Stirling, SVP of devices and advanced AI systems technology and product, demonstrated some of the ways Comcast is incorporating very cool tech into the traditional TV experience. The sophistication of voice activation commands, accessibility for people with disabilities, AI programs to enhance a customer’s experience and more were discussed. After Stirling’s demonstration, Herrin summed it up by quoting his 5-year-old daughter after she opened a Christmas present: “Wow I never knew I always wanted this.” This reminded me of Steve Job’s philosophy, “A lot of people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Herrin’s point was that Comcast is innovating products that its customers love, but never know they wanted. What products or services have you created – or can you create – for your customers that would surprise them?
  3. Trust for life. One of the big issues that Comcast is working on is the concept of trust. They know this is not easy and will take time. Decisions that Comcast is making are not about the next one or two quarters, but long term. Two ways to gain trust: One, the product never fails, and two, if the product does fail, you prove you’ll support the customer and they can count on you to do so … Always! Recently there was a big outage to commercial customers. People depend on Comcast for their livelihoods. Herrin pointed out that you can wreck a reputation overnight with one problem. To gain it back takes time. It takes repeated positive experiences (without interruption) to the point where you gain back the customers’ trust. As mentioned, this is a long-term initiative, and the only way this works is if they have everything else in place, especially the customer experience. Trust happens after a series of consistent events that eventually become predictable. The customer must always be able to count on the company.
  4. We want customers to stay with us because they are happy, not because of an exercise in fortitude. How long will a customer put up with bad service before they leave? With some companies, it’s longer than others, because it’s hard to leave. Switching to a new bank is difficult. You have to close one account and open another, which potentially involves pages of paperwork and time. Sometimes a customer will think, “I’ll just stay here because it too big of a hassle to switch.” This can be the same in the cable TV and Internet business. Sometimes it’s easier to stay, even if you want to leave. Herrin’s entire initiative is centered on keeping customers because they are happy, not because it’s easier to stay than switching. Eliminating churn – losing customers to competition – should be a discussion that the leadership of every company should be having. Why do customers leave? Why do they stay? The answers should include all reasons, good and bad.
  1. Set the bar higher so customers not only expect but demand, more. By introducing new technologies, leading-edge products and, most important, a world-class customer experience, Comcast not only raises the bar on its competition, but also itself. Any company that thinks this way knows the effort it takes to be an industry leader. Sustaining that lead takes continuous effort. It seems fitting that this lesson – and our day – came to an end when Herrin was asked, “Will you ever be done?” His response was short and to the point: “Not unless customers stop having expectations.”

I am the Chief Amazement Officer at Shepard Presentations. As a customer service and experience expert, I help organizations create amazing customer and employee experiences. My books have appeared on bestseller lists including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA To…



Shep Hyken is a customer service/CX expert, keynote speaker and NYT bestselling author. Learn about his latest book The Convenience Revolution at


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