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Tuesday, Jul. 8, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Case Study: Comcast uses Twitter to delight

By Howard Kaplan
July 8th, 2008

Sitting down to the watch the Sox game last night, I surfed over to my hometown paper and found an absolute gem of customer-centricity in the most unlikely of places – a cable television company. As someone who’s lived in a few different markets over the years, I’ve experienced Time-Warner, Comcast, Primestar, Cablevision, and Verizon, and I can tell you there is one common bond that stands out amongst all of Big Cable – the privilege each of the CSRs allowed me to feel for their gracious offering of their service to me ;) . But alas, times perhaps have changed.

Truth be told, what stopped me in my tracks when digitally thumbing through the Globe was not the headline, but the leading image of CC Chapman, all-around Podcaster-extraordinaire. Seems CC’s tv was on the fritz during a little thing called the 17th championship in Boston Celtics history, and he twitter blasted Comcast to make himself feel better (he should’ve realized in title-town, it takes a lot more than OD [original def] to keep a team down ;) .) Here’s the amazing part – Comcast responded, via Twitter, within minutes. They also had a technician out to solve the problem…before the tip off of the next game!

We get asked a lot from clients about how to build communities online, or how to shape the conversations that exist online to be more favorable towards their company or product. I can understand and empathize with their perspective, but more often than not, the companies asking these questions haven’t done the basic fundamentals yet. Don’t worry so much about figuring out the 1-3-1 full court trap; rather focus on perfecting a well executed free throw. Not sure where to begin? How about:

1) Setting up Google alerts for your company and/or product name, and commit to spending an hour per day reading and responding honestly and in a human voice to the comments you read. Remember in the age in which we currently live, our heroes are more flawed like Jason Bourne, than the Rockwellian images of yesteryear. It’s ok to not be perfect, but you’ll get torched for not being honest. If you don’t believe me, see Pettitte, Andy and Clemens, Roger.

2) If Google alerts doesn’t give you enough fodder, try Technorati, or Twitter or Niche sites in your space, like Techmeme. Despite what the old commercial said, it’s tough to reach the end of the internet. There are plenty of services out there to help you comb through what’s out on the ‘net, but you may be surprised to see how much you can learn through sweat equity alone.

3) Go to sites that sell your product and have reviews. Mine through the treasure trove of data that your audience gives you about what works and what doesn’t about your product or service. What’s the vocabulary they use? In addition to learning why they hate your product or service at times, I’ll bet you a quarter you find new benefits you never considered that your audience is realizing as a result of your efforts. Bonus points if you use those benefits to rewrite some product copy.

4) If you don’t have reviews on your site (why not?- Is there something you are afraid of hearing?), read your competitors’ reviews, and instead of trashing them, learn from them. Reach out to the consumer base, and offer a few free products in exchange for free flow of feedback. You can’t improve what you don’t measure.

Those are just some top of mind ways you can get started. I’m positive the GrokDotCom audience base has far more, and even better, ideas for how they overcome these challenges, and learn from their current and past customers. Perhaps if we ask them politely, they’ll even share. Anyone care to share their stories & ideas in the comments below?

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Comments (18)

  1. I was quite surprised to hear Comcast responded to twitter, perhaps it is worthwhile to vent out some twits now and again. Even better if you use Jott and yell into your phone, but I doubt the voice recognition will pick it up that well.

    In any case, this article is great starter that sadly (unless you are in the business of informing them) very few people understand to do. Another great tool that I am starting to work into my arsenal is http://www.twitscoop.com, which is of course yet another “not published” article in my blog. I tell people that it basically works like the google of twitter, so you can get an idea of what people are tweeting about. Perhaps Comcast used a similar tool.

    The final point you brought up that the old school marketing/PR-machine types really needs to understand is the “you’ll get torched for not being honest”.

    Just look at what that wiki watch group turned up on big businesses and politicians trying to edit their wikipedia pages, deleting bad commentary and adding glowing commentary… from THEIR OWN IP addresses.

    Transparency and the ability to handle adversity up front instead of under the covers will help drive the businesses of at least next few decades.

  2. Of course, just as I left that comment last night it appears that Twitter has acquired Summize and launched their own search platform at http://search.twitter.com while they are working on sewing together the two API’s. I imagine this new tool integrated in with Twitter will become more valuable to marketers than others like twitscoop and tweetscape. Its definitely a space to keep an eye on.

  3. [...] strategy that few big or small business have yet to realize. However, Comcast comes to mind as a Twitter support case study. Twitter enables companies to provide support where their customers are located rather than forcing [...]

  4. [...] was a little wary at first, but after some research I learned it was legit. They probably use a tool like Tweetscan to find people that mention their [...]

  5. [...] business can use Twitter effectively, most people point to the twitter accounts of big brands like Comcast and [...]

  6. I would say your very fortunate to not have experienced Charter. I think you’ve named all the rest. Charter by far, IMHO, has them all beat hands down for poor service.

    I like the google alerts idea. I adopt that myself. Sadly, I get a lot of false positives.

  7. [...] Twitter Case Study:  Comcast | Grok Dot Com [...]

  8. [...] Twitter Case Study: Comcast | Grok Dot Com [...]

  9. [...] Twitter Case Study: Comcast | Grok Dot Com [...]

  10. I put in a search for Twitter on their website – “Sorry, we could not find any pages containing “twitter”.”
    Did I miss it?
    I go to Twitter and put in a search for Comcast in “Find People” and see a long, long list with Comcast in their name. Which is the real Comcast on Twitter?
    I would like to see how Comcast uses Twitter. Thanks.

  11. Twitter tools…

    Twitterdoodle The Lessnau Lounge brings you the Twitterdoodle Twitter WordPress plugin that will allow you to have automatic mashup posts created that are relevant to your site from the the daily chatter that goes on at Twitter and logged by Twitter se…

  12. [...] Twitter Case Study: Comcast | Grok Dot Com [...]

  13. I think that when I first woke up and started taking Twitter seriously was when huge companies starting getting onboard with it. Kinda hard to deny it at that point.

  14. [...] Guru Speaks Comcast’s Twitter Man One Case for Twitter – Comcast / Salesforce Case Study Case Study: Comcast uses Twitter to delight Comcast: Twitter Has Changed The Culture Of Our Company Comcast monitoring Twitter, blogs and other [...]

  15. Thank you. I’m add your website of my bookmark list.

  16. It is highly beneficial for the companies if they create online communities. In this way people come to know about what the company is all about and what type of products they are offering. Moreover it is also important to learn from the buying behaviours of the current and the past customers. I think this is one of the most simple and yet highly effective way of creating a substantial online presence.

  17. I think it is highly beneficial for big companies to use mediums like Twitter to engage with users. It helps build transparency.

  18. [...] [...]

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