by Bill Snyder

Comcast Says New App Means No More Waiting for the Cable Guy

Nov 24, 20142 mins
Consumer Electronics

Comcast is testing a new tracking feature in its mobile app that's designed to let customers locate service techs and determine when they'll show up.

Waiting for the cable guy has become something of a national joke. We all hate to do it. Comcast, which received numerous black eyes for horrendous customer service gaffes during this past year, says it has a solution: an app that lets you keep tabs on technicians as they head for your home.

The solution sounds simple and efficient, and it’s now being tested in the Boston area. Comcast Senior Vice President Charlie Herrin explained how the app works in a recent blog post:

“Customers with scheduled appointments will be alerted through our App when our technician is about 30 minutes away from arriving at their house, and will be able to track this technician’s progress on a map. We’re hoping this will prevent our customers from just needing to sit at home and wait.”

The app Herrin mentioned is actually a feature that will be added to Comcast’s free MyAccount apps for iOS and Android devices. If all goes well during the trial period, Comcast expects to roll out the tracking feature in the first half of 2015, says company spokeswoman Kate Finn. A few hundred people are currently trying it out, she added. When the new tracking feature is ready, it will be pushed it to your mobile device via your app store’s standard updating procedure.

Comcast is obviously attempting to repair some of the damage it suffered this year. A recording of a frustrated customer trying to convince an obnoxiously persistent Comcast employee to terminate his service went viral and became fodder for late night TV. Then there was the customer who became so enraged during a visit from a Comcast service tech that she pulled a gun.

If the black eyes convinced Comcast to act in a more customer-friendly way, and the app really works, it’s a win for millions of subscribers. It also shows the immense power of social media to shame companies for bad behavior.