Comcast CEO explains why people think it’s the worst company in the U.S.

by Steve Blum •

We don’t suck as bad you think we do.

People hate cable companies because they charge a lot of money, and then the cable guy doesn’t show up on time. That was the essence of Comcast CEO Brian Robert’s response to a question posed by Henry Blodget, a writer for Business Insider. In an interview at an industry conference, Blodget pointed out that Comcast has “been voted the worst company in America for customer service” and that “the general reputation of cable companies is ‘Screw the customer'”. Roberts’ reply was that Comcast and other cable companies are in a no-win situation…

…Like … “Well, your people didn’t show up on time” and therefore let’s fix that and will that actually change the score and suddenly we’re the best company in America? Google’s free. Facebook is free. We charge, and we collect for every piece of content rights. Every movie star. Every athlete. Every possible piece of content we pay…

If you drop a channel, you’re incredibly unpopular, and if you pass along a rate increase, you’re incredibly unpopular. So I think that is the essence, in my opinion, of why the category is perceived and then you make foot faults: You didn’t show up on time or it didn’t work.

His solution is to improve customer service. Or at least tell his executives to improve customer service. That would be a good start.

The problem goes deeper than that, though. Other companies – DirecTv and DISH, for example – have the same issues but rank high in customer satisfaction surveys. So the problem isn’t intrinsic to the business.

It’s about a corporate culture that’s rooted in a monopoly mindset that has never had effective checks on its behavior. It’s the kind of mindset that says it’s okay to make promises you never intend to keep, because no one can do anything to you if you don’t. Or if it gets too bad, just stuff some cash in political pockets and it’ll all blow over.

Comcast’s smash mouth attitude toward its customers and the communities they live in needs to change, if Roberts really doesn’t want it to remain “the worst company in America”.