The 4th Floor's Podcast

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What does it say about a company when you can use them as an excuse for being late for class? Yesterday Comcast was scheduled to come to my new place to install internet and TV, and naturally showed up roughly 5 hours late.  This of course threw off the rest of my day, but that isn't shocking.  What's shocking is that my professor and classmates weren't in the least bit surprised that Comcast had caused this problem.

I understand that there were mistakes made on the direct sales representative's side, namely the wrong address.  But the problem is that the company is so inconsistent in its ability to maintain a schedule, that not one person I've talked to seems to think my story is unusual.  The only concern then lies in the fact, that Comcast really isn't apt to fix the problem completely.  Especially given that their biggest competitor in the internet field, Verizon FIOS, isn't available to people that live in apartment buildings.  In terms of television, there are options, but some complexes don't allow dishes to be on their buildings.  This leaves Comcast in this area capable of forcing you to deal with their complete lack of satisfactory service.

Let's apply this to another company.  Sony, as some of you know, has been experiencing a severe network outage for the past 3 weeks.  This is due to hackers who have managed to infiltrate their network, and I rather not get into the issue of PSN (Playstation Network) being down, and how personal information has been obtained for potentially millions of users.  Rather, I'd like to look at the way Sony has handled the situation from a customer service stand point in terms of meeting deadlines.

When the service went down three weeks ago, Sony said that the service would be restored in a couple of days.  A week later and the service still being down, Sony announced that they were completely overhauling the network, and that the following week it would be up.  A week later (are we seeing a pattern yet) it was announced that PSN would be down until the end of May.  Today it was announced that it would be a "few days" until online was restored.

It's interesting to note that Sony didn't include what "online" was exactly.  At the least costumers can only hope that online will include the ability to play games online and sync their growing number of single player trophies to their PSN account.  I don't imagine that the Playstation Store will be up or will the various other services involved included with PSN.

My concern though is that Sony is going to end up going back to their original date of the end of May.  While it isn't unusual for companies to miss deadlines, if Sony begins to make a habit out of missing these deadlines, and so far they have, then they may see a backlash.  The problem for Sony, unlike Comcast, they have solid competition in Nintendo and Microsoft. Sony can not sit on their laurels and believe that their consumer base will stand with them through this.  The poor handling of releasing information regarding the network intrusion, caused enough problems with consumer trust, but add to the problem continual missed deadlines and Sony may be looking at trouble beyond just winning back customers.  They will be looking at an issue of finding new customers as well.

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