When Bad Customer Service Leads the Elderly to Violence

Last Updated Oct 19, 2007 6:18 PM EDT

bottled-rage.jpgMona Shaw, a 75-year old woman from Manassas Virginia, received a three-month suspended sentence, was fined $345, and was issued a year-long restraining order for going at her local Comcast payment center with a hammer. In August, she and her husband waited all day for a Comcast technician to come to their home and install the Triple Play phone, Internet, and cable service. The Technician came two days later and failed to complete the job -- and they waited two hours to speak to a manager before being told the manager had left for the day.

Shaw said of her trip to the payment center:

"I smashed a keyboard, knocked over a monitor ... and I went to hit the telephone. I figured, 'Hey, my telephone is screwed up, so is yours.'"
Now we're not condoning violence as a solution to customer service issues, but it's interesting to note that Comcast doesn't have too many fans in Manassas. Apparently, it's pretty common for technicians to leave jobs there incomplete. Councilman Jonathon Way said:
"They [Comcast] keep passing the buck off to other departments, and the other departments don't come back in a timely fashion. It's a shameful and unmanaged operating business over there."
Way goes on to say the company only responds to concerns when issues are brought up with upper management.
"The quality problem is with the routine customer service, where customers expect to be managed effectively but are not."
Comcast's customer service record paints a slightly different picture of the Shaw indicent than Mona portrays. But really, what good is a customer service record if the representatives keeping it are either incompetent or poorly trained? Sometimes customers are just unreasonable (for instance, when they reach into their tool kit to deal with frustration.) But it sounds like Comcast's management in Manassas needs to do a little more than grab for bandaids when customers are unhappy.

(Bottled Rage image by I'm Fantastic)