You are visiting the High Monkey blog archive. Posts prior to 2016 may not meet accessibility standards. Please visit our current blog area at to view accessibility compliant blog posts published since January 1, 2016.

Stupid Usability #76

Comcast and the Never Ending Cycle of Automated Machines!

Written By: High Monkey
Posted: 11/3/2014

From the mind of Brian Haukos, Marketing Support at High Monkey:

I hate to see the stupid usability blog continue to pick on Comcast but seriously they are getting better and better at making things more complicated!

The other day, I had received a new cable box to replace an older version provided by Comcast. I began the set up process by plugging an HDMI chord to the back of the new box and then plugging the power chord from the box into the wall. After waiting a second for the box to boot up, the following message emerged on my television screen.

I knew this was going to happen so I continued on by calling the number provided on the screen. The phone was answered by an automated system that began by asking me the phone number listed on the account in order to pull up my information. After entering my number I was brought to the main hub for Comcast.

The automated machine asked what I was having troubles with, and instead of having options to choose from this select machine thinks it is smart enough to just have me speak my issue and It will be able to resolve it. If only this was the case after trying to tell the machine I wanted to activate a new cable box multiple times it finally registered my issue, and I was transferred to the activation menu.

This is where the true stupid usability comes in, after listening to the options and going through the activation process multiple time, with no success I knew I needed to speak with a human to get this problem resolved. There was an option to speak to a representative by pressing “2” so that’s exactly what I did, only problem is the machine said it was not a valid answer and ended the call.

At this point I’m sure you could guess my mood and I called back having to go through the process from above asking for a representative right away. After going through about 2 automated menus I finally got to a section where I could be transferred to a representative. I was transferred and my issue was resolved within the next 5 minutes. I’m glad I was able to get this new box activated but at what cost 45+ minutes of my time and sheer anger and frustration.

My suggestion to Comcast would be to stop trying to use an automated system for every aspect of their support and just have the automated system direct customers with issues to the appropriate department they are looking for which would have an easy process to speak with a real individual! This would save many customers precious time and choice words would not need to be used!

Chad's Bio Coming Soon!

More About Virgil

Virgil Carroll is the owner and president of High Monkey – based in Minneapolis Minnesota. Virgil also wears the multiple ‘hats’ of Principle Human Solutions Architect and SharePoint Architect.

Virgil is one of those rare individuals who can dive deep into technical topics while speaking clearly to the business owners of a project and never forgetting that the end user experience has the highest priority. He calls it using both sides of his brain. Virgil is passionate about leveraging technologies ‘out of the box’ as much as possible with a focus on the strategic use of content to create websites that deliver the right content to the right audience on the right device at the right time. Virgil brings high energy, an ironic wit, and a sense of grounded perspective whenever he speaks to an audience. Virgil regularly speaks at conferences and user groups throughout the United States and occasionally in Europe.

Posted: 11/3/2014 12:00:00 AM by | with 0 comments