Facing Google Fiber and CenturyLink's PrismTV, Comcast tests customer service overhaul in Oregon

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) has selected Oregon has the guinea pig for its much ballyhooed customer-service overhaul. The company has deployed its new Apple Store-like architecture in several retail locations in the state, remodeling the stores to have a modern but warm, human vibe (just imagine Universal Pictures' cuddly "Minion" characters copiously sprinkled around next-generation X1 set-tops and gateways). 

Comcast also has deployed Uber-like technology in Oregon that lets customers carefully track the arrival times of technicians.

The effort is part of Comcast's plan to spend $300 million, hire 5,500 new workers and deploy new technology in an effort to improve its sagging reputation for customer service. 

It's no surprise that Comcast selected Oregon as the state in which it will first roll out its new customer service efforts. CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) recently launched its PrismTV service in Portland, and Google Fiber (NASDAQ: GOOG) is also poised to infiltrate the market.

Promoted into the new role of "customer service czar" one year ago to improve Comcast's reputation after a series of embarrassing viral customer service gaffs, Charlie Herrin struck a familiar chord while speaking to the Oregonian from Comcast's Philadelphia headquarters about the company's efforts: "It's not going to take one good experience to win them back," Herrin said. "It's going to take repeated, positive experiences … We need to be sure our customers understand how seriously we take this."

Elsewhere, Comcast continues to boost its customer service operations. The company said recently it will open three new U.S.-based customer call centers in Albuquerque, N.M, Spokane, Wash., and Tucson, Ariz.,  which will include the hiring of 2,000 workers. 

For more:
- read this Oregonian story

Related articles:
Comcast customer service czar makes first big move: apologies, credits for X1 outages
Comcast COO: Customer retention rep recording was 'painful to listen to'
Comcast to hire 5,500 new workers, spend $300M to bolster customer service

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