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Maybe (Just Maybe) There’s Hope for Comcast Yet 

Jim Tincher Jim Tincher 10/25/2017

Whenever I’m leading a workshop or giving a keynote, I know I can always get a laugh by putting “Comcast” and “Customer Experience” in the same sentence. 

But that’s way too easy, so I usually skip that line. But last week I saw something that gave me a glimmer of hope for the company. They seem to be learning how to prioritize. 

The Importance of Prioritization

I received my first lesson on prioritization from a speaker at John Deere many years ago. I’ve long forgotten his name, but he spoke about how he took over a new division at the company. In his first day, his team proudly showed him their list of 20 top priorities for the year. He tried to stay silent – it was his first day, after all – but eventually had to say something.  

“No way! How are our teams supposed to remember twenty priorities? When my wife asks me to stop by the grocery store on my home, I need to write them down once she gets past three things. If I can’t remember more than three things in the time it takes me to get to the grocery store, how can we expect our teams to remember twenty every single day?”  

This story stuck with me. Several years later I was at the annual meeting for a global non-profit, where I led the Minnesota branch. The Board Chair beamed about their “top priorities.” How many were on the list? You guessed it: 20.  

That board should have been fired. Sure enough, a year later, there was no significant progress on any of the 20. 

It’s easy to let your “priorities” list become a “to do” list. When that happens, “create a new compensation structure that de-emphasizes rewards for survey gaming, and instead rewards on customer loyalty” has equal weight to “submit expense form.” And since the expense form is easier, guess which one gets done? 

That’s why I was so blown away by Graham Tutton, Vice-President of Customer Insights at Comcast. Most in his shoes would have a laundry list of areas in which to focus. And, sure enough, he shared their challenges. But he also shared their CARES frameworks to determine where to focus: Customer viewpoint, Automation, Reliability, Employee empowerment, and Simplification. 

He then presented Comcast’s five priorities to improve their customer experience. I don’t have his approval to post the five, but they showed an in-depth understanding of Moments of Truth, combined with a focus on sustainability. 

What’s important to you isn’t the specific five they selected (well, unless you’re a Comcast customer, of course). What’s important is that, in a company that serves as the negative example in almost any CX presentation, they had the courage and conviction to narrow the list down to five, and to start there. 

If Comcast can get down to five, certainly you can, too. 

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