Good customer service, or invading privacy?

The strangest series of events happened this afternoon. I received an unsolicited call on my cell phone from someone in Comcast sales late in the afternoon, mentioning that they had received an email query regarding comparisons of services.  I told them I made no such email and was confused as to why I would get a call.  I’ve done some web comparisons but at no time did I fill out any kind of contact form for any of the cable/satellite providers.

I did some investigating and hypothesized that I was called regarding my blog entry earlier in the day,  about my searching for TV/Internet options for the new house.

Why I believe this:

  1. Like many self-indulgent bloggers, I keep stats of who accesses my Ramblings.  Looking at the logs, I found the following subsequent entries (all are from today, times are listed in Eastern):

    As you can see someone in Comcast New York found my entry by doing a Google Blog search for “Comcast”.  I can tell you that the host name did not have one of the customer c-your-ip-address entries, which leads me to believe this is from an office. 

  2. The same IP address visits the site again 50 minutes later, this time with no referring link (which means they clicked on a link from either an email, bookmark, IM or external source). 
  3. 45 minutes later someone from TCI visits that same entry with no referencing link – and for those who remember their Colorado cable history TCI was purchased by AT&T in 1999, which was then sold to Comcast in 2001.
  4. Subsequently I get a call 10 minutes later on my cell phone – which isn’t listed anywhere – from the Comcast Sales Rep
  5. My last name is listed on my blog, along with my abbreviated first name – Jeromey “Romey”
  6. While my cell phone is unlisted, it is the billing phone number for my Comcast account.

There are other possibilities: One may be that I inadvertently provided my contact information in some kind of query form – which because I have no knowledge it means I have bigger problems.  The other option is that they got my name from the mortgage company – but Bethany’s name is on the mortgage app too, she has an account and she wasn’t called.

I think it’s a plausible assertion that someone at Comcast read my blog, connected the dots with my account, looked up my number and called me.  Now the question posed: is this good customer service or is this inappropriate usage of my billing information?

On one hand it’s really good customer service.  Do a Google Blog search for “Comcast” and you’ll find that there are literally hundreds of blog posts each day.  For them to proactively patrol the blogs for questioning or unhappy customers, then contact them to see if they can resolve their situation is a smart approach to put out a brushfire before it burns down the field.

On the other hand, it’s downright creepy.  While I sometimes forget that the whole point of blogging is to share your thoughts with the Internet community, I still can’t help but be shocked when such a direct response is taken to something I wrote.  Aside from questioning their alleged throttling activities and calling their DVR “crappy” I didn’t make inflammatory comments in my blog, and yet it bothered someone enough to call me up and make a sales call.  I provided my contact information to Comcast to discuss billing and service issues, and while I don’t think they violated their privacy policy, one may question the appropriateness of looking up that information based on something I wrote and empower a salesperson to make an unsolicited sales call. 

I’m not really sure where I stand, but I do have to be honest and say I was unnerved by the cold-call.  It’s not that I don’t want a response from people reading my blog, it’s just that one should use the same medium – the comments system – to respond. (Note to self: put email address back on template).  To reference the information I provided to a company for a different purpose probably isn’t appropriate.

The Comcast rep is supposed to call me back, but I’m not really sure what they can say that will persuade me. Unless the promotional price won’t expire (which is unheard of), they finally port the Tivo interface to their DVR’s (something they announced 15 months ago) and stop forcing me to pay $5 just to get the NFL Network, I’m going to Satellite for my TV.