Well I heard on NPR that the Anheuser-Busch board accepted the latest offer from InBev. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, InBev “sweetened the offer” from $65 to $70 a share on the latest volley for the buyout. They’ve been pretty stagnant on the stock front for a couple of years now. InBev says it will keep the US breweries open and keep the US main office in St. Louis. Hey, we always knew they were a bunch of sellouts. This just confirms it. Not that the change is necessarily a bad thing…
UPDATE: Looks like the InBev link is busted. You’ll probably have to try the UK site. What a wonderful start to the merger…
So I got my call from “the local leadership” this afternoon. His name was Sid and we had a nice long talk about things. Apparently Melissa and Sid went over all of my emails and my previous Comcast blurb (Guido part 1) before he got in contact with me. They get points for being thorough. The wonderful thing about that is that he already knew what my issues were and had time to review my service and some options so we didn’t waste all that tedious time rehashing everything I’ve already talked about.
I didn’t know this right up front, of course. So I asked him to summarize what he knew about the situation already. He was surprisingly accurate. I mean accurate to the point that I was wondering if maybe I should check all of my systems for signs of tampering or monitoring. Okay, not really but I was highly impressed. He even took the initiative to take the stations I listed and compared them to the current packaging plans. Guess what…with all of the changes they’ve made in my area, I did not know that the stations I watched were all available in a lower priced plan now.
Of course that isn’t anything to be shocked over. They have eleventy billion customers and there’s no way they could make sure everyone single one of them was aware of how every plan shift affects their needs. I’m not really upset about that; I’m happy that he spotted it. So we talked about the ways we could change what I have to lower my bill but still let me have all the service I want. I didn’t get all my HD and DVR goodness for $30 a month, but we did manage to cut my overall bill for cable and internet by about $50. That’s nothing to sneeze at. So I agreed to keep my Comcast cable television service just a bit longer to see how that works out.
One thing I did enjoy was that he seemed very interested in my idea of a-la-carte packaging. We actually developed it a bit further into an idea that would have fewer hurdles to overcome than a 100% a-la-carte service. Try this idea: Have a small basic package (local channels and whatnot) with add-on options of semi-premium channels. This isn’t quite like the HBO or Cinemax add-on, though I suppose it could be done that way. But the idea is you get the basic package for say $10 a month. Then you add Sci-Fi for $1.45 a month and maybe even a group like HGTV, DIY, and Food Network for $2.30 a month. This way you don’t pay for the unholy legion of channels you never use and have no interest in, your bill is smaller, and the networks you dislike aren’t making money off your service. Win-Win-Win…oh…and Win because such a move would position Comcast at the forefront of the next iteration of cable service. They would be offering the iPod of cable television.
(Begin idea to rant transition…but before I do…I just want to say thanks again to Sid and Melissa ^_^ )
Of course if they aren’t careful, FIOS or U-verse may snatch up the idea and steal what could be a revolutionary move in the old industry. Time moves on and things have to evolve. Digital instead of analog isn’t really the leap forward I mean, either. That’s just a style of delivery. The entire service is due for an overhaul because the times have been changed enough by the internet and daring start-ups…so much so that people now expect to have granular choices. Look at iTunes. I no longer have to buy an entire crap CD for one song that is good. I can just get that song and leave the crap out of my library. I can get one disc of a TV series from Netflix if there is only one or two episodes I want to see. I don’t have to go out and buy the entire thing.
Everyone else seems to get it Mr. Cable Industry. When are you?
I’ve used Vonage as my home phone service for a couple of years now. They’ve been great. I only had one issue and that was back in February 2006 when I first switched and they were able to take care of the problem in a matter of moments. So the service has been wonderful. However, I use my cell phone exclusively now. As a matter of fact, the cordless phone I have connected to my Vonage router has been dead for about 4 or 5 months now. I just don’t use it any more. So why pay the $30 a month? Continue reading “Why Customer Service isn’t.”