Comcast Moves Its Customer Experience Team. Does It Matter?

Comcast recently moved its Customer Service and Customer Experience teams into the company’s Technology and Products division. Charlie Herrin will remain as the chief customer experience officer and Tom Karinshak will remain as the chief customer service officer, but they will now both report into Tony Werner, president of Comcast’s Technology and Products Group.

Werner was quoted as saying

We are making these changes consistent with the guiding principles that have served us well – to move faster, minimize hand offs, reduce overlap and provide clear authority and accountability

My Take: Let me start off by saying that Comcast has little to lose with any reorganization of its customer experience efforts. The 2017 Temkin Experience Ratings show that Comcast continues to be one of the worst companies in the U.S. when it comes to customer experience.

But it’s fair to ask, will this move help or hurt Comcast’s customer experience in the future?

I am often asked about the impact that organizational structure has on customer experience. People want to know what the perfect reporting structure is for a customer experience team. Should it report into marketing? Into customer service? Directly into the executive team?

Actually, I don’t think it matters very much. I’ve seen companies drive successful change with the same organizational structure that led to failures in other companies. Rather than judging a customer experience effort based on how it lines up on a Powerpoint slide, I like to ask questions associated with these four Ps:

  • People: Does the CX leader (in this case Herrin) and other executives leading the effort have the CX knowledge and skills, along with the  influence across the company, to be successful change agents?
  • Power: Does the organizational alignment (both formal reporting and informal access to the senior executive team) provide the change agents with the ability to overcome thorny obstacles that they are bound to run up against?
  • Passion: Does the senior executive sponsor (in this case Werner) have a real understanding of customer experience and a willingness to make the difficult trade-offs that will be required to create and sustain meaningful CX improvements?
  • Perception. Does the move signal to the rest of the organization that customer experience is more important to the senior executive team?

If the answer to all four of these is “yes,” then it’s a good organizational structure for the CX team. If any of the answers are “no,” then it’s not going to be successful.

I can’t answer these questions for Comcast, but we will be measuring its customer experience again next year. So we’ll see what happens.

The bottom line: When it comes to transformation, people trump structure.

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

3 thoughts on “Comcast Moves Its Customer Experience Team. Does It Matter?”

  1. Bruce, what I think really matters is intent and commitment. As a former employee in th CX org at Comcast, I can tell you that the mindset has not really changed and from what I can tell, the intent and commitment remains uncommitted to change. Look at their focus, it is spent on building technology to solve people problems. People rarely have issues with self service or technology that drives CX. But, how often are the core issues directly related to the interactions with people? Comcast has done very little to change that.

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