Comcast: Employee Engagement, Backwards

The "Golden Poo" Award Given to Comcast in 2010
Longtime consumer rights advocate Consumerist.com runs an annual competition to determine the Worst Company in America . The “winner” of the competition receives a golden poo trophy and all the benefits that come with such a prestigious title.

Having felt the pain of winning the award in 2010, Comcast was very reluctant to be singled out again. Did the company work hard to improve communication with customers or make their fees easier to understand? Maybe, but we’ll never know: they’re going to get a lot more press for trying to cheat the system by encouraging their employees to vote for the other guy in this year’s head to head competition. In addition to screenshots of the corporate intranet, the following internal email was quickly forwarded to the Consumerist tipline, showcasing that Comcast employees are more than happy to engage with customers – just not the way the company expected:

Comcasters,
We need your help to show that Comcast is a great company.

The Consumerist website is currently hosting its poll of the “Worst Companies in America.” Comcast is part of the first round of this poll, which started today and ends at 9 a.m. (ET) this Friday. Unfortunately, this same poll named us as their worst last year. If you feel that Comcast does not deserve this label, we hope that you will participate and vote for the company that is paired against Comcast.

To vote, just click on the following link and place your vote: http://consumerist.com/2011/03/worst-company-in-america-round-one-comcast-vs-charter.html.

Of course, your participation is voluntary. Naturally, we don’t want to vote for any company to receive this label; unfortunately that is how the Consumerist poll is structured.

You can only vote one time from a single IP address, so we hope that you will consider voting today/tonight and at home from your cell phone, iPad, personal computer or other web-enabled devices with a unique IP address. You can use company devices as well as your personal devices. (If you are having trouble voting, please send an email to us here and someone will contact you to assist you.)

We have all worked very hard to make Comcast the terrific company that it is today and to create a customer experience that we are all proud of. We hope you will consider defending our company name by participating in this poll. Thanks in advance for your assistance and for the great work you do every day.

This is very obviously about to blow up in their faces as Consumerist immediately published the letter. Comcast’s audacity and shortsightedness mean that they’re currently leading Charter Communications by 82-18. I imagine that margin will continue to widen as the story spreads.

There’s a clear CSR lesson here. Do good and people will like you. Take a shortcut and you’ll probably end up a lot worse off in the court of public opinion.

Jen Boynton

Jen is editor in chief of TriplePundit. She has an MBA in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School and lives in Oakland with her husband and normally happy baby. 
Hit her up at on twitter @jenboynton to discuss diapering strategies or sustainability reporting methodology.