During the first week of my PR internship at Comcast, I found myself at the Lynnwood call center with customer service representative Michelle Hood. The call center, which is referred to as the Center of Excellence, is located on the bottom floor of the Lynnwood building but looks completely different than the office space where my cubicle is. Under the high ceilings and dim lights, hundreds of Comcast employees handle customer calls from all over the west. It was almost surreal to hear so many people on the phone at once.
Michelle’s cubicle is near the back of the room, as I walked to meet her I caught a glimpse of someone playing a Star Wars computer game on their break. Michelle was already on the phone with a man when I sat down with her. In a raspy voice the customer joked about “having a good day until he woke up,” Michelle identified the problem he was having with his internet connection and was able to fix it for him immediately. Before Michelle could remove her headset, another woman called and couldn’t remember her account password so Michelle reset it for her and helped her pay her bill online.
Michelle has worked for Comcast for 11 years. She’s currently working four ten-hour days but hopes to move toward working five eight-hour days instead so she can carpool to work with her husband who works nearby.
Sitting with Michelle I had flashbacks of last summer when I worked in a call center on behalf of a political campaign. Being on the phone for eight to ten hours a day is definitely not an easy task, but Michelle had an incredible amount of patience and spoke calmly when people called her upset with their services.
I’m a senior journalism major at Seattle University and came to Comcast after interning with KOMO4 News. I had no experience with public relations but was always interested in working for a large corporation.
Prior to applying for the PR internship with Comcast, I had never thought about how Comcast Cable functioned as a corporation. In my mind everyone was a cable guy. I never considered the public relations side of Comcast, and definitely not what the atmosphere of such a large call center would be like.
The cubicles in the call center are set up in such a way that allows employees to easily communicate with each other on breaks; there is without a doubt a sense of community and teamwork. On Michelle’s desk she had two certificates of recognition from Comcast next to a picture of her and her husband on motorcycles and a photo of a large German Shepard. In the hour I sat with Michelle I recognized the Denver area codes of “303” and “720” a few times, being originally from Denver. I found myself wondering what part of the state these callers were from. It was reassuring to think that if any of my friends or family members had trouble with their Comcast services, they might call Michelle for help.
Holly Martinez is from Colorado and is a senior at Seattle University, where she is studying communications, business and political science. She is the first in her family to go to college and has a pink scope on her hunting rifle. (We didn’t make this last part up.) Look for her reports throughout the summer and fall about the life and observations of a communications intern at Comcast in Washington.