National companies bombard reporters daily with pitches about new products or how they’re making life easier for consumers. I delete a lot of them.
But two pitches this week actually got my attention.
I have complained for years, mostly to myself in the car, about how automated teller machines don’t dispense anything less than $20 bills. There have been occasions when I needed smaller bills to pay exact change and ended up overpaying for a service or over-tipping because I could only get $20 bills.
But that could soon change. Bank of America, as I report in Thursday’s Biz Buzz, is testing a new automated teller machine at 1818 FM 646 in Dickinson that dispenses $1, $5, and $10 bills and even exact change. A teller, via video, will even be available for assistance after hours.
Although I’m not a Bank of America customer, I do appreciate the concept and also figure the rest of the industry will follow suit if they aren't working on it already.
I’m curious, does anyone else think this is a great idea?
The second pitch was from cable and Internet provider Comcast about its efforts to improve customer service. I know, I know. Comcast has taken some hits, including in this blog, for customer service issues.
Not long ago, Comcast narrowed its service windows to two hours or less, but that still left consumers wondering whether service technicians would show up at, say, 10 a.m. or noon.
Waiting is annoying enough, but not really knowing for how long is more annoying. I sympathize with technicians, who run late because they’re working at someone else’s house. But who wants to miss a huge chunk of work or rearrange a busy schedule to wait for the cable guy?
If I knew when the technician was arriving, I could work or run errands or do something else productive until then.
Earlier this month, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts demonstrated a new feature in San Francisco that enables subscribers to track technicians’ arrival in real time.
A Comcast subscriber who has a scheduled appointment will be alerted through an app when a technician is about 30 minutes from arriving. If the technician is running late, subscribers will be alerted about that, too.
The new feature, which will be available without charge through Comcast’s MyAccount app, began trials outside Boston last week and soon will hit the Houston market, which includes Galveston County.
Would you find the app useful? What other consumer conveniences would you like to see?