Comcast has experimented with free mobile apps offering TV listings and previews of movies available on-demand. The company also has been trying hard to spruce up its customer service—even going as far as to offer a seven-point “Comcast Customer Guarantee.” So perhaps it’s not surprising that the company melded its mobile app experience with its customer service initiatives, announcing COMCAST4U, a new service that lets customers send a text message to obtain account balances, request a call back for customer service or obtain TV listings and on-demand content highlights.

The new offering also will send text messages to participating customers when payments are received or to remind them of scheduled service calls. To use the service, customers register through a web portal, providing their mobile phone number and their Comcast account number. COMCAST4U is now available at no additional charge in the Philadelphia area, New Jersey and northern Delaware, with more locations rolling out in the future.

“We developed COMCAST4U using feedback we heard from our customers, who want more control of their own accounts and service requests, and who have grown to rely on the ease, convenience and immediacy of sending and receiving text messages to get information, entertainment and alerts,” said Bill Connors, president of Comcast’s East Division. “Then we added innovative features and functionality to take it a step further, so our customers can now communicate with us wherever, whenever and however they prefer.”

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The cable industry has been trying to improve its lackluster customer satisfaction ratings, with some success. In a recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index, Comcast and other large cable operators showed gains over a previous survey, although they lagged behind video offerings from AT&T and Verizon.

But whether COMCAST 4U will give Comcast’s customer satisfaction ratings a boost is doubtful. One has to question how many customers will remember that NOAPPT is the text message to cancel a scheduled service call—and if they have to look the code up on a web site, wouldn’t it be easier just to cancel the service call from the web site? It also seems unlikely that many customers will appreciate a couple of other COMCAST4U capabilities—including getting a text message to advise them that their bill is past due or to alert them of a potential service interruption.

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