Comcast says rep from hell was just doing “what we trained him to do”


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Its going to be interesting to see how things change over the next few months, if at all. I hope there are more people out there willing to call companies out for shitty behaviour like this


They just keep digging the hole. The thing that sucks is that usually you have no place else to go for broadband. Where I live, we have Comcast or AT&T. So it’s a matter of which pile of sh*t smells the least when it’s time to get broadband here.

Can’t wait for Google Fiber to arrive.


Any damage control is going to run up against the imperatives that created the mess in the first place: customer lock-in. So their logical response is to double-down on achieving monopoly penetration without public monopoly regulation.


Well this is refreshingly honest, and that COO is so fired.


I wonder if it isn’t a bit of whitewashing, but…positive, anyway.

The fundamental misaligned incentive here is to have the employee being paid for “saving” a customer (by having them continue to sign up with Comcast). That’s a bottom-line sales incentive, but it’s inappropriate for retention, where the focus should be on understanding the customer’s actual needs. To incent THAT, the retention specialists should be paid for filling out detailed, honest post-mortems (which will, in and of themselves, capture areas where customers could be “saved” – customers that Comcast can truly still serve should be evident here). Which means that they don’t get paid like sales, with commissions for retaining customers, they get paid like auditors, with incentives for identifying and fixing problems (which means paying them well up front and not relying on a commission cop-out).

Which means that it’s ultimately an issue with idiot middle management that imagines some world where the job of people receiving cancellations is to NOT cancel service, who can’t imagine a world in which someone would legitimately not want Comcast.

But good luck firing THAT guy.


The memo might seem refreshingly honest but it is all hot air until they reform how the retention specialists are paid. As long as their job depends on metrics where if you don’t get above certain number of retentions you get nothing in terms of incentive pay then retention specialists are going to continue this kind of behavior. At the very least incentives need to be gradual rather than based on all or nothing scores.


Unless Comcast has the dumbest PR flacks on the planet(and I suspect they don’t, because good PR flacks are good business when you run a monopoly constrained more by occasional vague twitches of regulation rather than competition), there is absolutely no way that they would have expected a memo circulated to employees not to leak.

I’d be very surprised indeed if the memo were written without consideration for its likely role as ‘some honest honesty so authentic it had to be leaked!’ that will amount to as little as possible in implementation. If somebody gets fired for it it’ll be because they determined that a high level fall guy was needed in addition to the phone guy, not because the memo was anything but carefully drafted for eventual public consumption.


You nailed it, I agree 100%. But why didn’t they just release it to the press? If they want to appear honest, then why try doing it with the added tricksies? Laughable.

Unfortunately the share holders are always #1 and everyone else can flip off. Nothing will change in the greater scheme of things.

I hold it as self-evident that good businesses don’t need “retention specialists”. If your bottom line depends on the margin of customers that want to leave but are coerced into staying, you’re probably doing a pretty shitty job overall.


I’d be grumpy too, if I had to give tech support using a ring flash instead of a monitor.

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Some people see these things for what they are. Many people cannot. People also love to feel like they have some special, secret knowledge. A “leak” is so much more tempting to click on than a press release.

I’ll just stick to the “I’m moving out of the country” line if ever presented with this sort of BS.

You know this is going to change over the next few months?

It will be utterly forgotten and replaced with the next “outrage”, while will in turn be forgotten and replaced, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

It’s just too hard to do something about stuff like this, so it just stays undone.

“the act of saving a customer must always be handled with the utmost respect”

We’re not going to change our policies, which treat customers disrespectfully, but we’ll ask our CSRs to do it in a respect way, in other words.

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Particularly when you put it that way :smiley:

I certainly saw nothing in the memo to be surprised or indignant about. The COO was pretty much right on target with everything he said. Specifically the line about the customer rep doing “what we trained him to do”, but it seems that every site reporting on this is bent on ignoring what immediately follows, where the COO points out that the customer was not dealt with in a respectful manner.

Respect is rather the issue with the original call isn’t it? No rational person should expect a cancelling customer to not be questioned about why they are cancelling. As the rep tried to point out, if people are cancelling because they are unhappy with the service, how is the company supposed to improve conditions if they aren’t told where the specific problems lay? The customer rep failed in his job because he kept pushing the customer long after he should have given up, and let his emotions take control of his attitude.

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[quote=“PurpleStater, post:17, topic:37636”]
No rational person should expect a cancelling customer to not be questioned about why they are cancelling.[/quote]
“May I ask why you’d like to cancel?”
End of conversation, so far as I’m concerned. If I ring to cancel, I have no interest in even speaking to a ‘retention department’.

Why would the ex-customer care? I’m not remotely interested in helping a company whose service I just want to cancel.

[quote=“Ministry, post:18, topic:37636”]
“May I ask why you’d like to cancel?”
End of conversation, so far as I’m concerned. If I ring to cancel, I have no interest in even speaking to a ‘retention department’. [/quote]

Any responsible business is going to want to find out why customers are leaving, and most customers are quite willing to take an opportunity to vent if they are unhappy. I think that the rep. adding a quick explanation of why they would like to know, prior to ending the conversation, is still quite reasonable, just don’t push it any further.

For just as many reasons as they might not care. Not everyone is completely apathetic to the plight of the rest of the customer base. Perhaps the soon-to-be-ex customer is a rather good-natured chap and is simply moving to another town. Perhaps the customer actually likes their current provider but cannot receive a service that their competition offers, so the customer just has to change providers until that service becomes available.

Maybe there’s a setting somewhere on your computer that’s giving you a less than satisfactory service. It could be that you go to a different ISP and end up in the same situation.

Basically, there is a legitimate place for retention teams in businesses like comcast, but this example shows how far above and beyond that purpose they are going to the point of ridicule.