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Old 16 July 2014, 07:04 PM
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Bang Head Comcast agent's 'belligerent' tone prompts apology

Quote:
Comcast never wants a customer to go -- but says one of its representatives went too far trying to convince one account-holder to stay.
http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/15/medi...ice/index.html

The recording:
https://soundcloud.com/ryan-block-10/comcastic-service
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  #2  
Old 16 July 2014, 07:42 PM
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While it's possible that this customer service guy went over the top all on his own, I've had similar interactions with customer service folks for other digital cable providers that make me the hard sell is more an indicator of corporate policy. They're like dogs fighting over a bone.
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  #3  
Old 16 July 2014, 08:04 PM
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I remember AOL was supposedly notorious for not easily allowing customers to cancel their service, but I had no problem doing it. Similarly, when I canceled cable (Comcast), the CSR didn't even try to convince me to stay. He was just like, "Okay," and it took about 30 seconds.
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Old 16 July 2014, 08:09 PM
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I love when he says that the phone call he is experiencing is representative of why he is canceling. It sounds an awful lot like my disastrous experiences with Comcast.
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  #5  
Old 16 July 2014, 08:29 PM
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While the email team I was a part of wasn't ultimately responsible for such matters, we did hear a lot about how important it was to make sure we kept our customers and how hard we were supposed to work to keep them when I was still working for the cellular industry. Personally, I hate people trying to hard sell me so I just couldn't bring myself to do it to other people. But I really can't say I'm too surprised by this guy's experience.
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Old 16 July 2014, 08:31 PM
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As much as I despise being a Comcast customer, I think I'd hate working for them even more.
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  #7  
Old 16 July 2014, 08:39 PM
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A followup article.
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  #8  
Old 16 July 2014, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
In the meantime, if you’re considering canceling your Comcast service, here’s a simple tip: Tell them you’re moving out of the country. As txmadison wrote in his post, “it's called an unavoidable disconnect and it's the least impactful to the rep's numbers and there's nothing he can do about it. If you talk about price, competitors, lack of choices, service problems, etc, a good retention rep will do everything they can to try to save you.”
That is excellent advice there. As soon as you say you're moving out of the country, you remove all the pressure to keep you from the agent you're communicating with.
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  #9  
Old 17 July 2014, 02:04 AM
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Yeah, unavoidable disconnect is the key. I told them I was moving in with someone who already had Comcast. It happened to be true, but the point is that I got no flak for cancelling with that excuse.
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  #10  
Old 17 July 2014, 02:17 AM
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I don't think we should have to lie to just get service. "I want to cancel service, final decision, period," should be enough.

This is similar to a thread I was reading (not here, I think it was on the RationalWiki FB page) about women in bars having to make up excuses to get men to leave them alone. "I have a boyfriend" was a popular one, but the gist of the discussion was that men should take "no" for an answer.

It's the same thing here. While it doesn't technically hurt you to lie, it's the principle of the thing. "Go away, I don't want your service anymore" should be sufficient.

And as far as how it affects the service rep's numbers, I'm sorry, but that's simply not my problem. Sometimes people are going to call and ask to be disconnected, and that's really just too bad. I'm not going to make things up just to keep a complete stranger from having a bad numbers day.
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Old 17 July 2014, 02:18 AM
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I agree. To play their game only encourages it.
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Old 17 July 2014, 02:28 AM
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Quote:
Block responded on Twitter: "I hope the quick action you take is a thorough evaluation of your culture and policies, and not the termination of the rep."
I'm glad he said this, and I strongly agree. It's not just the tactic of trying to keep customers who are leaving, it's also the whole scheme of introductory pricing that then shoots up after a few months, and that some people get better deals by threatening to leave. It sets up a mess of a scenario where some of the people saying they want to cancel don't really mean it, and can be persuaded to stay if you offer them a better price because that's why they called in the first place.
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  #13  
Old 17 July 2014, 02:41 AM
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It's not about the corporate game, it's the equivalent of being nice to the waiter. Retention agents are under huge pressure to get people to stay with the company and any time that they fail to succeed with that it reflects badly on them. But if you tell them that you're moving out of the country, true or not, suddenly they have no incentive keep you and it isn't counted against their performance review. Customer Service and Retention agents are cogs in a big, nasty wheel that sets brutal goals for them and punishes them for failing to meant those goals.
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  #14  
Old 17 July 2014, 02:50 AM
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My cable/phone/internet provider, cell phone provider, and my satellite radio provider both tried very hard to retain my business when I was cancelling - almost as belligerently as this guy. I was quite open in telling them why - with the cell phone, I was moving out of the country. With the satellite radio, I had sold the receiver. They still stuck to their spiel and tried to charge me an additional non-standard fee to cancel the service. They instantly backed down when I told them I'd call AMEX and decline to pay the fee for a service I did not request.
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Old 17 July 2014, 03:14 AM
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I don't think anything on the recording suggested impoliteness on the part of the man wanting to cancel his service. And I disagree that lying to the waiter is being nice to him. When you lie to the waiter, you're also telling Comcast what it wants to hear, rather than the truth: that this big nasty machine is exactly why you are leaving.
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  #16  
Old 17 July 2014, 03:24 AM
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I had to call my cable company a few months ago to discontinue internet. I was disconnecting because it didn't work reliably, and I'd had the tech out 3 times in the two months I had the service. The even ran new wiring. He told me he thought maybe there was a problem with the main connection to my street because 3 other customers nearby were having problems, but he didn't know when it would be addressed. 2 minutes after he left, it went out again.

The rep I spoke to on the phone continued to try to convince me to stay on, even though I was very clear about the issues, and that I'd be happy to resubscribe once they figured out and fixed what the issue was. She kept telling me that they would hate to lose me as a customer. Well...see, I pay, you deliver. I'm clearly telling you that this is not occurring, but when it does I will pay. What's so hard about that?
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  #17  
Old 17 July 2014, 04:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Avril View Post
I don't think anything on the recording suggested impoliteness on the part of the man wanting to cancel his service. And I disagree that lying to the waiter is being nice to him. When you lie to the waiter, you're also telling Comcast what it wants to hear, rather than the truth: that this big nasty machine is exactly why you are leaving.
The problem is, even though it's not his fault and he can't do anything about it, it's still going to reflect on his next performance evaluation if he can't get you to stay. Once you've left, you can send Comcast a letter stating exactly why you actually left without hurting the agent. Really, it's an awful, high stress job so a white lie from a customer that bails them out of some of that stress is really a relief.
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Old 17 July 2014, 06:22 AM
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But a customer telling the truth isn't the thing that hurts the service rep. Comcast's system is what hurts them. It's a bit like thinking that waitstaff wages are too low, and so encouraging people to tip in cash so that the wait staff can underreport their tips. And then telling people who don't want to do that that they are hurting servers. No. You can't shift responsibility for Comcast's seriously NFBSKed up system onto the customers.

Offer lying as an option for people who want to avoid the hassle, I guess, but positing that it's basically your moral duty to lie? That's ridiculous. Comcast is hurting its customers and its employees.
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  #19  
Old 17 July 2014, 07:09 AM
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Okay, if you're fine that the agent you talk to is risking getting their pay dinged for the week over it. And will therefore try to give you the hard sell in order to keep you.
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  #20  
Old 17 July 2014, 07:23 AM
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You could combine the benefits of both systems by offering the Comcast staff off-the-record "tips" to disconnect you without arguing... After all, in other areas you apparently shouldn't expect good service without tipping, so why is this different?

And like tipping, I expect (as crocoduck_hunter says) there will be all sorts of selfish people who don't want to go along with that.
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