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(NPR)   Comcast: We're VERY sorry about that terrible customer service call that went viral and cemented our reputation for poor customer service   (npr.org) divider line 131
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3056 clicks; posted to Business » on 16 Jul 2014 at 11:44 AM (6 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-16 09:59:51 AM
I remember taking that customer's call. My nipples were as hard as diamonds.
 
2014-07-16 10:19:06 AM
The problem here is that the cable TV model is out of date.  People don't want to watch shows 1 episode per week - they want everything on demand like Netflix and other streaming services.  They don't want to bundle channels they never watch - they want to pick and choose.  And online streaming gives them the option.  I think it's very telling that so many people are moving to streaming only - even when the content is limited and they don't know how to get hold of current shows.  The market is moving on - and instead of adapting to it, the cable companies are doubling down and trying to make it harder, if not impossible, for people to leave them.  This has not endeared them to their customers, and certainly not to potential customers.

I'm interested to see what Google fiber does to the market.  Having lived in a city where there was real competition for Comcast, I can tell you that Comcast has good reason to fear it.
 
2014-07-16 10:29:27 AM
And Comcast is in the midst of pushing for federal government approval of its merger with Time Warner Cable, which will make the cable behemoth even bigger. Will a merger improve speed and/or service?

imageshack.com
 
2014-07-16 11:24:06 AM
I FINALLY got some competition to Comcast in my neighborhood a few years back and switched to FIOS.  Comcast used to call me to try and get me to come back.  It was very satisfying to tell them to pound sand.

Now if only I had a third choice, there would be real competition like there is in capitalist countries such as South Korea.
 
2014-07-16 11:33:55 AM
Like being named Worst Company in America year after year hasn't?
 
2014-07-16 11:50:52 AM
I'm sure this is an old Chinese proverb or similar: "The seed wouldn't have taken root had the ground not been fertile."
 
2014-07-16 11:51:25 AM
I heard that and got "dealing with Sprint" flashbacks.

Four months now. Still fighting with them.
 
2014-07-16 11:55:49 AM

poonesfarm: And Comcast is in the midst of pushing for federal government approval of its merger with Time Warner Cable, which will make the cable behemoth even bigger. Will a merger improve speed and/or service?

[imageshack.com image 251x201]


www.reactionface.net
 
2014-07-16 11:58:26 AM
Ahh the classic "We're sorry we got caught" response.
 
2014-07-16 11:59:00 AM
This call was eerily like the AOL call that was making the rounds a few years ago.

I understand that the Retention Department's job is to retain the customer, but this was nuts.
 
2014-07-16 11:59:04 AM
The call didn't cement your reputation for terrible customer service. Your terrible customer service cemented your reputation for terrible customer service.

/The pants don't make you look fat. The fat makes you look fat.
 
2014-07-16 11:59:59 AM

Benevolent Misanthrope: The problem here is that the cable TV model is out of date.  People don't want to watch shows 1 episode per week - they want everything on demand like Netflix and other streaming services.  They don't want to bundle channels they never watch - they want to pick and choose.  And online streaming gives them the option.  I think it's very telling that so many people are moving to streaming only - even when the content is limited and they don't know how to get hold of current shows.  The market is moving on - and instead of adapting to it, the cable companies are doubling down and trying to make it harder, if not impossible, for people to leave them.  This has not endeared them to their customers, and certainly not to potential customers.

I'm interested to see what Google fiber does to the market.  Having lived in a city where there was real competition for Comcast, I can tell you that Comcast has good reason to fear it.


Comcast knows the traditional TV model is dying.  They also know land-line is dying. That's why Comcast is investing more in wireless gateways and broadband.   Comcast added 1.3 million broadband subscribers last year.

I keep reading anecdotes about cancelling cable, but what people seem to be saying is "cancelling cable TV".  The top 17 cable companies have 49 million broadband subscribers and that number is increasing:  http://www.leichtmanresearch.com/press/031714release.html

cable companies shed almost 2 million pay-TV subscribers while adding more than 2 million broadband internet subscribers. As a result, they now have roughly an equal number of broadband (49.3 million) and pay-TV (49.6 million) subscribers. http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/cable-companie s-now-have-as-m any-broadband-as-pay-tv-subscribers-42035/

You're never really going to stick it to Comcast as long as they own the last mile to your house.
 
2014-07-16 12:00:34 PM
No, you're not sorry, because you know you're untouchable because you have a monopoly in nearly every market you operate in.
 
2014-07-16 12:03:11 PM
I'm not sure it would have helped, but why didn't he ask for a supervisor?
 
2014-07-16 12:07:17 PM

Benevolent Misanthrope: Having lived in a city where there was real competition for Comcast, I can tell you that Comcast has good reason to fear it.


I don't own a TV.
Fark them
 
2014-07-16 12:17:15 PM
"The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable what we demand and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action to promote him. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing piss off our customers every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect contempt."

FTFT
 
2014-07-16 12:18:14 PM
They must get their PR advice from CCP Games
 
2014-07-16 12:21:37 PM

Earguy: This call was eerily like the AOL call that was making the rounds a few years ago.

I understand that the Retention Department's job is to retain the customer, but this was nuts.


About a decade ago my ex girlfriend tried cancelling her AOL account but was denied the privilege by the retention rep. When she was asked what his name was, after being denied the request to speak to his supervisor, he told her it was Justin. Last name: Tyme.
 
2014-07-16 12:22:07 PM

Rapmaster2000: They also know land-line is dying.


i will never get rid of my land line.  the cell reception at my house is spotty and after Sandy, when we had no cable or internet, the land line still worked.
 
2014-07-16 12:24:37 PM
I don't blame Comcast.

I blame you people for paying Comcast $100s per month so you can watch the Kardashians.

/ I know people paying Comcast for 3 DVRs who don't know how to record a show or use the Rew/Pause functions
 
2014-07-16 12:26:48 PM

Meh.

First, this is neither unusual or excessive - Comcast reps acting like assholes has been the rule, not the exception, for some time. Second, the only reason this is even newsworthy is that the recording, combined with our need for new content, has made this the flavor of the minute. Give it a week, and most folks will have a vague recollection that "Comcast sucks" or some such, which will then blend into the already-established "Comcast sucks" background noise. Comcast has done business like this for years - this isn't news, but novelty, and novelty wears off pretty damned quickly in the Age of the Internet.

It won't change how Comcast does business. It won't affect the merger, not in any meaningful way. It won't change the fact that Comcast now owns a significant portion of video content business, end to end - from movies to television to cable to Internet - and exploits the federal and state laws already in place to ensure that competition is next to impossible.
 
2014-07-16 12:30:19 PM

Earguy: This call was eerily like the AOL call that was making the rounds a few years ago.

I understand that the Retention Department's job is to retain the customer, but this was nuts.


I like the way Comcast says that isn't the way they train them. Yes it is. Everything Comcast does in their train all the way to how their pay is structured encourages the retention people to behave that way.
 
2014-07-16 12:31:14 PM

Klivian: No, you're not sorry, because you know you're untouchable because you have a monopoly in nearly every market you operate in.


Sure...but why would they want to move into markets with competition? Hmm, smartypants...HMMM!?!?! ;)
 
2014-07-16 12:34:07 PM
For profit company that's beholden to shareholders goes beyond the pale to reduce client churn.  OUTRAGE!

Same company gains 25% in value over the past year.  YAY!

Don't get too noble folks, you're all shareholders...

http://investors.morningstar.com/ownership/shareholders-overview.htm l? t=CMCSA&region=usa&culture=en-US
 
2014-07-16 12:34:34 PM
I have no doubt that up until the moment the call went viral, that particular employee was a model to others in the department and used as an example of how to retain customers by frusterating them into giving up.
 
2014-07-16 12:35:54 PM
Ah, what was that old marketing axiom?  If a customer has a positive experience with a business, he or she will tell one person about it.  If a customer has a never-ending hellish nightmare experience with a customer service rep, he or she will upload a recorded call to Soundcloud so that ten million listeners can tell twenty people about it.
 
2014-07-16 12:36:03 PM
Sounds like the average customer service rep just trying to follow the listed script. I think FormlessOne hit the nail on the head..

www.thenerdpocalypse.com
 
2014-07-16 12:37:58 PM
ongbok:
I like the way Comcast says that isn't the way they train them.

Isn't that a tacit admission that their customer service reps come naturally this way?
 
2014-07-16 12:43:42 PM
Comcast is getting ready to cut off service to one of my company's locations because they said they haven't been paid. We gave them check numbers and emailed them copies of the checks showing they were cashed by Comcast. Comcast's response was "they do not record check numbers, so providing them with the check number is not helping. Please pay or be disconnected."

Yeah, they suck.
 
2014-07-16 12:45:17 PM

LarryDan43: I have no doubt that up until the moment the call went viral, that particular employee was a model to others in the department and used as an example of how to retain customers by frusterating them into giving up.


I have no doubt you are correct but to me it sounded like either a trainer or middle manager trying to "show" others the right way to do it.

I usually read/listen to these customer issues and having worked in customer service most of my life I do my best to try and defend or at least understand the company/Reps side. No this time. I give the first few shots at trying to retain the customer but once you know it's a lost cause you just need to give up. Personally I would have asked for a supervisor part way through this call.
 
2014-07-16 12:50:55 PM
Weird. I've had no trouble with Comcast, but I've been trying to cancel the same account with Century Link since January.
 
2014-07-16 12:51:11 PM

Walker: Comcast is getting ready to cut off service to one of my company's locations because they said they haven't been paid. We gave them check numbers and emailed them copies of the checks showing they were cashed by Comcast. Comcast's response was "they do not record check numbers, so providing them with the check number is not helping. Please pay or be disconnected."

Yeah, they suck.


If your company has copies of canceled checks then that is proof of receipt of funds and Comcast has acknowledged payment.  If Comcast cancels service, then the company should sue for breach of contract.
 
2014-07-16 12:52:47 PM

Walker: Comcast is getting ready to cut off service to one of my company's locations because they said they haven't been paid. We gave them check numbers and emailed them copies of the checks showing they were cashed by Comcast. Comcast's response was "they do not record check numbers, so providing them with the check number is not helping. Please pay or be disconnected."

Yeah, they suck.


I just canceled Time Warner, by dragging the box into their store.  I had her total up what I owe, which was only the partial month $35 or something like that.  A week later I get a letter from a collection agency for $98 or some-such.  Actually, now I'm wondering if the collection agency thing is a scam where an employee just takes a list of everyone who cancelled and sends a fake invoice to people who will just pay it to not hurt their credit score.
 
2014-07-16 12:52:52 PM

Waldo Pepper: LarryDan43: I have no doubt that up until the moment the call went viral, that particular employee was a model to others in the department and used as an example of how to retain customers by frusterating them into giving up.

I have no doubt you are correct but to me it sounded like either a trainer or middle manager trying to "show" others the right way to do it.

I usually read/listen to these customer issues and having worked in customer service most of my life I do my best to try and defend or at least understand the company/Reps side. No this time. I give the first few shots at trying to retain the customer but once you know it's a lost cause you just need to give up. Personally I would have asked for a supervisor part way through this call.


This person got past the point of getting him to agree to stay, he is at the point were he is trying to frustrate the person to the point they give up and hang up. And once they hang up they know for most people it will be a while before they call back again.
 
2014-07-16 12:53:40 PM
When a customer service call is described as "Kafkaesque" and "hellish," you pretty much know how it's going to go down before even taking a listen.

Well, either that, or you are talking to someone who doesn't understand the term 'Kafkaesque' and probably has had a pretty easy life up to making the phone call...
 
2014-07-16 12:56:17 PM
Comcast invented Boob Apron TM

JC
 
2014-07-16 12:57:24 PM

Mikey1969: Weird. I've had no trouble with Comcast, but I've been trying to cancel the same account with Century Link since January.


Along with cancelling Time Warner, I had four other accounts to cancel.  They all had retention speeches.  On two of them I did accept a 3 month hold on the account instead of cancelling outright.  I'm sure I'll get busy and forget to cancel them until I've paid another two months of fees.
 
2014-07-16 12:59:44 PM

Stone Meadow: Klivian: No, you're not sorry, because you know you're untouchable because you have a monopoly in nearly every market you operate in.

Sure...but why would they want to move into markets with competition? Hmm, smartypants...HMMM!?!?! ;)


Who needs competition when you have QUALITY?!?!
86bb71d19d3bcb79effc-d9e6924a0395cb1b5b9f03b7640d26eb.r91.cf1.rackcdn.com
 
2014-07-16 12:59:50 PM
What makes it even more frustrating for a customer is when the rep is very obviously reading from a script and not acknowledging what you are saying. When I worked in customer service, I was lucky enough to have some actual power to resolve issues and use my own discretion.
 
2014-07-16 01:05:08 PM

TheGogmagog: Mikey1969: Weird. I've had no trouble with Comcast, but I've been trying to cancel the same account with Century Link since January.

Along with cancelling Time Warner, I had four other accounts to cancel.  They all had retention speeches.  On two of them I did accept a 3 month hold on the account instead of cancelling outright.  I'm sure I'll get busy and forget to cancel them until I've paid another two months of fees.


Century Link was easy enough to quit, they accepted my list of answers. It's getting them to actually cancel the account, unlock my DirecTv account, turn it back over to DirecTv, quit billing me, and stop shutting off my farking TV that was the nightmare. They tried to talk me out of it a little bit, but I was off the phone in 5-10 minutes, including instructions on how/where to send my modem in.

Afterwards, nobody could find my account to fix the farking issues.
 
2014-07-16 01:05:11 PM

Gary-L: Walker: Comcast is getting ready to cut off service to one of my company's locations because they said they haven't been paid. We gave them check numbers and emailed them copies of the checks showing they were cashed by Comcast. Comcast's response was "they do not record check numbers, so providing them with the check number is not helping. Please pay or be disconnected."

Yeah, they suck.

If your company has copies of canceled checks then that is proof of receipt of funds and Comcast has acknowledged payment.  If Comcast cancels service, then the company should sue for breach of contract.


I agree. Hope we sue them.
 
2014-07-16 01:18:06 PM
Here to mention that Comcast wasn't sorry for the call, but sorry to get caught.
 
2014-07-16 01:21:11 PM
They were almost this bad when I went to U-Verse. They kept trying to match prices and I kept telling them that it didn't matter, I said that they could give me the service for free and I would still cancel the service. I didn't keep my my cool like this guy did at about the 10 minute mark of this redundant conversation, though.
 
2014-07-16 01:21:31 PM
They're not sorry about the rep's behavior, they're sorry he was recorded.
 
2014-07-16 01:21:57 PM
Comcast is just trying to recapture the title of worst company in the country. Did they lose last year?
 
2014-07-16 01:22:33 PM
That guy was a jerk.

Why doesn't he want the bestest fastest TV and Internet Service in the known universe?
It's a simple question and I think that the CSR was entitled to get an answer.
 
2014-07-16 01:24:25 PM
"It's totally not our fault that guy is an asshat. He was employed, trained, supervised, paid, and retained by overzealous asshats who, though they have the company logo on their shirt and the company's tax ID number listed on their W-2, do not represent Comcast"
 
2014-07-16 01:26:49 PM
I have to give Time Warner some credit. When my Mom passed a few months back I called and said I wanted to cancel the phone and just keep the internet. The rep did her thing and tried to work me a decent deal on keeping both. I didn't mind that is her job and I explained I had zero use for the phone, she asked about TV. I said No i get a lot of stations free with antenna. She asked if I mind if she checked on something and she comes back and offers for me standard cable tv with my same speed internet for the same price as I would pay just for the internet. I took her up on the offer and the bill has not changed from what I would pay for just internet.  Plus I know get c-span. 

it was rare and maybe because I was cancelling the phone due to my Mom dying the Rep felt for my situation.  But it was nice at least once to deal with a quality rep.
 
2014-07-16 01:27:37 PM
That rep's voice was so grating and irritating it made it hard to watch.  However, hearing that frustrated, clueless, tantrum tone in his voice when he kept asking "but, but, but why are you leaving?!?" made it worth it!

Wonder what he is like when he gets dumped...
"But, baby, why do you wanna break up?  We've been dating for 9 years, surely I must be good!"
"I just wanna date someone else..."
"But why?!"
"I just do..."
"Well, unless you give me a reason, we're still dating!"
 
2014-07-16 01:28:21 PM

stonicus: That rep's voice was so grating and irritating it made it hard to watch

LISTEN TO.  However, hearing that frustrated, clueless, tantrum tone in his voice when he kept asking "but, but, but why are you leaving?!?" made it worth it!

FTFM
 
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