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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer 401

RevWaldo writes: The Verge and other sources report on how AOL's Ryan Block ultimately succeeded in cancelling his Comcast account over the phone, but not before the customer service representative pressed him for eight solid minutes (audio) to explain his reasoning for leaving "the number one provider of TV and internet service in the country" in a manner that would cause a character in Glengarry Glen Ross to blush. Comcast has now issued an apology.
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Comcast Customer Service Rep Just Won't Take No For an Answer

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:28PM (#47459963)

    That's probably what they meant...

  • by briancox2 ( 2417470 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:38PM (#47460079) Homepage Journal
    Comcast simply will not accept being second place in the competition for the worst company in existence.
  • don't understand why this is not more widely understood.
  • by internerdj ( 1319281 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @03:39PM (#47460097)
    Someone astutely put it somewhere else that a cancelation is probably a "failed customer problem resolution" and negatively impacts a performance review or bonus consideration.
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:00PM (#47460307) Homepage

    We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.

    If you read this carefully, they aren't sorry for the content, merely the delivery.

  • by hypergreatthing ( 254983 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:12PM (#47460469)

    I had a 150Mbit connection and i found uses for it all. Having that much extra headroom is very useful.
    Just because you can't find a way or can even fathom why someone would want that speed doesn't mean there aren't good uses for it.
    I really don't understand the need to say no one needs more than 640k of memory. It plainly makes you look dull.

  • by thevirtualcat ( 1071504 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:14PM (#47460505)

    Me: "Hi, I need to cancel my service."
    Rep: "Oh? [insert marketing speak that boils down to 'Why do you want to cancel our awesome service?']"
    Me: "I'm moving out of your service area and I'm already set up in my new place."
    Rep: "Oh. Okay then."

    Doesn't matter if it's true or not. There's not really much they can say to that. They might fish for details about where you've moved to. Just don't be stupid enough to bite.

  • by bluefoxlucid ( 723572 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:26PM (#47460699) Homepage Journal

    Because customers don't immediately respond to questions like "why should we discontinue your service?" with responses such as "because I have informed my credit card provider that we are no longer doing business together, and they will refuse all further charges and will charge back any they don't refuse, at cost of $35 per false charge to Xfinity Inc."

  • by pixelpusher220 ( 529617 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @04:28PM (#47460739)

    call center employees are being thrown under the bus

    but it's a really nice bus that the CEO's are riding...does anything else really matter?

  • by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @05:26PM (#47461461) Homepage Journal

    If I am hearing correctly, this guy was signed up for 105 megabits per second... Do you know how hard it is to use 105 megabits/second?


    Slashdot, how far you have fallen.

  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @05:51PM (#47461701)

    "I got assigned an IP ending in .666. I refuse to support any company with such obvious anti-christian leanings."


  • by failedlogic ( 627314 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @06:32PM (#47462033)

    Don't tell them you're transferring to a competitor. That gives them all the excuses to 'save' your account.

    My father was canceling his cable Internet service and reconnecting with another provider. I knew about all these tricks they use to retain customers. He had tried calling before and was put on hold, transferred, then spoke to someone for a few minutes and was again put on hold. He ended up hanging up the phone in frustration.

    My solution to him was provide a different reason to cancel.

    Told my father a better excuse. The next call lasted less than 1 minute. No transfers, no retention reps. A CSR cancelled the service. The reason: carpal tunnel syndrome. As soon as he said he can't use the keyboard/mouse anymore they immediately cancelled no other reason needed.

    Hope this helps others! :)

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by taustin ( 171655 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @06:56PM (#47462249) Homepage Journal

    "This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes" means that you have their permission to record it, too, even in California.

    "Cancel my account."

    "I can't do that unless you give me a reason."

    "I'm recording this conversation, so I have proof that the account has been canceled. If I receive any more invoices, the next phone call will be from my lawyer, or the police."


    The better method, though, is to do it in writing, by registered mail. End of equation.

  • by sd4f ( 1891894 ) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @09:47PM (#47463297)

    I'm not sure if it's identical around the world, but certainly here in Australia, many of these customer service people have their performance measured by how many people they convince to stay or attract. So while they might not be trained to be aggressive or like dogs with a bone (i.e. just don't let go), and companies like comcast can ignorantly claim what they did, for every worker, the reality is there's that KPI looking over their shoulder and they'll go to those lengths themselves to either not get sacked or make bonus.

    A worse thing that happens in Australia, and it particularly happens with insurance companies is that they usually hit renewing customers with higher fees. It sometimes gets referred to as the 'lazy tax' where most customers will just habitually accept and pay it, whereas if they shopped around, and called back, they would usually get a fair chunk knocked off their bill for literally no reason except that the company wants the customer to stay. They know that in doing it this way, they make more money because a big enough proportion of people don't question the bill, and those that do, it's better to get them to pay less than not at all. I know that your ISP's and cable companies are notrious for treating their customers like shit (south park covered it well).

  • by bangular ( 736791 ) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @01:11AM (#47464055)
    Comcast makes it seem like this was a rogue employee. He's not. In fact, I don't even blame him for what he did. His directions most likely came from the top. "Don't let a customer go for any reason." Then, when he follows those directions, they play dumb and claim "we would never have a service rep do this."

    From the sound of the call, it sounds like he was following his training to the "t." He kept his cool. Kept reminding the customer of their market standing as #1. Suggested he could give them a better price. Never took no for an answer.

    Besides training people to do this, most of the time they economically incentivise this behavior as well. I doubt he's paid much over minimum wage and any pay that would bring him to a living wage is tied to bonuses for not losing customers. If he loses enough customers I'm sure he'll lose his job.

    Bottom line, he's trained and paid to do this from some corporate drones with pay scales far outside of his. What we really need to do is call out the corporate drones that make their reps play hardball to keep their jobs.

"Conversion, fastidious Goddess, loves blood better than brick, and feasts most subtly on the human will." -- Virginia Woolf, "Mrs. Dalloway"