Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Businesses The Internet Technology

Comcast Confessions 234

An anonymous reader writes: We heard a couple weeks ago about an incredibly pushy Comcast customer service representative who turned a quick cancellation into an ordeal you wouldn't wish on your enemies. To try and find out what could cause such behavior, The Verge reached out to Comcast employees, hoping a few of them would explain training practices and management directives. They got more than they bargained for — over 100 employees responded, and they painted a picture of a corporation overrun by the neverending quest for greater profit. From the article: 'These employees told us the same stories over and over again: customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales, technicians are understaffed and tech support is poorly trained, and the massive company is hobbled by internal fragmentation. ... Brian Van Horn, a billing specialist who worked at Comcast for 10 years, says the sales pitch gradually got more aggressive. "They were starting off with, 'just ask," he says. "Then instead of 'just ask,' it was 'just ask again,' then 'engage the customer in a conversation,' then 'overcome their objections.'" He was even pressured to pitch new services to a customer who was 55 days late on her bill, he says.'
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Comcast Confessions

Comments Filter:
  • by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @08:39AM (#47564877)

    They'll fall over themselves for it. Current tax laws reward reckless short-term profiteering, that's why you see shit like Hostess and RMoney where executives flat out vampire a company into bankruptcy and then take a golden parachute to the next one. Just a few decades ago tax rates were such that it was much better to develop a stable long-term profit at a lower level and consistently reinvest the rest back into your employees and customers.

  • It's systemic (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @09:02AM (#47565011)

    Posting anonymously since I need to remain employed...

    Comcast has two mantras. Increase sales and cut costs. As has already been pointed out, the customer service staff are heavily pressured through careful sifting of metrics to see how adept they are at saving a customer that's identified that they want to flee. They're also incentivised to push new product to anyone they interact with on the phone. All the better if they can sell you something "at a discount" that you won't even use...like voice services as people are switching to cell-only phone service in droves. Pump the earnings, while adding almost nothing in operational cost. And while a "positive customer experience" is often discussed, it has little to do with your compensation. It's all about increasing sales, reducing costs, and truck rolls (minimizing truck rolls is likely tatooed on the private parts of all the supervisors and management types so they don't forget). This constant drum beat of cutting costs has resulted in:

    Hiring "lowest bidder" outsourced staff to manage the phones
    Reduction of overall customer service staff over time vs number of subscribers (no wonder the hold times are so looooong)
    Slow infrastructure for internal staff (sometimes they really ARE waiting for their screen to update while you tap your foot for 2 minutes)
    Slow and outdated services (DNS/Email in particular) for customers. Fast pipes seem glacial when it takes 20 seconds to resolve a hostname.


    On the video side of the company, they're bleeding video subs steadily (and so is Time Warner). This is causing a panic. Video infrastructure and licensing is expensive fer chrissakes! Who's going to pay for all that? Well...you are. They haven't clued into the reality that a lot of people want to consume specific bits of content AT THEIR LEISURE. Paying for the hundreds of channels of obscure content that you just don't want is ludicrous when there are so many alternatives out there on the interwebs. That's why you're seeing Comcast kick and scream about content owners paying to ride their last mile to your doorstep (unless, of course, it's NBC Universal content...then it's ok and given a fat pipe). I know...a shocker.

    Does this make them any different than any other megacorp with quarterly earnings to meet? Probably not. However, when you consider that they'll be the 800lb gorilla of ISP and cableTV service in the US after they ingest Time Warner, it does give one pause about the future of the quality and cost of those services. Someone is going to pay to keep those quarterly profits up, regardless of the actual cost to deliver the services. Buckle up. It's going to be a rough ride.

  • by idontgno ( 624372 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @09:57AM (#47565483) Journal

    I'm not quite sure why Comcast hasn't emiserated the in-store situation yet

    There are practical limitations in a brick-and-mortar situation. There are a limited number of behind-the-counter folks, and having to hassle a not-gonna-be-a-customer for an extended amount of time makes the lines at the counter grow and grow. Since it's the same counter (and workforce) used to generate business by selling hardware and service, it's counterproductive to sabotage that by extensive "retention" operations. Not to mention that the desperate, wheedling, infuriating conversation that results would be witnessed by everyone else in line; and no matter how dumb, most of the mammals in line may notice that and wonder if doing business with Comcast would be such a good idea.

    Whereas a boiler-room telemarketing op has none of these risks and liabilities.

    Moral of the story: deal with Comcast where they have some incentive to deal decisively: their own showrooms.

  • Re:I wonder when... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by laie_techie ( 883464 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @10:43AM (#47565909)

    Hell, they do that already, at least for their business accounts. I wanted static IPs so I bought a business account for my home. Every month or two I get a letter in the mail from Comcast offering "a free account review!" How kind of them to offer to upsell me for no extra charge, lol.

    I have residential cable and business internet (yeah, for static IP). Every month or two, Comcast residential calls me up to get me to sign up for internet, and Comcast Business calls me to sell me cable TV. Both want me to sign up for phone service, too.

Love may laugh at locksmiths, but he has a profound respect for money bags. -- Sidney Paternoster, "The Folly of the Wise"