We all know the horror stories about Comcast. Some of them involve the dreaded four-hour window. Others make reference to service outage problems. In Houston, our biggest complaints are most closely tied to the existence of Comcast Sports Net Houston and the fact that it is unavailable to the majority of the city. So, saying Comcast has a bad rep is like saying Lindsay Lohan has a drug problem, beyond obvious. Well, this latest episode isn't going to help.
Ryan Block, a developer at AOL, and his wife decided to cancel their Comcast service, something I'm sure many people fantasize about. When they did, they were sent to a customer service rep who verbally badgered them about their decision. Block, being the good nerd he is, not only recorded the conversation, but posted it to Sound Cloud. As you might imagine, the whole thing went viral.
The recording is over eight minutes long, completely insane and absolutely worth every painful second of listening.
Not only does the rep essentially refuse to cancel the service, he demands (yes, demands) to know why Block would even consider to do such a thing. "Why is it that you don't want the faster speed? Help me understand why you don't want faster internet," the rep beseeches Block. "But how is [disconnecting your service] helping you?! How is that helping you?! Explain to me how that is helping you!"
Years ago, in between jobs and fresh out of college, I worked for Ozarka. It was actually not a bad job. The people were nice. The hours were decent. The pay was good. The job was inside the main offices and involved a number of duties, one of which included their "save a quit" program. Basically, if someone said they no longer wanted water to be delivered to their residence, my job was to call them, find out why and see if I could convince them otherwise.
This is a fairly common practice at most big companies. If they can save even a small percentage of accounts simply by talking to the customer, it's worth it. Mostly, I spent my time being polite, listening to complaints and seeing if I could talk them into staying with a free case of water or a month of free service. Most of the time it didn't work. I probably wasn't all that great at convincing them anyway. I imagined how I would feel if some company called me during dinner to beg me to keep buying water. Fortunately, most of the people were polite, though a few hung up on me and at least one elderly woman talked my ear off for half an hour about her mixed emotions over her grandson's "Mexican girlfriend."
In a way, I feel for sorry the Comcast rep. I imagine he is some kid who just got out of college, a self-described go getter who will do anything to show he is moving up the cable company ladder. He's amped up on Red Bull and rejection. He just can't handle another "no" and honestly believes that Block is an idiot for wanting to cancel the finest service in all the land. So, he goes Michael Douglas in Falling Down, but instead of a button down and a tie, he's in his company-branded Polo and khakis. Armed with no shotgun, only a phone and but a Douglas-worthy level of righteous indignation, he is going to wage holy war on the asshole who decided he was too good for Comcast.
Naturally, Comcast was embarrassed by the whole thing and issued an apology. They want their guys being zealous in their pursuit of business, but clearly not over zealous. Hopefully, they will revamp their training process so the next poor sap who decided to cancel his service isn't subjected to an epic rant like this one. My guess is Comcast has more than enough customers...or maybe now they won't.
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