Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You Can Check Out Of Comcast Any Time You'd Like, But You Can Never Leave

One customer service rep from Comcast would NOT
let a couple disconnect service.  
People purchase or disconnect from services like Internet connections and cable television all the time.

You gain some customers, you lose some customers. Nature of the beast.

Today, a Soundcloud recording that's gone viral shows, at least if you get one certain Comcast customer service representative.

A couple named Ryan Block and Veronica Belmont recorded their conversation with the Comcast guy when they wanted to disconnect. They declined to give a reason why, and that's cool. It's none of anybody's business. They can buy or not buy anything they like and the rest of us can go pound sand if we don't like it.

Actually, Block said he had earlier given reasons why the couple wanted to disconnect, but I guess the reasons weren't good enough for the Comcast guy.

So he wouldn't let them disconnect.

If you don't want to listen to the entire Soundcloud torture session with the Comcast guy, Consumerist offers us a helpful partial transcript. Here's some excerpts:

R: We'd like to disconnect, please.
C: Help me understand why you don't want faster internet
R: Help me understand why you can't just disconnect us.
C: My job is to have a conversation with you about keeping your service, about finding out why it is you're looking to cancel your service. If you don't want to talk to me, you can definitely go to the Comcast store and cancel your service there."

OK: Sounds like the Comcast guy gets a stiff penalty any time somebody cancels. I get that there a company wants to give employees incentive to retain customers, but if you go overboard, boy, will you lose customers.

I work on and off in a call center for a well known gardening equipment company. Us employees there are certainly encouraged to talk with customers to see if there are additional items the customers might be interested in beyond what they called for.

But if the customer gives a firm no, they don't want anything else, then you agree, process the order, thank them and wish them a great day. You leave them not pissed off, not frustrated, and chances are they'll call again in the future with another order.

However, it seems you're in BIG TROUBLE if a customer disconnects, so they go to great lengths to frustrate the customer into keeping the service.

Of course, recordings like the one in this post are  PR nightmare, so I'm sure we'll hear from Comcast that the customer service rep, went too far, he was fired for it, we're sorry, yada, yada, yada.

In fact, we already have that: Sam Gustin from Vice tweeted a response from Comcast. "We're investigating the situation and certainly want to apologize to the customer......This isn't how our customer service representatives are trained to operate."

Let's hope not!

Still, I wonder if  the rest of the Comcast customer service reps are still under pressure to go to HUGE lengths to retain customers. Doesn't sound like fun.

Let's go back to the transcript. Around and around it goes, and where she stops, nobody knows. Becuse the Comcast guy won't ever EVER let it stop:

R: Can you cancel us by phone? The answer is yes, correct?
C: It sounds like you don't want to go over this information with me. If you want to go over that information, that's the easiest way to get your account disconnected.

Oh, OK, so the only way to get disconnected is to listen to a never ending commercial as to why the service is so great. I guess that would be OK if it were a brief ad, but it sounds like it isn't

Let's go back to the conversation:

R: I am declining to state why we are leaving Comcast because I don't owe you an explantion. So, if you can proceed to the next question. If you have to fill out a form, the fine. Please proceed to the next question and we'll attempt to answer that if possible.
C: Being that we're the number one provider of TV and Internet service in the entire country, why is it you don't want the number one provider?

Oops. Looks like we got our Comcast commercial anyway.

More of the conversation:

C: I'm just trying to figure out here what it is about Comcast service that you're not liking.
R: This phone call is an amazing representative example of why I don't want to stay with Comcast. So, can you please cancel our service?

There! Our customer offered a reason why he is cancelling Comcast, even though he didn't have to give it. So we're done now, right?

Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no.

R: You can help me by disconnecting our service.
C: How is that helping you?
R: Because that is what I want 
C: There has to be some sort of reason behind it. We just want to find out what it is that's causing a customer who has been with us a long time to leave."

Um, maybe they're leaving because they're sick of wasting time with you, spending all morning on a task that should have just lasted a couple of minutes.

It gets worse, if you can believe it. Let's listen in some more:

C: Why don't you want a good service? You don't want something that works?
R: Is this a joke? Are you punking us right now?
C: I'm trying to get information. I'm trying to help our company be better. That's my job.
R: I can guarantee you right now, you're doing an incredibly good job at helping your company be worse."


Of course, basically calling a customer stupid, as in he's too stupid to realize what works and what doesn't, isn't exactly the best way to sell a product. But whatever.

From what I hear, they did eventually get their Comcast service disconnected. Which is just as well. They're probably too exhausted to watch TV after that long conversation.

Like everyone else except the Comcast guy, I really don't care why Ryan and Veronica wanted their cable service disconnected.

But now I'm afraid to disconnect my cable service, if I ever wanted to do that. So maybe the Comcast guy was crazy like a fox. Yep, Ryan and Veronica are gone from Comcast, God bless 'em. But the rest of us are now too terrified to leave.

If that's the case, Comcast just got a nation full of hostages customers for life.

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