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Comcast Confessions

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the beancounters-shouldn't-run-the-show dept.

Businesses 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 From the article: 'These employees told us the same stories over and over again: customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales, technicians are understaffed and tech support is poorly trained, and the massive company is hobbled by internal fragmentation.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.'

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Every single day (0, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47564755)

Snatch up one Comcast and one Time Warner exec. Saw their heads off on YouTube.

Re: Every single day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564819)

Save the Internet, destroy these companies.

Re: Every single day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564985)

"an ordeal you wouldn't wish on your enemies" ...just your ex-wife.

Re:Every single day (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564927)

Snatch up one Comcast and one Time Warner exec. Saw their heads off on YouTube.

Great, the solution is to become the Taliban of the Internet. Like that's going to help anything.

Rather than being an asshat, why not ask folks to contact their elected officials.

GOVERNMENT WARNING:
WARNING: Left to themselves, governments can become extremely dangerous. Please, contact your elected representatives regarding the matters that are most important to you (unless you are an asshat that advocates sawing people's heads off on YouTube, in that case STFU). http://www.contactingthecongress.org/ [contacting...ngress.org]

See how easy that was?

Re: Every single day (1, Insightful)

ajegwu (1142365) | about 3 months ago | (#47564957)

See how effective that was?

Re: Every single day (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564997)

See how effective that was?

by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @08:49AM (#47564927)
by ajegwu (1142365) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @08:54AM (#47564957)

You're right, trying for more than five minutes was too much to ask. Off with their heads.

Re:Every single day (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565045)

Wow, you know you're a complete fuckwit right? Everyone here is thinking you are a pompous ass, no one sides with you. // Now the mods can dm me for being impolite.

Re:Every single day (3)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 3 months ago | (#47565349)

Yes. It's easy to convince yourself that you did something, when in reality what you did was worse than doing nothing. You actually made yourself think that you tried to make a change, and as a result if nothing happens, you have a "well, at least I tried" excuse.

Which is why this is the reality:
http://www.princeton.edu/~mgil... [princeton.edu]

If you don't know what that is - that's the study of democratic impact of things like "desires of the masses" on actual legislative process. The study that concluded that US is de facto oligarchy, because when masses want something and capital wants something else, capital almost always gets what it wants.

And if you want to know why that is, all you need is to look in the mirror. "Just write your [legislative representative] (so he/she can ask for a bit more money in donations when he/she makes the opposite decision as to have a bit more to finance his/her re-election campaign)" is the solution that is worse than doing nothing.

At least doing nothing makes you feel guilty about it, and may eventually push you to act in ways that may actually bring about a change. What you are advocating is status quo. As a result, you're part of the problem.

And while "sawing people's heads off on youtube" is also a terrible solution, yours isn't that much better.

Re:Every single day (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#47565485)

So, pray tell, if writing your representative is worse than useless, what's the action that would actually work?

Re:Every single day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565487)

WE HAVE A WINNER!

Step 1. Collect underpants.

Step 2. Post a link to an academic paper on Slashdot.

Step 3. PROFIT!

Re:Every single day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565647)

Our call is VERY IMPORTANT to them. They VALUE our feedback.
Just, you know, not nearly as much as they value what the people paying them tens to hundreds of times what we pay them through our taxes say.

And THEY'RE saying that what we want, what we really really want, is to get that telephone pole there right up our~~~

Re:Every single day (5, Insightful)

sinij (911942) | about 3 months ago | (#47564989)

I understand that above suggestion to "saw their heads off" was likely made in jest, but there is grain of truth to it.

We live in an era where people in charge have very little accountability to the masses. "The Mob" no longer puts fear into politicians or business community. As such "maybe I shouldn't do this nefarious yet legal deed because it could end up with guillotine" check is no longer there.

Re:Every single day (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47565017)

I think that might be against Youtube TOS.

Re:Every single day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565285)

Although they're owned by Google, so they may make an exception.

.

I wonder when... (4, Insightful)

ggraham412 (1492023) | about 3 months ago | (#47564765)

I wonder when customer service will start being more proactive by calling customers.

"Hello, this is Comcast. How may we upsell you?"

Re:I wonder when... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564829)

I think you misspelled upset.

Re:I wonder when... (2)

djdanlib (732853) | about 3 months ago | (#47565431)

No no, upsell and upset are synonymous in this case. It's totally okay.

They are already doing that (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564871)

They are calling people on cable-modem only and offering a cable box for 5 dollars more a month.

Re:I wonder when... (4, Insightful)

Strahan (1027774) | about 3 months ago | (#47564873)

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.

Re:I wonder when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564875)

Are you kidding? Charter cable calls me several times a week, sometimes twice in a day. Too bad for them I never answer an unrecognized phone number. And once I google the number and find out it's Charter sales, I add it to my contacts so I'll -know- to ignore it from then on.

Oh, perhaps you're suggesting that 'customer service' and 'sales' are two separate things. How quaint.

Re:I wonder when... (1)

xmousex (661995) | about 3 months ago | (#47565331)

Yeah I was constantly getting called up by charter for upsell. I had to log into my account and dig around for that checkbox that disables me from promotions.

Re:I wonder when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565401)

Charter has called me five times in the last 3 days.

For reference, the "unrecognized" number to ignore calls from is 1-773-945-5674, and comes from somewhere in Illinois.

Their customer service guy flat out would not give up when I repeatedly told him that I don't (and won't) pay for TV.

Re:I wonder when... (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 3 months ago | (#47565335)

They'd discover the same thing phone companies did in the 1990s. Direct calling your customers for an upsell is a good way to create a cancellation.

Re:I wonder when... (2)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 3 months ago | (#47565457)

omg this. I remember back in late 90s being called up at minimum, once a week by each of them major telcoms asking if I want to switch (or with the one I was on, trying to upsell). I used to ask them, so if you are harassing me before I am even your customer, what are you going to do when I am actually your customer? I knew multiple people who disconnected all of their phone lines and switched to VOIP/Cell phones just to get away from the constant harassment. Seemed to go on for a year or so then abrubtly stopped, must have been some law that passed or they got fined out of their rear end.

Relevant video (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564771)

The Cable Company [youtube.com]
Public Service Announcement [funnyordie.com]

I must be the outlier (4, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | about 3 months ago | (#47564813)

I cancelled my Comcast cable service last week. Walked into the office, handed them my equipment and told them I wanted to cancel my account. The person behind the counter checked in the equipment, had me sign a form indicating I had returned all the equipment and pay the prorated amount I owed.

The only thing he asked me is if I was going with someone else to which I said no, I could no longer justify the cost.

I was in and out in just over a minute. I waited in line significantly longer than that.

Sidenote, I received a notice in the mail from Comcast that for a small additional monthly fee I could upgrade my service to one of the following. Obviously my cancellation hasn't worked its way through the system yet.

Re:I must be the outlier (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 3 months ago | (#47564923)

Not really an outlier, its a difference between cancellation on the phone and cancellation in person. The phone drones (or "the lost and the damned") are extraordinarily closely scrutinized and their paychecks and/or not getting shitcanned are directly dependent on 'retention'. The in-store people, apparently, are paid to be in store but not directly induced to hassle you.

I'm not quite sure why Comcast hasn't emiserated the in-store situation yet; but apparently they haven't, and it's not as though the front-line peons are fucking with you for their pleasure, so if they aren't forced to they generally won't.

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564979)

Yeah, I actually had to go into a comcast location a year or two ago to get a cable card when I bought my Tivo. The lady behind the desk was very pleasant and, even though she didn't know much about cable cards, she still tried her best to get me the right number to call to get it activated.

Calling in to get the fucking thing activated was a goddamn nightmare, though. I had to call 3 different numbers, talk to about 5 different people, none of whom knew who the fuck I was supposed to talk to about getting it activated until I finally got one lady who knew what to do.

They really don't like it when you own your own equipment.

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 3 months ago | (#47565043)

Still, He stated that it was a a monetary decision, and the clerk did not even offer some 50% deal for 3 months.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565589)

Around here, the people in the offices can't do anything other than process payments or handle equipment. I've stopped in the "store" before because I was just so happened to be next to it and I wanted to have my TV service modified and have someone come out to check on something. When I talked to a person there, they said they can't handle any of that and I needed to call in. So of course the clerk isn't going to offer anything. It's not their job and they don't have the power to do anything.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565105)

I dropped cable TV from a Comcast competitor in person, and it was the same way: the only thing "sales-ish" that the guy did was point out to me that my Cable Internet bill would go up $20 if I didn't have a bundle, and would that make me want to DSL *nudge, nudge*? When I assured that that would, he pointed me to his manager in the corner who had the paperwork to execute retention repricings. A win-win for me.

Generally, in person metrics are designed to run the most people through in the least amount of time, and then retention is #2. Trying to talk you out of canceling when you've dumped the equipment on their counter just burns their time metrics out, and every once in a while results in an anger-management issue.

Re:I must be the outlier (3, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 3 months ago | (#47565241)

I'm not quite sure why Comcast hasn't emiserated the in-store situation yet; but apparently they haven't, and it's not as though the front-line peons are fucking with you for their pleasure, so if they aren't forced to they generally won't.

That's easy. Someone deliberately screwing with you to prevent your cancellation in person could escalate the situation to violence. Over the phone, the most that can happen is a shouting match, and if the customer gets frustrated enough, they hang up, which is a win.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565247)

If the comcast employees in the branch office fucked with their customers trying to cancel same way their call centers do, the comcast employees in the branch office might find themselves going home in a casket when some irate customer finally snaps and plugs them with bullets.

If you have to see the customers face, and the customer knows where you work then there is a powerful self preservation instinct to keep them from yanking their chain the same way the Comcast douche in the recorded phone call had done.

My local Comcast office, there is a bullet proof partition separating the employees from the customers. The employees still have to eventually leave the office however.

Re:I must be the outlier (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 3 months ago | (#47565569)

My local Comcast office employes an off-duty Sheriff's deputy!

Re:I must be the outlier (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | about 3 months ago | (#47565483)

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 must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564943)

You must be teh Comcast SHILL!!!!1111!!!! An order of magnitude of draconian lawz!!! HERP!!!!
 
My own sidenote, don't feel bad. I still get snail mail from a car dealership about a car that was totaled a few years ago. I let the dealership know because they had paperwork I needed copies of for a reimbursement on an extended warranty. It's no surprise but companies big and small aren't taking advantage of keeping their costs down by using all this data that they collect off their customers.

Re:I must be the outlier (4, Informative)

timholman (71886) | about 3 months ago | (#47564963)

I cancelled my Comcast cable service last week. Walked into the office, handed them my equipment and told them I wanted to cancel my account. The person behind the counter checked in the equipment, had me sign a form indicating I had returned all the equipment and pay the prorated amount I owed.

I was in and out in just over a minute. I waited in line significantly longer than that.

You're not an outlier, but you did do exactly the right thing. You cancelled in person, instead of over the phone.

The people you call on the phone are highly incentivized to keep you as a customer. The ones working behind the counter are not.

If you want to quit ANY cable service, then disconnect all the equipment, load it in your car, take it down to their local office, and tell them that you wish to drop their service immediately. No one will argue with you; at that point you have bypassed their normal customer retention script.

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

Threni (635302) | about 3 months ago | (#47565039)

Aren't they obliged to cancel your account if you ask, though? I mean, say you say "i want to close my account", they asked if you're sure, aware of the great deals etc. Say no, again, politely, then firmly "close my account now". What would happen if they continued trying to get you to stay and you stay silent? You aren't obliged to go through their script; you've told them your side of things. Can't you just stop paying them and if there's any come back tell them the date/time of the call, who you spoke to and ask what the problem is? Perhaps there needs to be a mandatory website/service where you just click/say "i'm out of here" and there's no come back on their part?

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565459)

Can't you just stop paying them and if there's any come back tell them the date/time of the call

They will just throw the collection agency at you [globalnews.ca] . Admittedly, this article is about Bell Canada, but I'm sure other companies need to "protect themselves" against customers who don't pay.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565471)

Record the call. State that you want to cancel, then hang up when they attempt to "retain" you. Make sure you stay civil and pleasant on the call, remember, you're recording this. Stop paying the bill. When it goes to collections, take legal action. First, get an injunction against collections activity on the account until the legal process has hashed everything out. If they play hardball on this, alert the credit bureaus to fraudulent credit activity on your cable account. Then, sue the cable company's ass off for failure to make a good faith effort to terminate service in a reasonable way. Use the recorded call as evidence.

Yes, it's a time-wasting pain in the ass. But if enough people started playing this game, they'd be forced to deal with it in very expensive ways, and eventually they'd have to change their cancellation procedures.

Re:I must be the outlier (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#47565079)

Comcast is closing those customer centers in most towns to avoid this.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565397)

If any are in New York, then someone should complain to Eric Schneiderman [wikipedia.org] . There might be a bit of a payout coming to New York [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 months ago | (#47565447)

Not just to avoid this. Maintaining customer service centers also cuts into their profits.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565515)

Most franchise authorities have laws mandating that they have local staff available on weekdays. I know mine does. They won't be closing our local office anytime soon.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565111)

Exactly. They really can't do the script thing in person anyway. Too many issues:

- Other customers in line will hear it and get mad about how you were hassling a customer over cancelling.
- Other customers will wonder why they have to wait in line while you waste time badgering someone cancelling.
- Some people will get frustrated and get confrontational (possibly violent) if you make them go through a long retention script.

It just doesn't play out in person the same way it can on the phone.

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

cyfer2000 (548592) | about 3 months ago | (#47564975)

I am planning to cancel my comcast, because they claim that they own the modem I bought from bestbuy and trying to charge me a monthly rental, twice. The first time, the costumer service told me if "the system" showed they owned my modem, the modem was their property. Then I called again, a different guy told me that I could fax in my receipt and other stuff to show them that I purchased the modem. Then I faxed my receipt and etc. And after 3 years, the monthly rental showed up again. The customer service told me they could not fix this issue over the phone and asked me to go to a local office...

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565409)

Tell them to fax you the receipt signed by you from when they sent the modem.
They don't have one? Well, tough shit.

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

starless (60879) | about 3 months ago | (#47565091)

I cancelled comcast basic cable service over the phone last week. I didn't get much pressure to continue with them, just a brief question or two.
I just received a UPS box and label to return my equipment. (I had just received unrequested equipment because even basic
cable is now going to be encrypted in my area.)
So, so far so good.

But, the second person I talked with on the phone who was handling the equipment return (at a contractor
company, not comcast itself) thinks I also have a modem. But I don't as I cancelled internet service
with comcast many years ago. I'm hoping that's not going to be a problem...

Re:I must be the outlier (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#47565095)

Watch out, they may have accidentally reactivated your account and you are being charged for something. your only warning will be a credit collections company contacting you.

It was a very common thing back in 2006 that Comcast did to customers that successfully cancelled their service.

Re:I must be the outlier (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565263)

Obviously my cancellation hasn't worked its way through the system yet.

Obviously, your cancellation has not worked at all.

Kidding aside, I have been hearing news lately that Bell Canada does not know the word cancel [globalnews.ca] or deceased [globalnews.ca] .

Re:I must be the outlier (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#47565325)

no, I could no longer justify the cost

That's the trick - convince salesfolk that there is no money in your pockets and you are dead to them. Sometimes it's worth them thinking you are an utter loser just so that they will leave you alone.
Asking telemarketers if there are any jobs available where they are used to be a good one - until those jobs moved offshore and now the trick no longer works.

Choice of Environment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565541)

The reason for your ease is your choice of environment, telemarketers are trained specifically to be pushy salespeople and have financial/employment incentives driving their behavior. Your average front desk employee isn't trained in sales, has none of those incentives and probably better things to do then arguing with you about keeping your service.

How do investors react to such info? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 3 months ago | (#47564841)

Would you be more or less inclined to put your money into a company whose seemingly sole focus is profit? I mean focused well over and above happy employees, happy customers, delivering a product/service they can be proud of, and other such trivialities.

.

Re:How do investors react to such info? (3, Interesting)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 3 months ago | (#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.

Re:How do investors react to such info? (3, Insightful)

benjfowler (239527) | about 3 months ago | (#47564897)

The US has always been fatally weak on control fraud and white-collar crime. Dumb people are impressed by rich people, and never ask how those people got rich, nor how many dead bodies they needed to step over to do it.

Re:How do investors react to such info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565341)

Dumb people are impressed by rich people, and never ask how those people got rich

By working hard, obviously

Re:How do investors react to such info? (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#47564911)

Would you be more or less inclined to put your money into a company whose seemingly sole focus is profit? I mean focused well over and above happy employees, happy customers, delivering a product/service they can be proud of, and other such trivialities. .

Why yes. That's the AMERICAN WAY. Only the dollars and cents you can add up today matter. Actual quality of product, customer satisfaction, responsible citizenship, future consequences, those are things we've been taught to sneer at. After all, what do they matter when it comes time to do a leveraged buyout?

Anything else is just socialisms and Commie Talk. It's not like capitalism is supposed to facilitate business. We're supposed to worship it for its own sake.

Re:How do investors react to such info? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564925)

The difference is in short term and long term profits.

If you only is interested in short term profits you won't mind burning bridges.
That is typical if you for example bring in a "professional CEO" with experience from multiple companies. Then you end up with a person with no intention to stick around, your company is only another stepping stone in their career. They benefit the most form boosting the profits now (For example by selling the furniture.) and jump to the next company before productivity falls because no-one has a desk to work at.

That is why the argument "the company have an obligation to their stockholders to act like a psychopath" doesn't work. It implies that the stockholders will get out in time when customers abandon the company because of badwill. That isn't theoretically possible, someone will always be left with the short end of the stick.
From a stockholders perspective it is much better to have a bad quarter if the result is loyal customers and a brand with a good reputation.

Business isn't about screwing people over, it is about finding the situations where you and the other party both benefit from a trade. If only one part benefits from it the other one would not be interested unless there is fraud going on.

Re:How do investors react to such info? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 3 months ago | (#47564973)

Would you be more or less inclined to put your money into a company whose seemingly sole focus is profit?

Note that "profit" is misleading in this context. What they seem to mean, based on TFA is "income" or "revenue".

Admittedly, income generates profit (usually. See "loss leader" for an example of income with no profit attached). But they're not synonymous, as any taxman can tell you.

Re:How do investors react to such info? (1)

tranquilidad (1994300) | about 3 months ago | (#47565069)

You seem to think these items are disconnected.

The company is responsible to its owners only.

If it is in the best interest of the shareholders to piss off the customers then that's what they should do.

It is more likely that it's in the best interest of the shareholders to do as you suggest, have happy employees, happy customers and a product/service with which they can be proud.

As an investor I will put my money in those companies that give me the greatest return. Just because a company's sole focus is profit doesn't mean they shouldn't be a "good" company. The bigger question is not for the shareholders but for the customers. Why would customers continue to generate profits for the shareholders if it doesn't provide them with something they value or see as a fair trade for their dollars?

Nothing New (4, Informative)

realsilly (186931) | about 3 months ago | (#47564845)

Lots of companies have engaged in this practice over the years. I've worked for a Credit card company in the past, and they did the same exact thing. It's basically preying on the weak. Those who tended to overspend and could never pay off a debt were the most vulnerable to the sales pitch to keep the card open and active. This used to be called the "sub-prime" market, but that term fell out of good graces back in 2004 - 2006 when the word "sub-prime" referred to poor people; which was true. The original intent of sub-prime was to help people with bad / no credit establish a foundation for building good credit. Just like everything else, it got corrupted by corporate greed.

Re:Nothing New (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about 3 months ago | (#47564949)

OK. I live in a city where the city itself maintained a special number for the sole purpose of accepting complaints about Comcast.

But the shenanigans reported are neither new nor unique to Comcast. Lots of companies have "Customer Retention Departments" whose sole purpose is to make cancelling as miserable an experience as possible.

I don't like seeking after misery, so I avoided opening a Comcast account to begin with. They may own almost all the market, but there are still less obnoxious alternatives.

Comcastic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564859)

I've been a Comcast customer for eons. Since the days of them gobbling up MediaOne, Road Runner, etc.... and while I've had to deal with customer service a few times annually due to unexpected outages, I can't really complain about the speed or consistency.

I suppose the worst Comcast horror story I've got is last year when speeds were acting erratic we called for a tech to come out and look at the lines, suspecting it was squirrels chewing on them. We ended up getting a contracted 3rd party tech who while very friendly, wasn't the most professional. His solution to fixing our problem was cutting out our neighbor's line behind us to fix ours.

When I asked what would happen when they come home and realize their internet is out he jokingly said "they'll have to make a service call just like you did". Also while we made smalltalk I let the guy know I was working from home and with my limited technical knowledge he still insisted I should go work for his boss.

He was extremely pushing that to the point I said I'd give them a call just to shut him up. Turns out he earns a $300 commission for referrals when I did eventually call just out of curiosity, and needless to say I did not want to work for a company who employed jokers like the tech we got.

Comcast is definitely slipping, and the next time I call for a tech I'm going to insist on a first party.

Moved and still they call (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 3 months ago | (#47564863)

So I moved out of a Comcast area. It was 3 rounds of what can we do to keep you, to cancel. Apparently I no longer live in a Comcast area is to hard to process. I've since gotten a call trying to get me back.

I ready did not have much of a problem with internet from them, though my new Optimum service is faster and cheaper (75/25)

Re:Moved and still they call (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564969)

So I moved out of a Comcast area. It was 3 rounds of what can we do to keep you, to cancel. Apparently I no longer live in a Comcast area is to hard to process. I've since gotten a call trying to get me back.

I ready did not have much of a problem with internet from them, though my new Optimum service is faster and cheaper (75/25)

What do you expect? Apparently in India, even the concept of detached housing isn't comprehensible. I tried to open an Internet account and they said I'd have to contact my "building manager".

I own the f*cking building. It's a HOUSE dammit!

When you're on an entirely different continent, you may find it difficult to imagine that there are pockets of Comcast-free territory in the victim^Wtarget country.

Re:Moved and still they call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565013)

Just tell them, "sure, I'll sign up. When can you come out to hook me up. Here is my address..."

Want more profit? Just do right by the customer (1)

MikeRT (947531) | about 3 months ago | (#47564865)

I don't know any Comcast customer who has had a positive experience with their customer service. I also know some who've had Comcast blatantly disregard the details of their contract with respect to price and features a few months into a 12-24 month contract. Frankly, what Comcast needs besides competition from more companies and municipal broadband (via utilities) is a few strategic arrests of employees and executives for fraud. Put a few of their guys in prison for fraudulent business practices, and I'll wager their billing and sales people will wake the f#$% up and do right.

Re:Want more profit? Just do right by the customer (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | about 3 months ago | (#47564893)

What comcrap needs is the full experience of corporations being people, starting with getting executed by texas.

Re:Want more profit? Just do right by the customer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564955)

This is what I have been saying. If they provided a great customer experience, then people would not want to leave. But they don't. They have very little brand loyalty. It's saying something when AT&T has a better reputation!
 
I've been cut off from cable for nearly a decade. There are still a few things I wish I could watch, but I just end up waiting until it's available on DVD if I can't get it from streaming.

Same Stuff Different Company. (1)

mt2mb4me (550507) | about 3 months ago | (#47564867)

OK, this is nothing new, as an EX employee of an American telephone/telegraph company. The first person you talk to is a "customer service and SALES" every time you call in, and their system is "Running Slow" they are looking at your account to "Bundle" a solution to your problem. Bundle = bamboozle. The reps make over half their income from commission, this is "Customer service" not outbound sales. It is the way business is done anymore.

gonna get better... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564869)

when they become even bigger corporate assholes following the (will be approved without any significant concessions) buyout of time warner cable.

as opposed to the other kind of corporation? (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about 3 months ago | (#47564891)

...painted a picture of a corporation overrun by the neverending quest for greater profit

Or for short, just "a corporation".

Lost the "tech" in tech support (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 3 months ago | (#47564895)

I can understand wanting to save money by putting tech script as the first line of tech support, but it gets a little tiring when want to skip to the advanced folks and still they want to stick to their script and ask me to reboot the modem as if I hadn't done that 3 times already. If it isn't low hanging fruit for the script readers it's not going to be a very successful or efficient support call.

Seems some DNS issue that isn't solved by reboot kept all of the devices in my network from getting reliable connections for about 10-15 minutes after starting to browse. I did some of the obvious stuff; reboot modem, try other DNS servers, etc. Doesn't matter now. Switched to FiOS and now pages load before I can blink.

Re:Lost the "tech" in tech support (1)

Greyfox (87712) | about 3 months ago | (#47565015)

Just use the Google public DNS. Also, Windows 7 can have intermittent DNS issues like that when waking up from hibernation. It can ping fine by IP, just not domain name. So if the problem keeps happening after you switch to Google, that's probably why. From poking around on the Internet, Microsoft's answer to that seems to be "Try another network card." Mine is, "The problem doesn't happen with Linux."

Re:Lost the "tech" in tech support (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 3 months ago | (#47565549)

I tried the Google DNS servers with no luck. At first I too thought it was the intermittent Win7 stuff coming out of hibernation because that was my use case, but my wife's iPad and our cell phones were also taking forever to load a page, mostly hanging at the very beginning of the request.

Anyway just cancelled Comcast yesterday and my pages load blissfully fast at 15Mbps as opposed to taking forever at 50Mbps.

Re:Lost the "tech" in tech support (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#47565051)

I have my own script.... Yes, rebooting now... yes still the red blinking light. I am waving a dead chicken over it now... yes it's facing north. No the red light did not change.

Yes I moved all holy relics away from the modem... No it's still a red blinking light. Yes I'll wait....

Re:Lost the "tech" in tech support (1)

PseudoCoder (1642383) | about 3 months ago | (#47565567)

Good stuff! Just switched to Verizon FiOS, so Comcast is hopefully a thing of the past. I'll use this if I ever have to get on the phone with Verizon, but my previous experience with FiOS included 0 support calls.

It's common (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47564899)

Verizon is the same way with FIOS. I called to set up automatic payments to my credit card and found the (seemingly) 70 year old woman trying to sell me the next tier internet speed. No matter how I tried to explain that the most bandwidth I use is with Netflix, which already works fine and therefore don't need any additional speed, she kept persisting.... but I didn't feel right yelling at someone who could be my grandmother.

Re:It's common (1)

dosius (230542) | about 3 months ago | (#47564987)

That's the trick, isn't it? Put an old lady on the line so you won't have the heart to fight back.

-uso.

well (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | about 3 months ago | (#47564971)

"...painted a picture of a corporation overrun by the neverending quest for greater profit"

Is there some other type of corporation?

It's systemic (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#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.

etc...

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.

Understaffed? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 3 months ago | (#47565033)

They fired most of the technicians and now 90% are subcontractors to get around most of the labor laws. Around here the guys that do Comcast have a magnetic sign on their rust bucket and will swap out for Dish when they go to that next job. They barely train these guys and they pay them a flat rate per job so they want to be in and out as fast as possible many times half assing it because they average out to being paid less than $7.00 an hour on most jobs.

As a Northern European guy.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565077)

I'm amazed to read about the kind of crap Verizon and Comcast can get away with, both in terms of customer service but also in terms of services delivered (Netflix issue among others). My sympathies goes out to all of you.

* Posted this from my 100/100mb fiber connection

lol (-1, Flamebait)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47565175)

So is Slashdot an echo chamber now? When did we start coming up with opinions and then crafting stories to suit our own narrative?

Are we really going to sit here and pretend like it's a surprise that a company that sells cable might be pushy about selling cable?
Then they ask a question that, clearly, only disgruntled employees of that company are going to respond to... then from that, pick and choose the worst...

I've worked in places like that and I bet a lot of Slashdot has as well. We all know the guy that made this call famous... the "Super employee" that does everything by the book and thinks he's a rockstar because he goes over the top on every call... and that guy always ends up in a situation like this. Management loves him until he pisses some customer off so bad it gets escalated to the executive level. This call just so happened to go even farther than that.

Re:lol (2)

oh_my_080980980 (773867) | about 3 months ago | (#47565215)

When did people become shills for corporations by posing as a "regular joe." Had you read the article you would have known that call reps whose job did not involve sales in any way are now responsible for making sales.

Nice job ass-hole.

Get smart ... (2)

CaptainDork (3678879) | about 3 months ago | (#47565213)

You know what these people are going to do, right? For cancellation, you gotta have a brick wall they can't navigate around.

Them: "WHY DO YOU WANT TO CANCEL?"

Me: "Because work is paying for a teleworker account from another ISP."

Them: "Which ISP?"

Me: "Heck, I don't know."

Them: "We can beat the other (speed, service, etc.)."

Me: "Not if you're not hooked up to my house."

Them: "We will give you 3 months free service just to keep you as a customer."

Me: "I've always back-billed my company for this service. They will not accept the charge in the future."

Them: "Are you dissatisfied with our service?"

Me: "WHAT? Heck, no ... I love you guys." .... ....

--

Go in prepared for it. Your parents died and you got no money. You're heading of to federal prison. Your house burned down.

Don't Bother Anymore (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 3 months ago | (#47565237)

My credit has been crap for years mostly due to a steady flow of medical and therapy bills for my "special needs" child that far exceeds my ability to pay. But one benefit of not giving a fork about my FICO score is that I don't even bother to deal with the BS from cable, cell phone, internet, gym memberships, "free" trials, or anything else. When I want to change or drop a service I find it much more convenient to just close my bank account and open a new one than to deal with "Customer Retention Counselors". Sure, I get letters for debt collectors every day, but no one has bothered to sue me. Of course, if I had any savings or disposable income that could be a different matter.

This is everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565277)

I work at a major finnish telco (posting AC to protect my identity/employment) and for the last year or so we've been seeing exactly this kind of pressure. Even tech support now has sales quotas that have to be met to maintain your employment. Staff is trying it's best to rebel against this, but you can't really do anything: If you quit or even if 100 people quit, it won't matter, with the economy and employment being where they are, the company would just replace everyone who left in a week.

the person responsible for this policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565283)

What is terrible is this is just setting up a publicity stunt for "oh! We're kinder and gentler now!" and the people behind the draconian policies will not get fired.

fuck me right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565293)

I wasn't aware that seeking profit and trying to retain customers is a bad thing. If a business doesn't retain customers or seek profit there won't be a business to bother with.

Here's a novel concept, don't like the business don't support it...

Re:fuck me right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47565637)

There's a pretty fucking clear line between asking "Are you sure? Are you unhappy with out service" and harassing by asking the same thing a dozen times maybe just changing the question a bit. If the customer wants to quit the service, they do not want to hear about some addon services.

"Here's a novel concept, don't like the business don't support it" How do you NOT SUPPORT IT IF YOU CAN QUIT IT?

The more things change.... (1)

Micah Backwater (3770081) | about 3 months ago | (#47565353)

When I worked for AT&T in the early Naughties, we were instructed in pretty much the same way. Sell, sell, sell, and ignore (as much as possible) the customer and what they really want.

history repeating (1)

cwatts (622605) | about 3 months ago | (#47565377)

This guy is clearly a graduate of the AOL School of Custormer Retention.

I had a nearly identical call with America Online years ago. I didn't record it, but someone else recorded their similar experience. Definitely the same guy!

cw

Gateway was the same (1)

zeroryoko1974 (2634611) | about 3 months ago | (#47565417)

I worked tech support for Gateway for about 6 years, and the last couple years, sales were a requirement of our job. It started like, oh if you want to do this, please do it, but it is ok if you don't, to you will try to sell them stuff, it is no longer an option. It got so bad just before the E-Machines merger that there was techs who would go through tickets and find open orders that were missing something like a po, or a wrong address and then take over that sale and finish it to steal credit for the sale. When I started there, it was all about providing the best tech support. By the end (before the whole tech department was outsourced) it was mainly about could you sell them something. As bad as they were, the sales people were worse. At least the techs would sell them stuff that worked. Sales would sell them whatever, and tell them we would support it. It was kind of sad, it was really a lot of fun working there until they went all crazy (things started going downhilll when they got into a price war with Dell).

At&t sucks too. (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 3 months ago | (#47565423)

I spent hours with them, trying to figure out why they couldn't give me access to my online account to pay my fing bill. Finally I just told them I was canceling the account to resolve the matter. Then they aked me why... Then they transfered me to another rep to close the account, who then asked me why .... Finally after going through two people, I just told them I wasn't explaining why anymore, just close the account. Getting angry on the phone is the only thing they understand.

No means No. (2)

tverbeek (457094) | about 3 months ago | (#47565429)

There's a saying in organizations like Comcast that "salesmanship begins with the customer says no."
Interestingly, "when the other person says no" is also a common definition of when rape begins.

Gives an interesting look.... (4, Insightful)

Dega704 (1454673) | about 3 months ago | (#47565535)

At first glance this may seem completely irrelevant to debates about Net Neutrality and data caps, but now I think it tells us a lot about just how unscrupulous Comcast and other big ISPs are. When their greed trumps even the most basic tact and professionalism, how can anyone in their right mind expect us to believe that the best thing for everyone is to let them run amok unchallenged and unregulated with a virtual monopoly? It boggles the mind.

The easiest thing to do (1)

Coditor (2849497) | about 3 months ago | (#47565561)

Is to lie. Tell them you are moving to a city which doesn't have comcast. So they can't do anything but disconnect you. Of course once Comcast is the only Cable company left you are screwed.

Comcast Business is anything but! (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 3 months ago | (#47565645)

So a client of mine uses Comcast Business as their ISP. I drove on-site to configure a SonicWALL. Their modem was in bridge mode with the only option of turning into "pseudo bridge mode" (something like a DMZ). Also, the modem wasn't yet provisioned for their assigned static IP pool. Only Tier 1 answers the phone. If you require Tier 2, a call-back within 24 period IS THE ONLY OPTION! And most of the Tier 1 guys don't know how to do anything other than provision modem, basic reboot troubleshooting, and scheduling a truck roll for physical coax connectivity problems. Or put it another way, I can't schedule in advance (proactively) to setup a business gateway firewall. You have to wait and be reactive, then drive X amount of mile on-site all while the customer is left offline with a business that can't function (IE losing money!!!). But it gets better; Tier 2 will configure the modem and reboot the unit without calling first. Epic fail!

Problem 1: I can't get a modem that will drop down to true bridge mode

Problem 2: Business class support is inharently reactive and not proactive with regards to scheduling downtime.

Problem 3: Tier support of all levels wildly range in competency.

Problem 4: -fill in the blank because I'm sure I missed something here-

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