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Comcast Training Materials Leaked

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the how-to-be-a-jerk-in-3-easy-steps dept.

Businesses 251

WheezyJoe writes: The Verge reports on leaked training manuals from Comcast, which show how selling services is a required part of the job, even for employees doing tech support. The so-called "4S training material" explicitly states that 20 percent of a call center employee's rating for a given call is dependent on effectively selling the customer new Comcast services. "There are pages of materials on 'probing' customers to ferret out upsell opportunities, as well as on batting aside customer objections to being told they need to buy something. 'We can certainly look at other options, but you would lose which you mentioned was important to you,' the guide suggests clumsily saying to an angry customer who doesn't want to buy any more Comcast services." Images of the leaked documents are available on the Verge, making for fun reading.

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McDonallds should sue ... (5, Funny)

BarbaraHudson (3785311) | about 2 months ago | (#47708951)

... for pirating their upsell "do you want fries with that."

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709045)

Isn't it in McD's training manual to upsell as well. Not that I love Comcast or McDonalds, but if this isn't standard operating procedure, then you aren't doing your shareholders right.

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (5, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47709167)

Mc Donalds cashiers are there to sell stuff.. That is different from the people in the back making the food. How fast would they start losing customers if the cooks started coming up and tried to pressure you into buying stuff before they would make the food you already ordered and paid for... Or if you came to the manager with a mistake and instead of fixing the mistake they tried to sell you more stuff...

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709507)

I've never had a Mc Donalds manager refuse to let me leave before finishing 20 questions because I changed my mind and decided on Burger King.

Um sir why are you leaving?
Are you not happy with our burgers?
What could we add to your burger to make you stay?
What if we come to your house at 3:00AM and break your fucking legs?
Would a knife in mother fucking head change your mind?
What if we give you a discount on your burger?
Explain to me again why don't you want this burger?
I got these cheeseburgers man. Please man... I'll suck yo DICK!

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (5, Interesting)

schnell (163007) | about 2 months ago | (#47709609)

Ugh. Please don't make me sound like I'm defending Comcast, which I loathe.

But the fact is that every large consumer-oriented business has a part of their playbook that every employee who touches the customer should be a salesperson. Are you the McDonald's cashier? You're selling. Are you the rep in a Verizon store? You're selling. Those are easy. Do you work the fry machine? Then you don't talk to the customer, and you're not selling. That's the difference in your example.

But pretty much every consumer services megacorp has done the research and learned that every "touch" you have with a customer needs to be a selling opportunity, and you get very good sales results - which seems counterintuitive, but it's true - if you do so. When you call for support, that's a touch and up-sell opportunity even if you were angry when you called in; same when the DSL/cable installer shows up to your house, even if they are late showing up. You may be angry at first, but a shitload of real-world research shows that most consumers are simply unaware of any given company's latest/greatest/whatever, and you might be interested in it once you have vented your frustration with $MEGACORP.

Again, I have no love for Comcast (I am a Xfinity subscriber in Seattle for TV/Internet and for more than two years I have struggled to read my cable bill and figure it out in a line item fashion) but they are certainly no more evil than almost any other large company in this respect.

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709717)

Right, it's because people respond to it frequently enough. Personally, I'm not so easily manipulated. I think the main thing that gets me with any regularity is free stuff. I've quite Audible several times and I'll often times stay for the freebies. Then cancel afterwards.

But, I'm not foolish enough to think those freebies are really free, they're there to try and get me to stay. Amazon is however transparent enough about it and only offers you it once before allowing a customer to cancel, which is quite reasonable.

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (3, Insightful)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 2 months ago | (#47709181)

Isn't it in McD's training manual to upsell as well. Not that I love Comcast or McDonalds, but if this isn't standard operating procedure, then you aren't doing your shareholders right.

This is more like telling the person in McDonalds that your burger is nothing but two piece of bread and them saying, "Sorry this isn't close to what you ordered, but do you want fries with it?"

Comcast can only get away with these scummy tactics because most of us don't have a choice. It's Comcast or no TV. More relevant to Slashdot, it's Comcast or dialup. Just think, if they buy Time Warner then almost everyone will enjoy the suffering.

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (4, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47709911)

most of us don't have a choice. It's Comcast or no TV.

TV antennas have worked since the 1940s. With the digital switchover is the 2000s, people even further out can get a digitally-perfect picture in higher quality with less artifacts than any cable or satellite provider offers. And you probably have several times more TV channels available to you than you would expect, possibly several good ones that are not even carried on cable.

Since the 90s, direct broadcast satellite has been an option for the overwhelming majority of people. If you've got any way to put a tiny dish where it'll have a view towards the equator, you can get subscription TV while avoiding your local cable monopoly.

And today, with high speed DSL and FIOS, you may be able to get more content than you can watch, for under $10/month. Even if you choose not to go this route, the threat of it is likely to keep your cable co in-line and behaving themselves.

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709283)

of course it is! but this is completely different, the service I should get when calling a >>>HELP center is HELP. not a fucking advertisement!

Re:McDonallds should sue ... (2)

Gordo_1 (256312) | about 2 months ago | (#47709859)

Not that most here will care very much, but that's technically a cross-sell. An upsell is when they ask "would you like to biggie size that?" or something along those lines. A cross-sell generally adds something onto your existing purchase, whereas an upsell replaces your purchase with something more expensive.

I think it's worth understanding these things if only because the deeper your knowledge of these strategies, the better off you are to combat them when they're inevitably used against you.

Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47708957)

American companies are rabid, toxic predators. Don't deal with them if you can avoid it.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (2)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 2 months ago | (#47709037)

That's just the thing, the customers have no choice. As they maneuver to buyout Time Warner, Comcast themselves state plainly, "Comcast and TWC do not compete against each other in any area" [comcast.com]

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (-1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47709055)

Of course they have a choice. They can move to an area served by FiOS, which ranked as more satisfying in a recent Consumer Reports article than Comcast or TWC.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47709175)

Only so many areas that are covered by fios, and only so many houses in those areas, or good jobs in those areas.. Even then we would be dealing with Verizon which is just as bad.... I mean when you have 2 of the lowest rated it is not hard to beat them...

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 2 months ago | (#47709389)

"My fellow Earthicans, we enjoy so much freedom it's almost sickening. We're free to choose which hand our sex-monitoring chip is implanted in. And if we don't want to pay our taxes, why, we're free to spend a weekend with the Pain Monster." ~Richard Nixon

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709727)

CenturyLink is rolling out fiber in 16 more cities, and Google is strategically adding cities over time. I think that eventually all major cities will be covered, it's jus taking way too damn long.

Around here our options are Comcast and CenturyLink, when I'm dealing with CenturyLink employees there is no illusion that I'll be taking my service elsewhere as there might as well not be any other ISPs. All providers other than Hughes and Comcast use CenturyLink infrastructure and Comcast might as well not exist, I know that they couldn't ensure that I was getting service more than 20 hours a day.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709949)

CenturyLink is rolling out fiber in 16 more cities

Hahahahahaha... You fell for Fiber to the Press Release.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (3, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 months ago | (#47709211)

I'm assuming this is a joke, because a lot of people cannot afford to just up and move because they don't like what a utility company is doing.

Re: Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709363)

It's too bad no one has launched anything into space that could beam a signal using the magic of the ether.

Re: Just don't deal with Americans (1)

msauve (701917) | about 2 months ago | (#47709491)

"It's too bad no one has launched anything into space that could beam a signal using the magic of the ether."

You're right - if gas, electric, and water could be delivered that way it would really open up competition for utilities. If you're referring to satcom, you seem to be confused, because it's even more regulated than wireline due to it being a naturally constrained, shared medium.

Re: Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709803)

It's too bad no one has launched anything into space that could beam a signal using the magic of the luminiferous ether.

There. FTFY.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (2, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | about 2 months ago | (#47709443)

Of course it's a joke. Because it's nowhere close to a free market - all utilities use public "rights"-of-way to make a profit. That legitimately exposes them to regulation. If a real free market is desired, then they would all have to negotiate rights-of-way with every property owner along their routes. And that includes the public (government), from which the price is regulation.

Even under a system similar to that in place (access in exchange for regulation), unless those rights-of-way are made available to all providers, there is no free market competition. There is no "free market" unless all competitors can compete in every market (location).

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (1)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47709151)

And to make it worse, outside companies that enter the US market are corrupted by it.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709043)

Because a company that sells stuff tries to sell you stuff? That's not predatory.

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709137)

Re:Just don't deal with Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709601)

western governments aren't any better these days.

Grabbing Hands (4, Insightful)

AlecDalek (3781731) | about 2 months ago | (#47708959)

The grabbing hands, grab all they can...

Re:Grabbing Hands (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709097)

...all for themselves, after all.

Just doin' business (2, Insightful)

slowdeath (2836529) | about 2 months ago | (#47708963)

Why is this a surprise? Or even 'newsworthy' on slashdot? This is just good business. When I go to a store, any store, they try and sell me more stuff. Ask me if I found everything I need. Have I tried this new brand of drink? When I have a meal in a restaurant they ask me if I want coffee or dessert. If you don't want it, just say no.

Re: Just doin' business (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709011)

Sure, but in those stores, they don't hold credit - damaging overcharges and fees over your head, either. Comcast has your ass in a sling, and wants to keep it there- and will, until you threaten to sue.

Sound like your local Walmart, still?

Re:Just doin' business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709061)

Probably for 2 reasons
  - Comcast has had a lot of customer service issues brought to mainstream attention recently
  - Comcast is the only choice for some US customers

Your example is fair - upselling is great and a lot of places to it. But this is very aggressive and your example, following comcast, would sound more like this.

"Would you like coffee with your food? No? Our coffee is the best. You won't get it elsewhere. I can get you your meal, but without coffee it's going to be pointless"

Re:Just doin' business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709085)

Some say no, others stop going to those places because they got tired of assholes trying to sell them crap they don't want. Of course, the first group is way larger so it's worth losing the business of the second group. Not that Comcast has much to worry on losing business, since there aren't many alternatives in their market.

Re:Just doin' business (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 months ago | (#47709153)

Some say no, others stop going to those places because they got tired of assholes trying to sell them crap they don't want. Of course, the first group is way larger so it's worth losing the business of the second group.

Amazon would disagree...

Re:Just doin' business (3, Insightful)

Fulminata (999320) | about 2 months ago | (#47709165)

Yes, but the description above indicates that they are trained not to take "no" for an answer.

It's not good business to irritate your customers, unless it doesn't matter because you have them locked into your service due to a virtual monopoly.

Looking to find and fill a genuine need for your customer = good.

Trying to sell them something they obviously aren't there for (such as additional services when they are looking for tech support) = bad.

Continuing to bother a customer when they tell you that they're not interested = terrible.

Re:Just doin' business (2)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47709171)

Because sales, particularly if an employee's performance/compensation is based on it, becomes predatory, and is the opposite of jobs described as technical support or customer service.

Because some people don't understand that no means no.

Re:Just doin' business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709179)

Yeah, that's the kind of world I want to live in: one that communicates and connects by simply reciting the commands of our bean counting overlords.

Re:Just doin' business (3)

thaylin (555395) | about 2 months ago | (#47709187)

Wait so this is similar because when you go to a store, whose employees sole job to sell you something, it is like when you go to technical support, expecting someone whose sole job is to support your issue? They are 2 distinct types of employees. When I go to a store I expect to be upsold. When I contact customer service for a problem I do not expect to be sold something.

Re:Just doin' business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47710089)

When I contact customer service for a problem I do not expect to be sold something.

Funny, I expect to be sold a lie and company bullshit. But, yea, I don't expect to then be pressured to buy something else which will also have problems. Well, not except maybe an extended warranty. j/k

Re:Just doin' business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709245)

Why is this a surprise? Or even 'newsworthy' on slashdot? This is just good business.

When I go to a store, any store, they try and sell me more stuff. Ask me if I found everything I need. Have I tried this new brand of drink?

When I have a meal in a restaurant they ask me if I want coffee or dessert.

If you don't want it, just say no.

Because Comcast is a monopoly in many places. That means that they can take this as far as they want, to what most people would consider abuse. How many times would you have to say no to them before you considered it abuse? 3? 4? 10? How long would you need to be talking to them before you considered it abuse, when all you want to do is cancel? 10 minutes? 30 minutes? 1 hour? That's why this is on slashdot and that's why you're a dumbass.

Re:Just doin' business (1)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 months ago | (#47709321)

Why is this a surprise? ..... When I go to a store, any store, they try and sell me more stuff.

If you go the service desk for any reasons (the equivalent of calling tech support) the personal there is not instructed to try and sell you more stuff :)

Re:Just doin' business (1)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 months ago | (#47709485)

I don't upsell in my store and its succesfull and I refuse to upsell unless the customer asks me if there's anything else I can recomend. I give them one example and thats it. Knowing your customer base and products is the key.

Discount please! (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47709667)

It would be news for nerds if someone would be kind enough to summarize what to say to get special discounts for internet service.

Re:Discount please! (1)

pslytely psycho (1699190) | about 2 months ago | (#47709945)

Please disconnect my services.

Why?

I am going with Century Link.

6 more months of new user discounts.

Been doing this since Hughsnet and Century Link came to town several years ago.
I hate to say this, but Comcast is much better in my area. Hughsnet reminds me of dialup. Century Link is more like DSL. In this area their customer service has vastly improved too, amazing what even inferior competition can do for a market. I used both trying to cut Comcast. I came back to Comcast and now use the competition to wrangle better prices out of them. I hope they never call my bluff.

Re:Just doin' business (1)

Mr. Shotgun (832121) | about 2 months ago | (#47709759)

Obligatory car analogy: Would you like it if you took your car in for blown head gasket and they tried to up sell you on a paint job or new tires?

The problem isn't so much that the sales people are trying to make sales(it's what they do), it is that the customer service and tech support is being recruited for that too. If I am calling support for something that means they have failed to deliver on my existing service(billing or technical). That is not when I want to be asked about upgrading a currently unsatisfactory product. And having to barrel through a sales speech just to get a problem fixed is not something anyone should have to put up with, any other industry with true competitors would have them drummed out of business with that level of customer care.

I have worked at a few ISPs (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47708967)

This is totally normal for ISPs. up-selling, attempts to retain customers at any cost. At comcast it was pressed on our call center tech support guys fairly hard but moreso on customer service reps in the billing/accounts department. at AT&T there was literally a whole department called "the save team" who got financial incentives to retain customers. if you called to cancel, you would be put on the line with the save team. they could get credit for a save if they could transfer a customer back to technical support "oh, our tech guys can fix that problem for you and your service will be fine, plus i gave you a month credit" (or something to that affect). and then the tech staff would get this transferred call about how their printer didnt work. completely unrelated, and after being bounced around and on hold, then being told "uhhh. we cant help you with that", they got right pissed and demanded to cancel again. the save team rep, already got a notch on their saved belt but the customer still quit. it was a corrupt system right to the core :)

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709015)

hehe, I'm getting ready to cancel one of my PSTN lines soon. The DID has already been ported over to my voip account. How can I entertain these poor souls when I call to cancel my line and they try the upsell stuff?

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47709019)

Great example of the perverse incentives of capitalism. Selling provides a higher return than investing in technical innovation.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (1)

BarbaraHudson (3785311) | about 2 months ago | (#47709101)

Great example of the perverse incentives of capitalism. Selling provides a higher return than investing in technical innovation.

At least that's the perception of the bosses, which is why the programmers who create the product are regarded as simple "hired help, interchangeable, not worthy of respec, etc." See Dilbert. Or get a cattle prod (you can probably order one from the BOfH).

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47709121)

The idea of an ongoing struggle between results-oriented managers and technical visionaries is not new. Economist and sociologist Thorstein Veblen noted it in his 1904 book The Theory of Business Enterprise.1 Eighty-some years later, John Kenneth Galbraith cited Veblen's view to describe a dynamic still at work in a more modern economy:

"The businessmen, for good or ill, keep the talents and tendencies of the scientists and engineers under control and suppress them as necessary in order to maintain prices and maximize profits. From this view of the business firm, in turn, comes an obvious conclusion: somehow release those who are technically and imaginatively proficient from the restraints imposed by the business system and there will be unprecedented productivity and wealth in the economy."

From Bridging the Gap Between Stewards and Creators [mit.edu] .

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (1)

Amouth (879122) | about 2 months ago | (#47709519)

From this view of the business firm, in turn, comes an obvious conclusion: somehow release those who are technically and imaginatively proficient from the restraints imposed by the business system and there will be unprecedented productivity and wealth in the economy."

From Bridging the Gap Between Stewards and Creators [mit.edu] .

We had that for a short while, example would be bell labs.. then the business got greedy and killed innovation.

You know it's interesting when you look at organizations, people seem to think that innovation is focused in start-ups but once they get large you can't have it, but this just isn't true. If you look at a lot of the really successful organizations (compare Market Cap vs. Head count) you will see a trend where the culture values the thoughts and ideas of the engineers, the problem solvers, over that of the sales, market, MBA crowd. The business group is there to watch, and see what they can monetize, but they do not control the problem solvers, they just figure out how to sell what they are creating. (Apple, Google, Intel, + many more). Sadly it is just so damn rare that it says that way.. i applaud the few that have kept it going.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (2)

schnell (163007) | about 2 months ago | (#47709665)

example would be bell labs.. then the business got greedy and killed innovation.

The Slashdot crowd can't have their cake and eat it too. "Classic" Bell Labs did a tremendous amount of innovative research that transformed the telecommunications and computer industries. But they did it precisely because they were a regulated monopoly that had no competitors and fat, government-regulated margins. In essence, the old AT&T spent lavishly on Bell Labs projects that in many cases they not only didn't make money on but were actually forbidden (like UNIX) to make money on because they had no need to be competitive.

But on the flip side, everyone here seems to agree that monopolies are bad and competition is good. Which, for consumers and shareholders, I agree is ideal. But if you're looking for someone to subsidize basic research with little or no investment return potential, don't look to a competitive company to do it. Even Google's "research" is almost always connected to a profit-making initiative, although whether they actually bring it to market is a much different question.

So long story short - the old Bell Labs only made sense as a luxury that could be afforded by a monopoly that had cash to burn. If you want competition, you don't get businesses that can throw cash into a burn pit for the benefit of science.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (1)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47709685)

Xerox PARC didn't break even. But it contributed interfaces still in use.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47710137)

I have a new model for this that uses competition as a tool to encourage innovation.

As the telecoms industry is already regulated, regulate the money they can charge per customer. Just fix it at some level, be it high or low. The single customer always pays the same. Now, you do need several competing companies for this, so nationalize and monopolize the underlaying physical layer, (copper wires, cell towers etc.) This access is rented out by this monopoly to the service companies. They charge every company the same per customer, to ensure entry to the business isn't too costly. As in basic free market theory entry block to market ruin the free market. This is done to encourage easy entry to the business.

Now we have companies that have to charge every customer the same amount, and pay as much for the use of underlaying infrasturcture. How do they compete with eachothers? Price competition is out, you can't lock customers in. That only kinda leaves better quality and service.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709093)

Cablevision is just like that. Except "the save team" was called "retentions" internally but the subscriber be be told it was the disconnect department. I'm sure it is the same at other cable/ISP companies.
And that Training Materials isn't like some big secret. Most CSR's probably get something similar during their first few weeks of trainings, they just didn't care about it enough to 'leak' it.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (4, Interesting)

sheetsda (230887) | about 2 months ago | (#47709107)

"...attempts to retain customers at any cost."

I use this to my advantage.

1. A competing trash service sent me a flier offering the same service at about 60% of the price I was paying. The current service matched the price for 1 year. Even if they're not making a dime on me they're dividing their fuel cost one more way.

2. Last month I called Time Warner and told them I wanted them to match the introductory price of competing internet service (~75% of regular price for 1 year). They did. This is the second time I've had my price lowered to an introductory rate without being a new customer.

When these prices run out I'll call again and get the rate lowered again. Or I'll cancel and go to the competitor. Either way, these add up to about $360 saved this year for two 15-minute phone calls. Pretty good $/hr.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (3, Insightful)

rainmaestro (996549) | about 2 months ago | (#47709371)

Must be nice to have competitors. One ISP in my area that provides anything beyond DSL speeds. Bundled utilities that you can't split: water, sewer, stormwater, waste pickup and recycling all in one bill. Even if you go with WM privately, you still pay for county collection as part of your utility bill. Same for recycling.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47709925)

One ISP in my area that provides anything beyond DSL speeds.

DSL isn't dial-up. I don't see why people act like 5Mbps internet access is unacceptable, substandard and inhuman.

Besides, they know people want better, and keep their prices low to compensate... That should help you negotiate a better deal with your cable company, who doesn't know you really want the higher speeds.

Re:I have worked at a few ISPs (1)

Technician (215283) | about 2 months ago | (#47709751)

I used this to ditch them.

When they were the monopoly high speed provider in my neighborhood, they tried to push the Triple Play package even though I was set on Internet Only. As a new customer, they had a $100 connection fee where the teck comes out to "Verify" the connection and assist with router install. Could not get the fee waived for a self install even though I already had a router, wireless set up, NAS, Net printers, etc. Modem was an Actiontech Dual PC modem, so the only item need to connect was unplug the router from one modem and connect the other.

Connected under protest of the excess fees. Ran into their throtteling of torrents where they start fast, slow to a crawl and never finsih even after running for days on a small file.

Ran into their begging to upgrade all the time.

As soon as DSL arrived in my neighborhood, I switched. Improved speed from 2 meg to 6 meg for a reduction in cost of $20 plus a comptetive switchover bonus of $100. Self install was painless Punched 1 DSL filter in at the Demarc so I didn't have in home stubs to the various phones and filters on each phone.. (RF Transmission line basics)

They have tried to sway me back with their Xfinity product. It may be faster, but I'll take functanality over speed. Netflix doesn't stop to buffer. The 3 VOIP lines don't cut out (not throttled to upsell POTS instead.) or other games. When comcast calls, I tell them they blew their chance as customer retention efforts were non existant forcing me to flee at first chance. Please explain why I would want to try that again?

  If my DSL provider doesn't abuse me, they can retain me. They must be proactive in retention efforts.

Anecdote (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47709041)

I recently had to get my cable TV fixed, as the cable box wasn't syncing for more than a minute after being plugged in. After about six calls the "customer account executive" finally determined that I should bring the box in and swap it. During the last of these six calls, the rep asked me if I wanted to upgrade to 105 Mbps Internet. I told him my computers are too low-end to make good use of that, and when I see speed problems, it's usually on the other side. I forget what else I had to embellish my "no thanks" with to get him to back off.

Dead end job (1)

sinij (911942) | about 2 months ago | (#47709089)

T1 call center is a dead-end job that nobody does by choice. Who cares what the performance goals are, do they fire for not up selling? yes/no

Re:Dead end job (1)

scoticus (1303689) | about 2 months ago | (#47709131)

you may not get fired for not selling, but they will certainly find a reason if they want to get rid of you. And then they will fight your unemployment claim tooth and nail. Source: my own experience. I won the unemployment claim btw, after two appeals and an appearance in front of a judge type guy.

Re:Dead end job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709815)

There needs to be actual criminal penalties associated with HR reps handing in false evidence and adjudicators openly advocating for the employers. Ultimately the system is so incurably corrupt that it needs to be nuked from orbit.

Re:Dead end job (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709323)

T1 call center is a dead-end job that nobody does by choice. Who cares what the performance goals are, do they fire for not up selling? yes/no

There are many things I can say to this post, not the least of which would be that some of my greatest accomplishments started with this 'Dead end job'. Some time back I started to work for Clear as T1 tech, working my way up through to the senior tier supporting the techs that supported the customer base, then onward to working in the service-desk, developing their knowledge base(which eventually expanded to support the entire enterprise), launching an initiative to better regulate the implementation of new systems and ensure appropriate support, and eventually worked my way up to a role of administrating the core ITSM Platform in the company. I can tell you that working a Tier1 position in a call center is as far from dead-end as you can get, you only have to choose to work hard and forge a path to where you want to be.

With that said, I can tell you a few tings about call-center policy when it comes to up-selling and metrics. T1 call center metrics are driven as much by how well the customers are supported as they are by how well the techs promote the services to the customer. Up-selling a customer on new service is held as impactive as it is to the agents metrics due to it increasing the ongoing revenue to the company for that customer. An agent who successfully and consistently up-sells, whether on purpose or just by general practice, is far more valuable to the company and thus receives higher ratings. While it can be argued that the job of a T1 Tech Support agent isn't to up-sell, it is regarded as a prime position to be able to do so. I won't defend it myself as I don't agree with it, however, I can't refute that it is responsible for a good amount of revenue.

Back to the metrics though; Your question was whether they fire or not for an agent which doesn't up-sell. I can't speak for all ISPs but I can say that in the case of the one that I worked for, there were agents released for insufficient up-selling in their performance reviews. With that being said, those agents were also very weak in other areas which contributed to this. It was expected that you would at minimum probe for opportunities, regardless of up-selling something. In the case of the company I worked for, it was driven by the perception that we wanted to offer the customer any service they could benefit from (which of course could also make us money.. lol). Failing to do this could potentially lead to being released for failing to meet performance objectives, though this was more often connected to already low performance metrics from a poorly performing tech (read: "if you can't fix anything... you could at least try to up-sell a router to be worth us paying you").

TLDR? 1) No, T1 work is never a dead end unless you're lazy, 2) Yes, in some cases a T1 agent can be released for not up-selling if its part of his/her performance objectives.

Empathize (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709095)

It's when the customer rep. tries to empathize that pushes me over the edge, even if it's the beginning of the call. It makes it look like they are untrained.

Rediculous, but nothing new (4, Interesting)

scoticus (1303689) | about 2 months ago | (#47709103)

I worked tech support for Time Warner about 5 years ago. We were not 'required' to sell, but we were most certainly pushed to. We were reminded constantly, and people who did sell a lot were praised while the rest of us got the 'why aren't you more like this guy?' treatment. Our calls were randomly selected for review, and if there wasn't 'sufficient' effort put into selling, we were criticized heavily. In these reviews, it seems selling was weighted more heavily than whether we actually solved the issue properly or according to procedure, since nobody really gave you guff for failing to satisfy a customer's tech needs as long as you didn't piss them off. You would think that sending onsite techs out to jobs that could have been solved over the phone would get you in trouble. But as long as you sell, sell, sell, you got a gold freakin star. You ever wonder why you are on hold for so long? Because techs are trying to sell shit after they fix the customer's problem instead of hanging up the damn phone and taking the next call. Multiply that by 30+ calls per tech, 3 or so minutes per call, and you see what a giant waste of time that is. I left that horrible job after six months. I spoke with one of my old coworkers who lasted a little longer than I did, and he said nearly half of the 'veteran' techs left shortly after I had, some of them quite spectacularly. ID badges were thrown, "fuck this sales bullshit" was heard often. These bloody companies have dedicated sales staff, why load down techs with this shit?

Re:Rediculous, but nothing new (1)

MBC1977 (978793) | about 2 months ago | (#47709599)

Because techs can provide targeted and pertinent up-sell suggestions to customers due to being onsite and being able to see exactly what a customer needs. (Full disclosure, I resigned from TWC not to long ago). Hate to beat a dead horse, but a good tech who also understands the sales process and how they can assist in it; is far more valuable to the company (any company), than just a plain tech guy who fixes the issue and moves on.

If you don't up-sell, your competitor will.

Re:Rediculous, but nothing new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47710181)

As a customer, if you try to push your shit when all I need is some techy thing done your competitor will get a new customer. I know I'm in a minority, and a majority of people will just sheepishly buy anything they are being offered, but damn, maybe some company want the niche audience that doesn't take bullshit.

Protection plan` (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709105)

For fifty dollars more you can get out Ass Rape Plan

Leaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709129)

The only way to do business properly is to find out what people need and want and fulfill their expectations.

Comcast is a leach. I'm glad I never was in their service area and never needed their 'services'.

Re:Leaches (2)

blue trane (110704) | about 2 months ago | (#47709207)

Why does capitalism reward leaches so lucratively?

Re:Leaches (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709399)

You think this is Capitalism?

'probing' customers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709189)

I thought that only happened with the aliens?

Re:'probing' customers (1)

Livius (318358) | about 2 months ago | (#47709237)

Hang on a minute - where does Comcast recruit from?

Comcast training materials? (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47709199)

What type is the blood, and how do they get the organ and speakers compact enough to install in a call center?

Is there an counter to this? (2)

paiute (550198) | about 2 months ago | (#47709203)

Does anyone have a script a customer can stick to when dealing with Comcast?

Re:Is there an counter to this? (1)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | about 2 months ago | (#47709251)

Does anyone have a script a customer can stick to when dealing with Comcast?

The Comcast call center script, with points values, was leaked a while ago. If you want to annoy the other person then you can just read off what number and the section heading as they go through it.

Just don't forget to record the call, otherwise they'll do things like charge you for something that they said was free [techdirt.com] .

Re:Is there an counter to this? (5, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47709365)

Does anyone have a script a customer can stick to when dealing with Comcast?

I used to work in and run call centers for years. (don't anymore, but I manage software that's used in them in some ways) They want to make money off you. You want them to do what you want? Cost them money. The following works every time, I do it myself.
The key is to:
A: Do not be reasonable or polite, they count on that. Remember you're in the midst of a con. The person you're talking to is reading a scripted con, that they relies on you being polite and normal. Being not polite and not normal ruins the process.
B: Do not get upset or use poor language, that's a free ticket to hang up on you. Passive aggressive is the key here.
C: Waste as much of their time as possible.
D: Never let them put you on hold. That gives them a mental break, this is a test of endurance. They've been it for hours, you're fresh and can eat chips and drink soda while you ruin their day.

For example, if you want to disconnect.
Comcast: Thanks for calling in... long nonsense fill speech later... How can I help you?
You: I would like to disconnect my service effective immediately, if you waste my time and/or do anything other than disconnect me immediately, I will request a supervisor, I will accept nothing less than a supervisor, I will not allow you to put me on hold, and I will make this call miserable for the both of us until my service has been satisfactorily disconnected.
*at this point 90% of agents will just do it and take the hit on their stats to not deal with you, but if they wont, read on*
Comcast: I'm sorry to hear that sir, but I will have to transfer you to our disconnect department...
You: *cut them off* Please get your supervisor, do not put me on hold. Thank you.
Comcast: But my supervisor can't...
You:You're wasting both of our time, call your supervisor over, I'd like to speak to them immediately. Inform them that if THEY can't disconnect my service, I'll be asking for their manager as well. This will continue until my service is disconnected, I will not be put on hold.

I doubt the supervisor will even get on the phone. Continue down this path, ask for higher and higher level supervisors. There is a chance you will run into a hardass. Don't worry, take down his name, hang up, call back, get someone else. You're shooting for the weakest link. You will find it, they will get sick of talking to you. You'll ruin their stats for the night and they will eventually just say "Screw it" and give you what you want. Their stats are the only measure by which they keep their jobs. You're a loss either way by acting like this so eventually they'll take the hit on the Sale/disco instead of letting you screw up their call times or keep the manager from browsing Slashdot. Remember, the person you're talking to doesn't hate you, doesnt like doing what they are doing and doesn't care if you buy anything. They are required to keep their average call times under X minuites, to make Y sales per month, to have under Z disconnects. Make it clear which stats they are not going to be able to save on this call and which ones they could make up for them on... namely, this could be a very short call and they could stop talking to you, who's clearly unhinged sooner.

Re:Is there an counter to this? (5, Informative)

timholman (71886) | about 2 months ago | (#47709765)

For example, if you want to disconnect.
Comcast: Thanks for calling in... long nonsense fill speech later... How can I help you?
You: I would like to disconnect my service effective immediately, if you waste my time and/or do anything other than disconnect me immediately, I will request a supervisor, I will accept nothing less than a supervisor, I will not allow you to put me on hold, and I will make this call miserable for the both of us until my service has been satisfactorily disconnected.
*at this point 90% of agents will just do it and take the hit on their stats to not deal with you, but if they wont, read on*
Comcast: I'm sorry to hear that sir, but I will have to transfer you to our disconnect department...
You: *cut them off* Please get your supervisor, do not put me on hold. Thank you.
Comcast: But my supervisor can't...
You:You're wasting both of our time, call your supervisor over, I'd like to speak to them immediately. Inform them that if THEY can't disconnect my service, I'll be asking for their manager as well. This will continue until my service is disconnected, I will not be put on hold.

This is way too much effort, unless you happen to enjoy yanking some chains over the phone.

Here's how you quit Comcast:

(1) Disconnect every piece of Comcast equipment in your home.
(2) Load it in a box, and put the box in your car.
(3) Drive to the nearest Comcast customer center.
(4) Dump the box on the counter and tell the rep: "I wish to terminate my service immediately."

No one will argue with you. You have completely bypassed Comcast's customer retention process by doing this. Pay the amount due on your bill, get a receipt with a complete list of the equipment you've turned in, then go home.

Re:Is there an counter to this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709831)

I was going to say this as well. I had Charter TV -- went to the local Charter office with the cable box and remote, returned the equipment, signed off on it. Done and done. They have far less wiggle room when you're standing there in-person.

Re:Is there an counter to this? (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 2 months ago | (#47709901)

call your supervisor over, I'd like to speak to them immediately. Inform them that if THEY can't disconnect my service, I'll be asking for their manager as well

There's no legal obligation for them to transfer you to their supervisor. You can ask a dozen times, and the "supervisor" or "manager" you get, will keep being the guy in the next cubicle over.

http://www.icmi.com/Resources/... [icmi.com]

Re:Is there an counter to this? (2)

spiritplumber (1944222) | about 2 months ago | (#47710043)

I go for the "befuddled foreigner" approach.

"Please cut service. I no pay."

"Please cut service. I no pay."

"Please cut service. I no pay."

"Please cut service. I no pay."

"Thanks you. Glory to Artsozka!"

Re:Is there an counter to this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47710061)

Having worked in a similar environment I'd say that you are only partly on target. The problem I see with your approach here is that you're implying that initiating management escalations up the technical support side of the house will result in a cancellation. I can't speak for Comcast but in our environment that would be completely and entirely pointless as the access to perform a cancellation was completely out of scope from what tech support was able to do. Had you attempted this with the company I was with you would have eventually been transferred over to the cancellation department whether you wanted it or not... or you'd have just been disconnected with your account noted to have you transferred to cancellation when you called in next.

Another item with respect to your escalation tactic; I was a member of the senior support team which also handled corporate escalations. We were granted absolute authority to pretty much tell you no, in no uncertain terms. Your tactic of escalation would have just eventually reached us, and we would have happily, and gleefully told you no, and advised you to speak with the appropriate department. Escalating over us would only result in being routed to an executive who would explain that we were the final authority. While I appreciate the enthusiasm with which you like to escalate, I would have just put you on mute, discussed your case, and advised you that you options were to either speak with the correct department to cancel your service, or continue to use it.

Dealing with stubborn customers was almost as much fun as handling AUP and DMCA notifications. Yes, we did those manually by phone. :}

Bottom line, being nice would have gotten your account cancelled in about 5 minutes. Escalating, you'd have wasted about an hour and accomplished nothing by the time you got what you wanted. Either way, I'd have been happily enjoying my coffee.

Re:Is there an counter to this? (1)

iCEBaLM (34905) | about 2 months ago | (#47710153)

A: Do not be reasonable or polite, they count on that. Remember you're in the midst of a con.

No, no, no, a hundred times no. Always, always, always be polite first. Even FLAs (front line agents) have small, non-inconsequential, amounts of power that can cause you headaches. If you are rude and/or a dick right off the bat, they can do things like screw with your account, or "forget" to document some important part of the call that can cause you a lot of pain down the road to fix. There are times to get belligerent, the beginning of the call is *not* one of them.

B: Do not get upset or use poor language, that's a free ticket to hang up on you.

This is true, almost all companies instruct their phone monkeys that they do not have to take verbal abuse from a customer. Most institute a "three strikes" rule, where if you warn a customer twice and they continue then you are free to disconnect.

C: Waste as much of their time as possible.

Again, no. This is a high stress job. Wasting time for the sake of wasting time will just piss them off more and give them less incentive to help you, and possibly an incentive to fuck with you.

D: Never let them put you on hold.

There are times when FLAs *have* to put you on hold. The two main reasons are to transfer the call, or to speak to a (mentor | senior | team lead | supervisor | group coordinator | authorizer | ). Transfers are pretty self explanatory, however as someone who doesn't understand how call centers work, speaking to a supervisor may not be. There are various reasons why an FLA may need to speak to one without prompting from a customer, usually it's to obtain authorization of some kind. FLAs fuck up a lot, it's just part of human nature. When you have so many of them, it happens, because of this there are usually a smaller group of second level agents (I've seen ratios as low as 25:1 and as high as 50:1), that can go by various different designations, that FLAs can contact for help, or FLAs are *required* to contact to get an authorization to do something. Everything is monitored in a call center, maybe the FLAs have been sending out too many replacement cable modems lately, or maybe there is a company edict that credits of a certain amount must be authorized by second level agents. They need to put you on hold to do this, they can't do it while the line is active, period, because technically customers aren't supposed to even know these second level agents exist, and if you ask for one, you will never get one.

The best advice I can give, is to just state what you want, if it's not being delivered, ask for a supervisor. If the agent offers any kind of upsell, just decline it politely.

Re:Is there an counter to this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709881)

Does anyone have a script a customer can stick to when dealing with Comcast?

Here you go:

CSR: I see you only have two of our crappy, overpriced services. Perhaps you'd like our other one? We have a great promotion this week. We'll actually give you 3ml of lube while we rape you. It's really a great deal!

Customer: Is the crappy service actually working now?

CSR: [snickers]...As good as it's going to get. Did you know that if you increase the speed of our crappy service by .07%, we'll only charge you 80% more? You won't get a deal like that from anyone else!

Customer: You know, when I was fucking your wife last night, she mentioned that promotion. She was really happy with the $0.15 tip I gave her after jizzing in her eyes. Perhaps I'll go over some of the promotional materials you have on your coffee table after I fuck your daughter up the ass tonight. And you thought you were the only one who got to do that? Silly boy.

Try that. If nothing else, the CSR won't be trying to upsell you any more. :)

It could be worse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709239)

UPS required internal techs to try upsell when they only would talk to internal employees...

Man was that place a hell hole.

/. forgets to remember Robin Williams (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709267)

but it can push several MS stories right on through.

/. forgets to remember Robin Williams (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709345)

Nothing of value was lost.

Tech Support.... (5, Interesting)

SlowCanuck (1692198) | about 2 months ago | (#47709313)

I used to work for Fedex tech support - we were supposed to: - Have the call answered by the second ring - Not up sell anything - Be polite and courteous at all times - Troubleshoot anything that is wrong with the computer - the job started back in the day before all software had TCP/IP, and we had to dial in, Oh and Win95 was supported. - All our calls were to be logged and notes made for helping the next guy if they ever called in again. In the same building we had AT&T WorldNet, they had to: - Not answer unless the customer was on hold for at least 1/2 and hour - Priority was given to new customers setting up - When they closed for the night - all calls were left in Que and answered in the morning, if still there. For some reason AT&T always had openings?!?

I'd love to see a customer lawyer up (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 2 months ago | (#47709495)

Someone moves to an area where Comcast is basically the only game in town for broadband, and at every step of their signing up for residential service, they have their lawyer in tow, reading and challenging everything. "Equipment rental, no, early termination fee, that's not going to work for us..."

.

I spent 3 hours trying to upgrade service... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709529)

I spent 3 hours trying to just upgrade my TV service and being told repeatedly that my only option was the triple play package, after 4 or 5 phone calls and various web chat idiots I got someone to actually do it:
http://g0thicicecream.wordpress.com/2014/08/17/oh-woe-is-comcast-customer-service/

Re:I spent 3 hours trying to upgrade service... (1)

onproton (3434437) | about 2 months ago | (#47709749)

All the major telecoms have been trying to push landline services on their consumers - every single time I get new service or transfer they tell me I "have" to get a phone line because it's cheaper. In what world does that make sense?

Verizon stopped offering dry-line DSL about 2 years ago and forces all their customers to also pay for phone service - not because of technical implications, mind you, solely because they want it to look like people are using it, and they can do whatever the hell they want because no one is competing with them.

Re:I spent 3 hours trying to upgrade service... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47709809)

you big fault was holding on to a cable box for 1+ year unused that may of dropped off of the system or that you where in area of Chicago land that still had a big analog lineup. I also think that in the past parts of the city of Chicago systems had most of the analog lineup scrambled. But the city of systems where on of the first Comcast systems to go all digital.

Comcast found a way to really rip off most of Chicago land and did some odd stuff. In some areas in the past

TCM is limited basic in some areas and in preferred in others. (not any more)

AS some systems (but not all) in the area have speed in the sports pack. out side of chiagoland land on comcast it is in Analog / digital expanded basic?

some systems had

also is sci-fi in comcast digital preferred / classic. (costs about the same as Direct tv HD DVR) to get hd dvr on comcast add $15-$20/m per box.
out side of chiagoland land on comcast it is in Analog / digital expanded basic. (back in 2007-2009)

the real killer was where they where doing the big analog to digital about half way though it they changed it so you did not get CLTV on the DTA's. But that also meant that you lost most CSN + games unless you got a full SD or better cable box at $6-$8 a TV.
At the same time WOW cable had CSN and CSN + on analog. The DTA where billed as get the same as your old analog lineup. As for why they did not give CSN + SD it's own channle was very odd as the HD one (took over the old MOJO HD for part time needs) that just shows looping help videos. useing cltv for over flow dates back to the old sports channel days.

It get odder later on as when CLTV added an HD feed RCN seemed to put in there CSN + HD slot (they also have both an CLTV SD and an CSN + SD slot).

Comcast did not add the HD feed of CLTV or spilt off CSN + to it's own channel. (other then a few events / games that have been on CN101)

also other systems that did not have CLTV even doing the time CLTV was Comcast only still had ALL CSN feeds. There was even an time where both att-uverse and directv had 3 live HD feeds of CSN CHI (there where 3 live games on at the same time) but Comcast only had 2 in HD.

Re:I spent 3 hours trying to upgrade service... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47709835)

more about Comcast

http://www.dslreports.com/foru... [dslreports.com]

the Chicago area was even more a odd ball as in the past the old digital pack (that had some of the old analog channels moved to digital along time ago) became preferred or classic. That was before DTA and analog and digital channels having the same number Then (in the city of systems) killed alot of the analog but did not move the channel numbers but the rest of Chicago land lost some analogs to digital where you had to pay more + about $5 per tv for the box.

Not suprised (2)

Munchr (786041) | about 2 months ago | (#47709801)

I'm not surprised at this, it is par for the course for many telephone support agents. I used to do telephone support for Hewlett Packard, until they let me go because I couldn't meet the sales quotas. Not because customers disliked me, not because I couldn't fix customers pc's, but because I couldn't meet a goal of $80.00-$100.00 average revenue per call. Most companies treat their support departments as a revenue drain, since the price of support is no longer built into the purchase price of the item sold in the race to reach the cheapest prices to gain market share. In the case of Comcast, it's pure profit since they overcharge on the services anyway.

FIRST fix the problem. Happy customers buy more (0)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47709805)

In my business, about 90% of customers who called to cancel ended up buying more, and leaving happy.
The difference is, we solve their problem, make them a HAPPY customer, THEN see what more we can offer that further meets their needs.

Here's a typical call:

Customer: I want to cancel.
Me: Sure, no problem. While I do that, I'm curious, is there something about the product that wasn't meeting your needs?
C: Your product doesn't do X.
Me: Oh, yes, that is important. Our product can actually do that for you, one second ...
[keyboard tapping]
Me: You're now configured for X, and the cool thing about the way we do X is ...
C: Oh, uhm, that's cool I guess.
Me: If you ever want to do X++, we can certainly do that for you too.
C: That's pretty cool. I never knew you could do that.
Me: Our product has a lot of features that aren't immediately obvious, so if there's ever anything you need, just let us know and we can probably help you.
C: Hidden features? Like what?
Me: Y, and Z are kind of handy. Come to think of it, since you said you want to do X, you might want to do ABC with that. Last week we just released an addon that does ABC.
C: Gee, I could really use ABC. How do I get that addon?

Reasonable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709875)

Their manual looks pretty reasonable - I think all of the complaints are about agents that don't follow the guidelines, which are pretty complicated.

Very normal (2)

Orgasmatron (8103) | about 2 months ago | (#47709897)

And has been for decades. Every customer contact is a sales opportunity. EVERY contact.

After the dot com bust (the first one), I had bills to pay, so I ended up in a call center for the local cable company. It wasn't quite the low point of my life, but it was in the running.

The call center was brand new, and the high speed data side was briefly allowed to operate normally, but soon company politics pushed out the (technical) director, and replaced him with a MBA (and EEOC-bingo winner).

We were all trained to sell, instructed to sell on every call, and evaluated on selling. This was policy from day one, but widely ignored in my department until the MBA took over.

I earned a reputation for solving problems. Incompetent or uncaring employees would fail to fix things over and over again, pissing off customers. After months of continuing problems, they would call to yell. Usually, they'd end up getting more excuses and empty promises. Sometimes they'd get me (or one of a handful of other fixers).

I'd mute my microphone until they were done venting, then I'd figure out what the hell was wrong, and get it fixed, often with a generous service credit to appease them for the months that we'd dicked them around.

Over a few months, I solved hundreds of problems (some going back for many months or years), probably prevented at least a couple of suicides (monopoly, it was us or nothing) and maybe a mass shooting or two (yes, some of them really were that angry).

One thing I know for sure is that none of those problem calls wanted a fucking sales pitch. "Mr. Smith, now that I've fixed the problem that has prevented you from using the service that you've been paying for these last six months, and you've put your guns away, can I upsell you into a premium package?" Yeah, right. Maybe they'd be interested in an upgrade in a few months, after we'd re-established a bit of trust, but not right away.

One of my randomly selected evaluation calls happened to be one of my problem calls. The recording followed the call through our system, so it started with 20 minutes of him yelling at one of the sales girls, then her calling me in tears asking to transfer the call, then him yelling at me, then me figuring out the problem and fixing it, then him thanking me, almost in tears himself.

I had an awesome score on that call, but still failed the review because selling was mandatory. I told my supervisor that he'd better screen my review calls from then on because I had no intention of following the policy. He could either run interference for me and keep me around until one of my interviews panned out, or he could write me up for my second and third strikes as they came up.

I was gone before my next review came up, so I have no idea what he decided.

I kept in touch with some friends, and still lived in their service area. The call center went downhill from there. They switched to a voice attendant, so even the people that were happy when they dialed their phones were pissed off by the time they managed to talk to a human. I know I always was. (At first they had a backdoor, swearing three times would get you to a human quickly, but word got out and they disabled that feature.)

Moving to a non-monopoly town (three[!] fiber lines in my yard! 75 meg up/down for cheap!) was the wisest move of my internet life.

First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47709943)

Let me be the first to say "Fuck Verizon".

Almost all tech support requires upselling (2)

iCEBaLM (34905) | about 2 months ago | (#47710033)

I've worked in the telephone tech support business for 10 years. I have performed tech support for fortune 500 companies you would instantly recognize.

towards the half-way point of my stint, upselling became a *required* part of the job, a metric on which your performance was measured.

First incentives were put in place to weed out those who didn't upsell: shift bids started being held every 90 days instead of "as the business needs dictated" with top sellers given first picks. This caused those who didn't sell to get terrible shifts, requiring many to quit due to life obligations.

Then those who failed to sell were given bad reviews, causing them to lose out on annual salary increases.

When I left poor sellers were being written up, put on notice, and eventually terminated.

Note, that positions these people were initially hired for were inbound technical support jobs with no mention of selling anything. These people would be manning the technical support lines for major corporations that you have heard of, and no one calling any of them would expect to be given any kind of sales pitch.

Hey Pal! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47710113)

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