In an ideal world, canceling cable would go something like this…
Hello, my name is Bob Willis and I’d like to cancel my cable services. / Ok, Bob. Have a nice day. / You too, completely helpful and non-confrontational customer service representative.
Of course, we don’t live in this world. Instead, we all live in a depressing hellscape where canceling cable goes like this:
Ok, even I’ll admit that what happened to that guy was a bit extreme. You probably recall that cancellation call going viral last week, used as exhibit A for what’s broken and utterly f*cked up about our dependence on the cord. After listening to that hellish ordeal, one of the first things that likely hit your dumbfounded brain was geez, that’s painful to listen to.
Well, apparently you’re not alone. Comcast’s COO Dave Watson also thought that was rather painful.
“First, let me say that while I regret that this incident occurred, the experience that this customer had is not representative of the good work that our employees are doing. We have tens of thousands of incredibly talented and passionate people interacting with our customers every day, who are respectful, courteous and resourceful. That said, it was painful to listen to this call, and I am not surprised that we have been criticized for it. Respecting our customers is fundamental, and we fell short in this instance.”
That comes from a leaked internal memo, obtained by Consumerist, sent out to Comcast employees earlier this week. In it, Watson laments the now infamous viral customer service call, but says that it’s not indicative of the good work most of Comcast’s customer service agents (retention professionals (last-ditch salesmen)) are doing.
But it is indicative of the corporate culture. Watson continues…
“The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him — and thousands of other Retention agents — to do. He tried to save a customer, and that’s important, but the act of saving a customer must always be handled with the utmost respect. This situation has caused us to reexamine how we do some things to make sure that each and every one of us — from leadership to the front line — understands the balance between selling and listening. And that a great sales organization always listens to the customer, first and foremost.”
The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him — and thousands of other Retention agents — to do.
I think the problem is there is no balance between listening and selling. Selling is the only priority, especially when your job depends on it. When your pay is tied to retaining a customer, it’s not surprising that every once in a while, desperation would get the better of you.