Comcast’s Customer Service Call From Hell: Just How Does This Sort Of Thing Happen?

Not to revel too much in schadenfreude, but Comcast’s recent “customer service call from hell” embarrassment is the sort of thing that will make your day if you’ve ever had to deal with the company. What’s not funny, though, is the culture that underlies the aggressive customer retention tactics you heard on that phone call, as Inquisitr found out upon digging a bit further into the matter.

As Inquisitr reported yesterday, Comcast wound up with egg on its face when customer Ryan Block recorded and posted online the latter half of a roughly 20-minute attempt at getting Comcast to cancel his service. If you haven’t heard it yet, the call is… well, let’s just say Block’s patience should get him onto the shortlist for sainthood.

On the SoundCloud page hosting the recorded call, Block says that the conversation with the Comcast rep was “oppressive.” He calls the rep “condescending and unhelpful,” and says that it was apparent that the only answer the Comcast rep would be willing to take was “Okay, please don’t disconnect our service at after all.”

Comcast, of course, has issued the requisite apologies, and Motherboard notes that Comcast says they’re investigating the call. According to the Comcast, Block’s experience was “unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives.”

Mmmmhmm. Okay.

Here’s the thing, though: If you couldn’t tell by Block jumping online and relating his Comcast story, you should know that we live in the Age of the Internet, where people can jump online and tell their Comcast stories. There’s the old joke of the Comcast cable guy showing up some time between Wednesday and the heat death of the universe, of course, but you might also want to check out this Reddit thread, where users relate Comcast horror stories of terrible service, endless automatic phone loops, and more.

Comcast South Park
South Park got the Comcast customer service experience pretty much on point.

Still, those aren’t the worst bits of the thread. The worst is one post in particular, from a user that claims to have worked at Comcast for nearly a decade. The glimpse that user gives into Comcast’s inner workings is a bit horrifying, and it goes a long way toward explaining why that service call was so atrocious.

“When you call in to disconnect,” he writes, “you get routed to Comcast’s Retention Department, their job is to try to keep you. The guy on the phone is a Retention Specialist”

The poster admits that the Comcast rep Block encountered went “a little too hard at it” in trying to get Block to keep his service active, but he notes that the way Comcast pays these specialists makes that sort of aggressive “service” nearly unavoidable.

“These [Comcast reps] fight tooth and nail to keep every customer because if they don’t meet their numbers they don’t get paid.

Comcast uses ‘Gates’ for their incentive pays, which means that if you fall below a certain threshold… then instead of getting a reduced amount, you get [nothing]…

This guy went too far, you’re not supposed to flat out argue with them. But Comcast literally provides an incentive for this kind of behavior. It’s the same reason people’s [Comcast bills] are always [messed] up, people stuffing them with things they don’t need or in some cases don’t even agree to.”

As this is the internet, pretty much anyone can get online and say pretty much whatever they want, but this poster does point to a post from a year ago in which he mentioned that he was a Comcast employee, so he’s either telling the truth or really committed to the bit.

The takeaway: You’re not alone in your suffering with Comcast. Comcast and Time Warner are already the most hated companies in America, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Time Warner grabbed the worst score ever by a company, and Comcast scored only a point higher. The reasons for those abysmal scores:

“High prices, poor reliability, and declining customer service,” are sinking Comcast’s rating, according to the ACSI.

The best part of all this? Comcast and Time Warner are trying to seal a $42.5 billion merger bid. That’s right: the two most hated companies in the United States are trying to join into… let’s just call it a Voltron of Suckitude. Comcastic!