Comcast’s Nightmare: The Rude Awakening of the Customer Service Industry

 by Chelsea Riffe

We’ve all heard it. The awful, abrasive, rude, and frankly frightening 8-minutes between Comcast (ex)customer Ryan Block and a now infamous Comcast Customer Service rep. Ryan Block, the customer, was trying to disconnect his service over the phone. Usually, this is a process that takes about 2 minutes tops. What Ryan block shared was 8 minutes long, and that was the second half of his call. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can listen to it here.

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 7.01.30 PM

Figure 1: Mashable.com

I took time out of my nightly routine to listen to this 8-minute video that went viral in nearly 24 hours. When I listened to it, I was astonished and almost mad; if this had happened to me, I would be LIVID. I would probably start arguing with the rep and lose my mind. This guy kept his cool and stayed pretty respectful the whole time.

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Figure 2: Mashable.com

At first I thought about all the awful things I would say to this guy and give him a piece of my mind. But then I remembered, there are two sides to every story, and since we’ve been discussing storytelling, I realized this weirdly related.

I’m in sales, and I know how frustrating it is to lose a repeat client. It’s disheartening and a bruise to the ego. However, Comcast runs a pretty tight ship. When a current customer cancels their subscription, it affects the Customer Service rep’s “scorecard”, and ultimately commission. But it goes beyond a slap on the wrist from upper management. It exposes how Comcast trains its representatives. Yes, this guy was pretty out of line, and sounded argumentative instead of convincing. Again, the bigger guy to blame here is the corporate machine of Comcast. Being in sales, they tell you you’re a storyteller. They tell you that you can’t lose customers. They tell you to deliver an invaluable customer experience so that you retain clients. But with the ample amount of complaints about Comcast’s customer service, it seems as though they tell their customer service reps a different tale…do anything you can to survive.

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Figure 3: Mashable.com

This video went viral, and while many people found it almost comical that an employee could act like this, others knew the truth. That guy had been trained to hang on to any last bit of hope to keep its customer. Scrolling through the comments, you can see that many people sympathized with the now infamous employee. They understood his POV. They worked in the industry. But one thing they all agreed on was that the mastermind behind this awful training was the upper management at Comcast.

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Figure 4: Mashable.com

            As I mentioned there’s two sides to every story. As much as I disagree with how awful the guy in the video treated Ryan Block, I do understand the microscope he’s under. And as we are learning about storytelling in class, I challenge you to look at everything from both sides, to get a broader understanding of the whole story.

References

Stark, C. (2014, July 15). Comcast rep stonewalls customer in cancellation request gone awry. Mashable. Retrieved July 16, 2014, from http://mashable.com/2014/07/14/comcast-customer-service-ryan/

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One thought on “Comcast’s Nightmare: The Rude Awakening of the Customer Service Industry

  1. I worked in a department store for 2 years, and all I can say is that the people who have higher ranked positions do not look at people under them as anyone “special”. Instead, they look at them as replaceable labor. My experience is similar to the customer service guy that works for Comcast. I’m sure he was told to not ever lose customers as if it were his fault in the first place. If Comcast is not providing adequate service, then the customer reps should not be at fault for it. In my old department store, the customers would look at me like I was responsible for negative experiences with the company or the products. With that in mind, I don’t think the Comcast service rep is solely to be blamed. Because we’re dealing with a bigger problem that doesn’t have to do with cancelling a service.

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