On Monday night, tech journalist Ryan Block posted a recording of his long and gruelling conversation with a Comcast representative as he tried to cancel his subscription.
The representative demanded to know why Block wanted to cancel his service, and wouldn’t move forward with the process until he recieved an answer.
This type of behaviour is typical for representatives at Comcast, a former employee told Business Insider. The source, who claims to have worked at Comcast for more than two years in the company’s retention department, asked to remain anonymous.
“They make you do that,” our source said. “You have to follow a certain path. And if you don’t follow it, you can be written up. They will make up something like, ‘You didn’t ask this question,’ or ‘You should have done that.’ That was an average retention representative he was on the phone with,” our source said in reference to the call.
This is just one source, so treat it with some scepticism. We’ve reached out to Comcast to talk about what this person said, but Comcast didn’t respond.
The source described Block’s conversation as a “typical call at Comcast.” The company reportedly uses tactics that make it difficult for customers to understand the situation to keep customers paying higher bills, according to our source.
A rep could be incentivized to agitate customers into ending the call, our source said. If the conversation ends, a customer can’t cancel his or her service. Often times, a customer will get annoyed, hang up, and just pay the bill even if he or she believes it’s inaccurate to make the situation disappear, the former employee tells Business Insider.
A representative will sometimes hang up the phone just to make it so the customer can’t cancel, says our source.
“I’m surprised that the rep didn’t actually hang up on the customer,” our source said. “Because inside that company, it if it was between the dates of the 22nd [of the previous month] and the 21st, [that’s] the commission period. If it’s closer to the 21, that means it’s going to affect his numbers if he hangs up. And 9 times out of 10, that call happens around that time. Because he was pushing him not to disconnect [his service]. That’s how money works inside of Comcast.”
Again, this is one person talking about Comcast, so it’s possible this is what one person heard, not everyone at the company.
Yesterday, Comcast issued a statement in response to the way Block’s call was handled. Comcast said it was “embarrassed” and is currently investigating the situation. Here’s the full statement:
We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologise. The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action. While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect