August 11, 2014

Warning: Language in video is NSFW!

Dear sweet Jesus, I had flashbacks listening to this recording. And if Tim Davis hadn't thought to record it, he's be billed for that tech call:

Davis did what any angry customer would do: he called Comcast to hash things out. The resulting set of calls is a comedy of terrible customer service. The first representative argued with Davis, then put him on hold for an hour. Davis ended that call and started a new one, this time escalating to a "supervisor" (which, as we’ve discussed, is usually just another regular customer service rep with no additional power or authority).The supervisor continued the argument, insisting that Comcast had already given Davis more than enough discounts (the other $49.99 "service discount" underneath the failed install lines on the bill) and saying that the remaining $82 of extra charges were Davis’ responsibility.

The rep then tried to upsell Davis to discounted "BLAST+" Internet service as a sop. The actual charges, said the rep, were valid and thus impossible to remove.

Davis then dropped his bomb: he forced the rep to listen to the call he had previously recorded, in which the Comcast rep told Davis the service visit would be free.Like a kid caught with a hand in the cookie jar, the Comcast rep tells Davis that she’ll have to "investigate" and call Davis back.

Miraculously, the callback actually does occur—in it, the rep tells Davis that Comcast has agreed to refund the charges, but only because Davis had the recording."We try to negotiate," explains the rep, "and again, that is a valid charge."

The rep closes with a flat-out admission that the only reason Davis got his money back was because he had that recording.In spite of assurances from top Comcast executives like Dave Watson, Comcast is proving too large a ship to steer effectively—empty pronouncements for more attentive customer service can echo down from leadership all day long, but there are just too many moving parts in the Comcast machine for it to matter. Dozens of layers of management and the entrenched system of sales metrics-based compensation leveled on customer-facing employees ensures that, without more drastic action, any call to action from the top will be grossly mutated by the time it reaches the folks on the phones. Calls like this will continue to be the result.

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