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post #12001 of 12011 Old 07-18-2014, 09:37 AM
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Comcast Employees Say Needy Retention Call Is Totally Normal

While we all spent yesterday shaking heads and commiserating with Comcast customer Ryan Block in his exhausting effort to get a customer service representative to disconnect his service, it’s always good to stop and remember that there are actual humans on the other end of that line, people who are hired to do a job. And in the case of call center workers, we’ve heard from many past and current Comcast employees who say that type of effort might’ve been a bit much, but it all comes down to meeting quotas.
Comcast apologized yesterday for how things went down with Block, saying “the way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives.”
Meanwhile, Consumerist has heard from Comcast call center workers both past and present who agree that maybe while this guy went a bit far, it’s only because that’s the culture at the company, and that customer service reps are actually trained to do just what he did.
As multiple tipsters are telling us, CSRs can only have a certain amount of “discos” — or disconnects — on their personal tallies each day, and must meet a certain quota of “saves,” for which they can earn bonuses and/or commission.
That “save” might just mean hanging up on a customer so the disco goes on another CSR’s list, or in Block’s case, a relentless attempt to keep the customer. Many employees said that with a low hourly pay rate, these saves are the only way to boost their paychecks.
“That rep, (may God have mercy on his soul) was doing exactly as he was told to do,” writes former Comcast call center employee and Consumerist reader M. “Comcast reps make about $12/hour, but they get bonuses for every account that they save.”
That forced reps to either tell customers to go to a Comcast store — which can be a whole other inconvenience in itself — or to keep pushing until customers give up. This is probably what the CSR dealing with Block was told by his supervisors, he surmises.
“Frustrate the customer so that they hang up, and call back to another rep and get them to do the disconnection,” M. explains. “It wouldn’t affect you, and someone else would be at the door. Plus, the longer you stay on a call, the less likely you are to disconnect more customers.”
He adds that if reps disconnected more customers than they were supposed to — he was allowed three disconnects per 8-hour shift — after three days in a row, they “were shown the door.”
M. says he walked out after disconnecting five accounts in one day, as he was told he didn’t “gather enough information regarding their decision to leave.”
He adds that even the lengths this CSR went to might’ve even fallen short of expectations.
“I will say this rep did a great job of what was expected of him, but he more than likely received a whipping from his supervisor for not getting enough info,” M. says.
Then there’s Tipster A., another former employee of Comcast, who admits that the CSR in question did go “way too far,” but that it’s “no doubt for his ‘save’ quota.” And now that A. is no longer with the company, it’s not like the experience is any better.
“I thought I would never want to leave Comcast services but when I worked there, I prided myself on great customer service, and I just get angry every time I call them because I’m not shown the same respect,” A. writes.
And while this scenario is “absolutely the normal day-to-day expectation” that is put on retention workers, writes former call center agent N., that doesn’t mean workers are happy about it.
“It is very competitive and can drive the wrong habits,” N. tells Consumerist. “I resigned from Comcast because it was a hopeless situation.”
There are good people out there, however, who will try their best.
“If you got lucky you got a good supervisor that coached you to retain business and probe effectively with empathy for what the customer was experiencing,” N. says. “I was an interim retention supervisor and I always pushed my agents to handle every call with empathy – NEVER cut the customer off and never talk over them (everything this guy did).”
That sense of desperation listeners might get from the Block call is very real, according to N., because of the “sad hourly rate” that CSRs are paid and the increasing pressure every month to retain customers. All while there are less promotions available to offer those customers, she says.
“So the opportunity to make any commission only becomes more and more difficult, increasing the employees desperation to not disconnect the services for the caller.”
Or heck, maybe he’s just new on the job, adds a current worker for Comcast.
“We are asked to try to retain them with specials offers. We have to hit certain speaking points in our conversation,” writes tipster R. “But this guy was way over the top and pushy. Quite frankly, I thought it was amusing. It sounds like he is new.”
We’ve reached out to Comcast for comment on these save quotas and disconnect limits for each call center, as well as the training our tipsters say they received to push customers to the hang-up point, and will let you know if we hear back.


http://consumerist.com/2014/07/16/co...otally-normal/
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post #12002 of 12011 Old 07-18-2014, 09:50 AM
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Confessions Of A Comcast Video Repair Agent

By Chris Morran July 17, 2014
(Steve Garfield)

In the wake of that embarrassingly desperate Comcast customer retention call, and statements from current and former Comcast workers who claim that such behavior is par for the course, one of the company’s video repair agents has sent us some inside information about what it’s like behind the scenes at Kabletown. “M.” says that his purpose for sharing this information was to hopefully shake things up at the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider.
• According to M., Comcast doesn’t actually care if video repair agents — the people you eventually get passed to when you call to gripe about your service not working — actually fix your TV-related problem. He says there are only two metrics that matter to his bosses: “Did you sell the customer something? And how fast did you got the customer off the phone?”
• M. claims that video repair staffers are told the only way to get a higher wage is to successfully upsell more products and services to the customer.
• You know when you ask for a Comcast supervisor and get passed to someone who doesn’t seem to have any more authority than the first person you spoke to? M. says that’s because you’re likely just being passed to another agent who has been designated on that day to take “supervisor” calls that day and who will claim to be a supervisor on the phone call.
“Rarely will there be a supervisor available for anything,” says M.
• Your install or in-home repair tech is a no-show? M. says there’s not really anything that anyone in the Comcast call center can do about that.
“The gap between the call center and local dispatch is miles apart,” explains M. “Anything a representative says about getting another tech out for a no-show is a lie and you’re better off rescheduling. Technicians will tag doors and run back to their vehicle or just drive by and describe the house like they’ve been there.”
• One problem that M. claims to constantly come across is customers who have inactive cable boxes on their accounts that they are continuing to pay for.
“Comcast does very little to get rid of these devices and it is a long, drawn-out process if a customer catches it,” he reveals. “Experienced repair agents will never proactively bring up how many boxes you have on an account for fear of starting an argument about it.”
• “The majority of our tech scripts require that customer wait 30 minutes and call back,” claims M. “Some scripts even tell a customer to call back, then when they do, the next step is to do one small change and ask them to call back in 30 minutes again.”
• The folks in Retention are a real pain to video repair agents like M., he says. First, the Retention agents frequently try to pass unhappy customers to repair agents so that the Retention agent’s stats aren’t dinged by a lost customer.
Then, according to M., Retention agents — in an effort to cut down customers’ bills — will remove codes from the customers’ accounts, even if these codes are needed for set-top boxes to function.
M. gives the example of removing the code for HD/DVR service, which will cut a chunk off the monthly bill, but which will eventually render the set-top box inoperable.
“Then you call back, we add it back on, and you’re back where you started, except we don’t tell you that,” he explains. “We don’t give out what we’re doing to fix your box because we have been told long ago that we are to fix your equipment, not talk about your billing.”
• Because of this pro-sales, anti-customer environment at Comcast, M. claims that “Everyone in the call center is always looking for a new job at all times.”
M. also provided us with the following “Customer Interaction Policy Reminder” e-mail that was sent to employees:
Comcast is committed to delivering outstanding service to each and every customer. It is our goal to ensure that each customer with whom we interact has a quality experience.
Each encounter we have with the customer defines Comcast in that particular customer’s eyes. Favorable interactions yield favorable impressions and unfavorable interactions yield unfavorable, or negative impressions of the Company.
Therefore, we require that all employees refrain from any form of rude, inappropriate or unprofessional behavior. Please remember to treat all customers with the utmost respect.
Recently, an unfavorable phone call into Comcast has been circulating on the Internet.
Our Senior Vice President of Customer Experience for Comcast Cable posted the following apology on our company’s website – Comcast Voices blog and spoke directly to the customers.
Action Required:
Please read the statement below to customers for this particular call.
“We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and Ms. Belmont and are contacting them to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with them 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.”
Action Required:
If you receive a call from the media regarding this incident, please refer to the Media Inquiry Policy to transfer them to your local media contact.
For more information about the Customer Interaction/Interface Policy, please view your Employee Handbook in the HR/Benefits section on TeamComcast. Note, this policy may be visible to internal employees only. All others should review their local policies or speak to their training teams for more information on acceptable customer interactions.


http://consumerist.com/2014/07/17/co...-repair-agent/

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post #12003 of 12011 Old 07-18-2014, 12:34 PM
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ESPN reaches deal with Comcast for SEC Network

http://lancasteronline.com/entertain...5fd8601df.html

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post #12004 of 12011 Old 07-18-2014, 12:39 PM
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The Southeastern Conference joins the party next month, and SEC Network will be available to Comcast Cable's Xfinity TV subscribers in the Harrisburg area in both standard definition and HD on the digital preferred tier.9
http://www.pennlive.com/sports/index...available.html

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post #12005 of 12011 Old 07-19-2014, 08:42 AM
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Great to see it's going into the preferred tier, here in the ATL the Big10 and Pac-12 networks are only available with the sports pack add-on. I had a feeling it was going to be in preferred and not add-on here no matter what but glad to see they've put it there everywhere.

Now the rest of the country can see the best conference play every week.
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post #12006 of 12011 Old 07-19-2014, 03:46 PM
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If you go to Device Settings, my output resolution somehow got set to 720p. So I changed it to 1080p60. I have a Panasonic Plasma 65VT50. When I hit info on the TV remote, I get 1080p regardless of the channel chosen, including ABC and ESPN which are 720p, right?


Shouldn't there be some kind of autodetect on the resolution on the STB? Or is my Panasonic TV just not good at updating the resolution info from channel to channel?
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post #12007 of 12011 Old 07-19-2014, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by mantar View Post
If you go to Device Settings, my output resolution somehow got set to 720p. So I changed it to 1080p60. I have a Panasonic Plasma 65VT50. When I hit info on the TV remote, I get 1080p regardless of the channel chosen, including ABC and ESPN which are 720p, right?


Shouldn't there be some kind of autodetect on the resolution on the STB? Or is my Panasonic TV just not good at updating the resolution info from channel to channel?
My HD cable boxes have a 'native' output option, which does what you are requesting, but it may vary depending on the hardware.
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post #12008 of 12011 Old 07-20-2014, 09:03 PM
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The fact the SEC Network is going to be on Comcast/Xfinity is huge because we're talking the #1 cable operator in the USA. Does that explain why on the Comcast channel lineup in my area, they moved the HD Bloomberg TV channel from 821 to 764 so the SEC Network takes over Channel 821?

Raymond in Sacramento, CA
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post #12009 of 12011 Old 07-21-2014, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by RayChuang View Post
The fact the SEC Network is going to be on Comcast/Xfinity is huge because we're talking the #1 cable operator in the USA. Does that explain why on the Comcast channel lineup in my area, they moved the HD Bloomberg TV channel from 821 to 764 so the SEC Network takes over Channel 821?
Bloomberg won a lawsuit against Comcast forcing them to move Bloomberg to the same channel location as the other HD News and Business channels.
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post #12010 of 12011 Old 07-22-2014, 09:04 AM
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Originally Posted by PaulGo View Post
Confessions Of A Comcast Video Repair Agent

By Chris Morran July 17, 2014
(Steve Garfield)

In the wake of that embarrassingly desperate Comcast customer retention call, and statements from current and former Comcast workers who claim that such behavior is par for the course, one of the company’s video repair agents has sent us some inside information about what it’s like behind the scenes at Kabletown. “M.” says that his purpose for sharing this information was to hopefully shake things up at the nation’s largest cable and Internet provider.
• According to M., Comcast doesn’t actually care if video repair agents — the people you eventually get passed to when you call to gripe about your service not working — actually fix your TV-related problem. He says there are only two metrics that matter to his bosses: “Did you sell the customer something? And how fast did you got the customer off the phone?”
• M. claims that video repair staffers are told the only way to get a higher wage is to successfully upsell more products and services to the customer.
• You know when you ask for a Comcast supervisor and get passed to someone who doesn’t seem to have any more authority than the first person you spoke to? M. says that’s because you’re likely just being passed to another agent who has been designated on that day to take “supervisor” calls that day and who will claim to be a supervisor on the phone call.
“Rarely will there be a supervisor available for anything,” says M.
• Your install or in-home repair tech is a no-show? M. says there’s not really anything that anyone in the Comcast call center can do about that.
“The gap between the call center and local dispatch is miles apart,” explains M. “Anything a representative says about getting another tech out for a no-show is a lie and you’re better off rescheduling. Technicians will tag doors and run back to their vehicle or just drive by and describe the house like they’ve been there.”
• One problem that M. claims to constantly come across is customers who have inactive cable boxes on their accounts that they are continuing to pay for.
“Comcast does very little to get rid of these devices and it is a long, drawn-out process if a customer catches it,” he reveals. “Experienced repair agents will never proactively bring up how many boxes you have on an account for fear of starting an argument about it.”
• “The majority of our tech scripts require that customer wait 30 minutes and call back,” claims M. “Some scripts even tell a customer to call back, then when they do, the next step is to do one small change and ask them to call back in 30 minutes again.”
• The folks in Retention are a real pain to video repair agents like M., he says. First, the Retention agents frequently try to pass unhappy customers to repair agents so that the Retention agent’s stats aren’t dinged by a lost customer.
Then, according to M., Retention agents — in an effort to cut down customers’ bills — will remove codes from the customers’ accounts, even if these codes are needed for set-top boxes to function.
M. gives the example of removing the code for HD/DVR service, which will cut a chunk off the monthly bill, but which will eventually render the set-top box inoperable.
“Then you call back, we add it back on, and you’re back where you started, except we don’t tell you that,” he explains. “We don’t give out what we’re doing to fix your box because we have been told long ago that we are to fix your equipment, not talk about your billing.”
• Because of this pro-sales, anti-customer environment at Comcast, M. claims that “Everyone in the call center is always looking for a new job at all times.”
M. also provided us with the following “Customer Interaction Policy Reminder” e-mail that was sent to employees:
Comcast is committed to delivering outstanding service to each and every customer. It is our goal to ensure that each customer with whom we interact has a quality experience.
Each encounter we have with the customer defines Comcast in that particular customer’s eyes. Favorable interactions yield favorable impressions and unfavorable interactions yield unfavorable, or negative impressions of the Company.
Therefore, we require that all employees refrain from any form of rude, inappropriate or unprofessional behavior. Please remember to treat all customers with the utmost respect.
Recently, an unfavorable phone call into Comcast has been circulating on the Internet.
Our Senior Vice President of Customer Experience for Comcast Cable posted the following apology on our company’s website – Comcast Voices blog and spoke directly to the customers.
Action Required:
Please read the statement below to customers for this particular call.
“We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and Ms. Belmont and are contacting them to personally apologize. The way in which our representative communicated with them 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.”
Action Required:
If you receive a call from the media regarding this incident, please refer to the Media Inquiry Policy to transfer them to your local media contact.
For more information about the Customer Interaction/Interface Policy, please view your Employee Handbook in the HR/Benefits section on TeamComcast. Note, this policy may be visible to internal employees only. All others should review their local policies or speak to their training teams for more information on acceptable customer interactions.


http://consumerist.com/2014/07/17/co...-repair-agent/

None of this is surprising to me.
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post #12011 of 12011 Old 07-28-2014, 01:55 PM
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Comcast Confessions: when every call is a sales call

More than 100 Comcast employees spoke to The Verge about life inside the nation’s largest cable and broadband company

When AOL executive and Comcast customer Ryan Block recently tried to cancel his internet service, he ended up in a near-yelling match with a customer service representative who spent 18 minutes trying to talk him out of it.
Rep: I’m just trying to figure out here what it is about Comcast service that you’re not liking.
Block: This phone call is actually a really amazing representative example of why I don’t want to stay with Comcast. Can you please cancel our service?
Rep: Okay, but I’m trying to help you.
Block: The way you can help me is by disconnecting my service.
Rep: But how is that helping you? How is that helping you? Explain to me how that is helping you.
Block: Because that’s what I want.
Rep: Okay, so why is that what you want?
Block posted a recording of the call online, where it has been listened to more than 5 million times. During the ensuing media frenzy, The Verge put out a call and sought out current and former Comcast employees, hoping to shed light on the inner workings of the largest broadcasting and cable company in the country. More than 100 employees responded, including one who works in the same call center as the rep in Block’s recording.
These employees told us the same stories over and over again: customer service has been replaced by an obsession with sales, technicians are understaffed and tech support is poorly trained, and the massive company is hobbled by internal fragmentation.
The Verge will be publishing excerpts from these interviews over the next few weeks ahead of the company’s proposed merger with fellow cable behemoth Time Warner Cable. (If you work for Comcast and you’d like to contribute, email us at comcast@theverge.com.) This first installment focuses on Comcast’s relentless pursuit of ever-greater sales.


Full article at:


http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/28/59...s-a-sales-call
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