Thought Leadership

How Comcast Could Have Gotten it Right

The internet is abuzz with the viral Comcast cable and internet service provider call that current AOL VP Ryan Block posted. The eight minute long recorded call features Block trying to cancel his service with a Comcast customer service representative. You can hear the call below (be prepared to be thoroughly frustrated as you listen).

Where did the Comcast Rep Go Wrong?

Here at Afia, we know that customer service is more than a bullet point of a mission statement that gets posted on office walls to boost morale. Solid, excellent customer service is essential to surviving and thriving in today’s business world. So, where did the Comcast rep go wrong in his customer service approach?

The first thing that is blatantly obvious during the audio recording is that the Comcast customer service representative is not actively listening to the customer. How many times does Block have to practically beg for his service to be disconnected, or tell the rep to stop asking him why he wants his service cancelled? It’s clear that the rep didn’t hear Block – or perhaps didn’t care what Block had to say (and that could be a representation of a much larger problem internally at Comcast).

A few minutes into the recording…

Block: “Can you cancel us by phone? The answer is yes, correct?”
Comcast Rep: “It sounds like you don’t want to go over this information with me. If you want to go over the information, that is the easiest way to get your account disconnected.”

Several grueling minutes later…

Block: “Are you capable in your system of disconnecting our service – yes or no?”
Comcast Rep: “Well, I’m just trying to get some information because I don’t know why we’re losing you as a customer…”

And it continues…

Comcast Rep: “So why don’t you want something that is good service and something that works?”
Block: “I mean, is this like a joke…? Are you punking us right now?”
Comcast Rep: “I’m trying to get information. Okay. I’m trying to help our company be better. That’s my job.”
Block: “I can guarantee you that you are doing an incredibly good job at helping your company be worse.”

It’s several more minutes later before the Comcast rep agrees to cancel Block’s service. It’s obvious that the customer (in this case Block) had already made up his mind to disconnect his service with Comcast at the beginning of the recording. The more that the rep badgers him on why he’s cancelling service and ignoring his request, the less likely Block will ever go back to Comcast.

How Comcast Could have Gotten it Right

So, what could the Comcast customer service rep have done better? First, the rep should have actively listened to the customer. If he would have done this, he would have been able to determine that there would be no chance of getting the customer to not cancel after his first statement that he wasn’t interested in staying with Comcast.

The next step would have involved leaving Block with a favorable impression of Comcast in the event that Block’s new service provider didn’t work out. This would give Comcast an opportunity to re-earn Block’s business. After this negative experience, It’s easy to imagine that Block will likely do whatever it takes to never return to Comcast.

Is the Customer Always Right?

There are some businesses owners and large organizations that live by the credo “the customer is always right” – think Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart. In fact, Sam Walton believed the following:

Rule #1: The customer is always right
Rule #2: If the customer happens to be wrong, refer to rule #1

Perhaps this way of reasoning is another sort of extreme, comparable to the notably obnoxious way the Comcast rep refused to “hear” Block.

How to “Get it Right”

At Afia, we always do our best to “get it right” by way of our clients. This involves consulting with the client to learn exactly what they need, and how to get them what they require in the fashion that makes the best sense possible for us, and most importantly, the client. Moreover, getting it right often requires the simple practice of listening, hearing what the client needs, and coming to a resolution that satisfies both parties.

Hopefully Comcast’s customer service will improve after the negative attention this interaction has attracted.

All Thought Leadership