Unbelievable Comcast Customer Service Call and What You Can Do About It

Customer Experience | Customer Service Satisfaction | Customer Feedback | Customer Experience Strategy | Social Media Feedback Management | Customer-Centric Culture

Reading time: 5 minutes

Trusted Experience Management Partners


Social media. Like most people in business, you probably fall in one of these camps: absolute adoration or total apathy. But, one day, a customer service disaster could explode and go viral.

Why me? Why my company? This one customer service call is going to ruin my brand! I’ve worked so hard to build it the right way, and why, oh, why did this one employee do that one thing?!

One thing you can soothe yourself with when the inevitable happens: social media has a short shelf life.

Yes, it may seem like the world is ending right now.

But, I promise you a bigger and badder fail is going to come along in a week. And everyone will be concerned with that. This 'stay calm' advice comes with a warning: it's the lasting customer emotions you need to be concerned about.

We wrote previously on how a celebrity and Comcast were also battling it out. Today’s story shows how even a person without celebrity status can go viral, if the customer is being treated unfairly.


Go On, Tell Me All About This Customer Service Fail

The story goes like this: Ryan Block, a former tech editor, called in to cancel his service with Comcast. He reached a “customer retention” specialist who had decided that Ryan was not, in fact, going to cancel his service that day.

The rep was desperate and aggressive. After listening to the rep for over 10 minutes, Ryan decided to record it. Listen to it below:

What an uncomfortable and unsettling call! Check out Comcast's official statement on the situation here.

Ryan Block wrote his own mini-statement in three seperate tweets.




Comcast, It’s Not You, It’s Your Customer Experience

Let me say, I like Comcast and have many friends who work there. If you are from Comcast, I feel your pain.

The call with Ryan Block should never have happened in this manner and this viral outbreak could have been completely prevented. It's suspected that the reps get paid more if they retain the customer, and Elise Hu from NPR contrasts Comcast's experience to Zappos.

It’s tough for large organizations to keep track of all the working pieces, and that’s why a closed-loop tracking system is so important.

Here are the 3 things that could be done to prevent those customer experience disasters:

1.) Get a read on how customer-centric your culture is today.

Take an objective look at your culture and get a sense of how much the customer means. Is the customer the center of your culture’s focus? Identify the behaviors you require from all your employees and make sure they are aligned with delivering a great customer experience.

2.) Tie employee performance to customer feedback.

Specifically ask customers after each interaction with your employees how well the experience went and particularly whether the employees were delivering on key behaviors. This feedback can be used to reward employees who are customer-centric and train those who are not.

3.) Close loops. Always.

When you ask customers for their feedback after a key touch point (e.g., install, repair, customer service call) and there is a problem, always close the loop by following up with those customers who had a negative experience. A follow-up that was based on a systematic process with Mr. Block may have soothed irritations and prevented his experience from going viral.

Incidents like the Ryan Block call will be fewer and far between, and when they do happen you will have mechanisms in place to prevent it from going viral.

-Xand Griffin

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Posted on 08-14-2014