5 Customer Service Lessons from the Hellish Comcast Call

What started out as a simple cancellation request which would have ended in less than 2 minutes became the most frustrating and very annoying customer service phone call Ryan Block and Veronica Belmont had to endure just to disconnect Comcast cable services.
Comcast came out as one of the companies (Time Warner Cable is the other) with the lowest customer satisfaction rate in the recent study done by the American Customer Satisfaction Index. We are not surprised with this result if this is the kind of call you get to experience.

We understand that companies should have an efficient Cancellation department where they try to win over customers into staying instead of leaving. But when it borders to oppression and outright stubbornness, not to mention arrogance (did you hear the customer rep repeat how Comcast is the number one provider of fastest internet and service TV even when it was unnecessary?), you know it is really bad customer service.
So what can we learn from this unfortunate customer service event?

1. Address customer’s request first then ask questions later.

Customer service reps are trained to navigate through their tools while speaking to the customer. Say that you are in the process of cancelling the service then politely ask the reason why they are cancelling so you can put it in record. If customer refuses, respect it and don’t push any further. And do exactly what the customer have called you to do.

2. Canned responses can drive any customer mad.

We can almost hear the rep say “We are soooo good, why do you even want to leave?” in every spiel he gave. This obviously is a canned response for trying to convince the customer to think again for leaving such a wonderful internet provider. These statements are not what your customers want to hear when they request a disconnection, it is actually inappropriate.
Canned responses are guide for your customer reps and must be used with right judgment before mentioning them. But when your reps only repeat these over and over without even listening to the customer, then you probably need to have them undergo communication skills training again.

3. Keep it short and sweet.

Like any breakup from a relationship, disconnection from customers is hard for any company. So why do you want to prolong the agony? Customers have their various reasons for cancelling your service but do not take it as against your company (unless they give it to you straightforward). If they called to cancel, do not take any more time than 2 minutes to talk them out of it. Most likely these customers are already decided in discontinuing the service. Do not sell hard your company and just thank them sincerely for allowing your company to serve them and doing business with you.

4. The tone says it all.

When the caller is calmer than the customer rep, then you know something is wrong in the picture. You can definitely hear the agitation in the customer rep’s voice while avoiding Block’s cancellation request. Practice proper intonation in every phone call with a customer regardless of what their concerns are—especially when they want to cut off business ties with you. A calmer tone might just make the customer change his mind because of how you speak to them.

5. Be persistent but not pushy.

There’s a big difference between being persistent and being pushy. Persistence shows respect and value to your customers because you are listening to what they are saying, while being pushy means you keep delivering your retention spiels and barely hear out what the customer is calling about. Also, #4 plays a huge part in this. Just because these customers have called you to discontinue your service doesn’t merit a rude attitude from your company. Instead, show them courtesy and be sincerely grateful to them for having stayed with you.
Nothing is more tormenting to any customer than to have to go through a customer service call that Block and Belmont went through. Listen to your customers’ needs and handle it accordingly. If there’s anything you want your customers to walk away with is how you have treated them right even when they are leaving you.

Adel Zsurzsan
Adel Zsurzsan

Adel Zsurzsan started as a Service Desk Analyst at transcosmos Information System. Currently based in transcosmos Hungary office, she now serves as the company's Business Development Advisor, helping the company grow and explore partnerships and opportunities. She speaks fluent English, Dutch, Romanian, Hungarian, German, French and Spanish.

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