From Dave Watson, the COO of Comcast Cable via the Consumerist:

The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him — and thousands of other Retention agents — to do.

Boy, he really did do a LOT of what he was trained to do.

And I think that's what Ryan Block said with his initial post of the audio to the net.  The guy's just doing what he was trained to do, and that's the problem.

What an awful memo.  Not a single specific, actionable critique of what the guy did wrong so that others would know what not to do when a customer calls.  They are "embarrassed by the tone of the call and the lack of sensitivity," and believe that, "the act of saving a customer must always be handled with the utmost respect," as if they were Paul in Rome.  "Tone" and "sensitivity"?  "Saving"?  Can we say that the first, shoot, I'd even settle for guidance that says that the third time a customer says that they don't want to hear about what they're "losing" by cancelling that we should let them go?  Or some way of limiting the discussion?  "Let me quickly tell you three quick ways that Comcast will provide better service.  1.  2.  3.  No?  You say you still want to cancel?  Done."

That is, the problem wasn't with the retention dude, who was just trying to hit his numbers.  The problem is with the training and scripts and culture of the retention guy's company.  Watson says nothing about that.  Perhaps we're supposed to conclude that the memo was the correction, with is sad.

Sheesh.  I hate that, as we move more and more to a services economy, that this -- putting up barriers between customers and their ability to direct their money -- has become one of the quickest means to realizing the American Dream.  I'm reminded of a certain major league team owner who appears to have benefited from "slamming" people over to his company's long-distance provider, but I won't go into any detail since he and I are peers in the NFL.  ;^)

I think it was James Allworth on the Exponent podcast that recently quoted the adage that the stock market is a voting machine in the short run and a weighing machine over the long haul.  We're waaaay too interested in voting "early and often" with our dollars than investing them right now, and it distorts the value of, well, values.

Labels: , ,