We’ve heard stories of bad customer service over the years, but this takes the cake:
Tech journalist Ryan Block attempted to cancel his service with Comcast, only to endure an exasperating 18 minutes with a relentless customer service representative who refused to perform the request. (It’s interesting to note that Comcast was voted worst company in CUB’s recent survey!)
The recording, which has since gone viral, is here:
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Rep: I’m just trying to figure out what it is about Comcast service that you don’t want to keep.
Block: This phone call is actually a really amazing representative example of why I don’t want to stay with Comcast.
Rep: OK, 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!
You can listen to the full saga here (it starts at minute 10 of the conversation), but be warned: it’s cringeworthy. You can’t help but wonder what kind of pressure is put on Comcast customer service representatives to go to these lengths.
This sort of “service” can be frustrating, to say the least. Here are some tips to help make your customer service calls as smooth and productive as possible:
1. Know what you want. Prior to making the call, know exactly what you want, including the costs, components, and terms. People often call thinking they know what they want, only to be misled by a customer service representative who offers a service that is similar in name and/or components but costs more–and isn’t what you initially wanted.
2. Ask if you can record the call.
3. Be assertive. Don’t be afraid to state, “I am only calling to get ‘X.’ If you are unable to provide it to me, could you pass me on to someone who can?”
4. Get clarity. After the call, ask the customer service representative to repeat back to you what exactly he or she is signing you up for, what your initial bill will be and what the subsequent bills should be. Make sure to take down the rep’s full name, employee ID (if he or she has one), and the time of the call.
5. Get social. While you should always call the company’s customer service number first, if you think you’re getting poor service you can always complain on social media. Companies hate bad PR and many now have Twitter and Facebook pages that can be an effective forum for your grievance. One guy recently complained that @ComEd “REFUSES to take broken pole.” Check out the exchange:
July 16, ComEd: “Have you inquired about getting this pole removed?”
July 16, consumer: “The pole is gone! The same day? Amazed but I’ve been calling since 2011 #customerservicefail”
July 17, ComEd: “We apologize for the delay & we are glad to know your issue has been properly addressed. Thanks for your patience.”
July 17, consumer: “OK whatever! What is really going on at your call center? Should customers always escalate issue on @twitter?”
Careful here. Don’t be afraid to show the utilities that you’re unhappy on social media, but be respectful and appropriate.
6. Stay calm and persistent. One amazing thing about the Comcast recording is how calm Block stays through the whole conversation. It’s easy to lose your cool, especially when you’re on the receiving end of poor service for a long period of time, but you don’t want to give them any reason to label you as “difficult” and not grant your request. Stick to your decisions and don’t get off track when a representative tries to convince you of a different choice. And remember, if your at wit’s end with the company, you can always call CUB’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-669-5556.