Call Comcast for Help? Expect a Sales Pitch

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Many of the cable giant’s employees are reportedly evaluated based on their sales, regardless of whether they’re in a sales position.

I imagine it would be incredibly frustrating to call Comcast’s customer service line to cancel your service, complain about an issue with your cable or get help with a billing question, only to have the customer service representative try to sell you additional channels or faster Internet or some other Comcast upgrade.

Unfortunately, that is what’s happening.

According to The Verge, the cable giant wants its employees to make sales, regardless of what position they hold within the company.

Despite the fact that Comcast has departments devoted to both inbound and outbound sales, the company encourages its employees in customer service, tech support, and other departments to make sales as well. This often puts the employee’s interests at odds with the customer, who may be calling in to report a technical problem, billing issue, or to downgrade their service.

According to Ars Technica, Comcast call center employees are trained to follow a four-step call flow process. Each step begins with an “S” – start, solve, sell and summarize. You read that correctly, “sell” is actually one of the four steps. You can view some of Comcast’s training guidelines here.

What’s more, as explained in the training material, 20 percent of a call center employee’s performance rating for a phone call is dependent on the employee making a sale.

Horror stories about Comcast’s shoddy customer service abound online. Just search for “bad Comcast customer service” and you’ll see what I mean. One of the latest customer service snafus that went viral was a customer who tried to cancel his services and ended up waiting on hold for more than three hours until the office actually closed.

A number of current and former Comcast employees told The Verge that excessive sales pressure, which is implemented through monetary incentives or the threat of being put on a corrective action plan or worse, makes it difficult to do their job. Some said they were fired as a result of not being able to make sales. Other former employees said they got fed up and quit.

When The Verge asked Comcast about pressing employees to sell, the company’s response was this:

“I don’t want any of our employees to feel that pressure to go through and sell … or feel like they’re going to get fired,” Tom Karinshak, Comcast’s senior vice president of customer experience, tells The Verge. “That’s not good for us.”

If you’re a Comcast customer and you don’t want to deal with a sales pitch when you call for customer or technical service assistance, there’s good news. The Verge said there are a few things you can do to avoid high-pressure sales techniques.

As with Comcast’s retention guidelines, which explain how to keep a customer who wants to cancel their service, Comcast lists situations in which a “transition to offer” is not such a good idea: “Customer is irate or doesn’t seem happy with the resolution,” “Customer in a delinquent status,” “Customer volunteers a ‘do not sell to me’ statement.”

In April, Comcast earned the dubious distinction of being named America’s worst company.

Are you a Comcast customer? Share your experiences with Comcast below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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