What really goes on in a Comcast call center
As a very recent former employee who left voluntarily after 7 years of witnessing underhanded and deceptive practices to not only customers but employees as well, I decided I would rather be unemployed than continue working for Comcast. The constant daily verbal abuse from customers that I had to put with was also a contributing factor. I am now a regular paying customer and I hate having to deal with them because unlike most customers, I know what really goes on there.
In the past year they closed multiple call centers with the reason that they were small, inefficient and non productive, which resulted in the unemployment of thousands of employees. The calls that used to be handled by those call centers have been routed to other areas, but Comcast did not hire additional people to handle the increased call volume. I heard a manager tell some employees to increase their productivity or they could lose their jobs to an outsourced company. Comcast outsourced all incoming Spanish calls to Mexico and the calls for internet and telephone support for field technicians (as well as many of the customer calls) has been contracted to an outside company in the Philippines. Comcast does not have to pay for employee benefits for ""˜outsourced" jobs. The employee cost for medical and dental coverage increased and the 401k company match decreased. Shortly after all of this occurred, the media broke the news that Comcast was planning to merge with NBC Universal.
Want to know why customer service is so horrible? For one thing, many - but not all - reps are so burned out from taking verbal abuse (i.e. screaming, vulgarity, name calling etc.)& complaints from customers for 8 hours a day that they cease to care about taking care of the customers' issue and second, many employees don't last more than a year so chances are you are talking to someone who doesn't know what they are talking about. Management places the emphasis on productivity & sales rather than customer service. I was told by several different managers that the company would rather make the customer schedule an appointment for a service call, take time off from work and spend time at home waiting for hours for a tech to show up instead of allowing a rep to spend extra time on the phone to try & get their issue resolved. This causes a backlog on service appointments & results in making customers wait longer than 3-4 days for a technician. There are many issues which do require a technician to fix the problem, but there are also many service calls that could & should have been resolved over the phone. Ever feel like the person you are talking to doesn't care about your problem or is trying to get you off the phone as quickly as possible? Phone reps are allowed to spend an average time of 5-7 minutes per call depending on which department they are in. If the call lasts longer than 10 minutes, they receive a message every minute reminding them that they are over their 5 minutes, so reps will say anything they think will get the customer off the phone. Sometimes a supervisor will stand at an employees' desk if they have been on a call for longer than 10 minutes and demand an explanation as to why they spent so much time with the customer. On one particular occasion I spent over 30 minutes on one call, but I was able to resolve the problem to the satisfaction of the customer. After the call, I was confronted by my supervisor who actually told me it was more important to stay within the 5 minute timeframe rather than go over the 5 minutes and resolve the issue. I was also told to not let it happen again or I could be "written up". After a certain amount of time, if the reps' average time spent with each customer goes over 5 minutes, they receive a warning. If they do not make the daily sales goal, they receive a warning, so reps will tell the customer anything in order to get "a sale". After a specific amount of time if reps still have not meet their goals, they get fired. In the sales department I saw a sign posted stating one of their daily goals is "customer mind control" (this is no joke)! If a local market is not meeting corporate sales goals, managers will walk up and down aisles to find out who is not meeting their sales quota for the day. The company's goal is to sign up every customer in a Triple Play digital bundle. During new hire training, two entire days is devoted just on overcoming objections from customers who don't want additional services or higher priced packages. There is very limited incentive to provide good customer service, however there are plenty of incentives to sell services (such as not losing their job). Policies, procedures, billing changes & prices can change daily and reps are informed (if at all) of those changes via email or in their team meeting, so if they don't bother to read their email or they don't attend a team meeting, they give customers the wrong information. (Ever wonder why every time you call you get a different answer or you feel like the rep doesn't know what they are talking about?) A standard joke amongst the employees is that for a communication company, Comcast sucks at communicating information within their own organization. Ongoing training for new products, services and billing is not held in training rooms, but on the employees' computer. Each course lasts an average of 5-20 min and is in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. (And customers question why employee's knowledge about their own products is so poor)
Have you ever asked for a supervisor and felt like you got the run around? That's because supervisors are hardly ever at their desks, they are busy writing up employees or trying to resolve the dozens of escalated customer complaints. Supervisors HATE taking calls from customers. Phone reps are told to avoid transferring customers to supervisors. If the customer insists on speaking to a supervisor the reps are told to advise customers of a 24-48 hour call back time frame and there is no guarantee there will be a callback. Many times when customers think they are talking to a supervisor, they are actually talking to "floor support" (level below supervisor). The stress the company puts on each employee is unbelievable. Not only do the employees have to deal with the pressure of talking customers into adding services they don't want, as well as the constant fear of being fired for not meeting their insane metrics, but also deal with disgruntled, angry and screaming customers throughout the day. The morale is extremely low and many employees stay with the company simply because there are not a lot of available jobs and they have families to support.
As far as installation and service appointments go, in my local market jobs are not pre-routed, so technicians usually have no idea what type of work they will be doing ahead of time. Because the phone reps can spend a limited amount of time on each call, they cut corners on setting up work orders, such as not listing what equipment or services the technician needs to install, leaving off discount codes, not scheduling an appointment with a valid date and/or time and on service orders many of them are setup incorrectly or don't even state what technical problem the customer is having. The technician may have no idea what the customer is expecting until they walk in the door. The work order may show he is installing one line of service or one cable box, but the customer is expecting something else, and that can make the technician run late to the rest of his jobs. Many of the installations and upgrades are done by contracted technicians. Do not assume that by requesting an "in house" technician that you will get one even if the phone rep promised one would come to your home. The people who route the jobs usually do not read any of the job comments. The reps are required to-but in many cases do not- advise customers that A) The technician can show up anytime during the scheduled timeframe or what the appt. is scheduled for B) Someone 18 or older must be home and C) That there will be a pre-call before the technician arrives (in my market the majority of pre-calls are made by dispatch, not the technician). On service calls for technical problems if the customer does not answer the phone after two attempts are made, the job gets cancelled. This policy was put into place because of the large number of times technicians would drive to a customer's home and no one would be there. A very common problem is that when phone rep sets up appointments, they don't always verify with the customer what telephone number the customer can be reached at, so when the pre-call is made, the correct telephone number is not called. Customers should not assume the correct contact information is listed on their account. Each market may have different policies for installation and service appointments.
If you think it sucks being a Comcast customer, it is 100 times worse being a Comcast employee.
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