If you've been anywhere even remotely near the internet over the past couple of days, you're probably familiar with Ryan Block's now-legendary attempt to quit Comcast. And while it's hilarious and awful and mind-numbing all the same time, there's far more to the story.
It's no secret that employees working in cable companies' retention departments are put under enormous pressure to keep paying customers as just that, but as The Verge found out, failure can often mean losing huge chunks of your paycheck:
In other words, the incentive structure is really about punishment. Reps start out the month with a full commission, but every canceled product deducts from that amount. Once reps fall below a certain threshold, they get no commission at all. That means a rep could get all the way to the second-to-last day of the pay period only to have a customer cancel four products. Suddenly the rep is below her goal, losing $800 to $1,000 off her paycheck.
Considering that my job hires people literally every day to make up for ones that quit/get fired, I would say the pressure is incredibly high to meet the company's goals. And people have done such shitty things to customers to meet these goals—far shittier things than arguing for a bit. People have breakdowns quite a bit, especially around pay day because you don't know what your hourly rate is until you see your check.
Of course, Comcast was quick to offer pleas of mea culpa, but considering how they've treated both employees and customers for years, it's hard to feel sympathetic—for the company, that is. It's easy to see how both individuals on that call were victims in this situation. The real culprit isn't the sales rep—it's Comcast. [The Verge]