A few weeks ago, the Comcast call heard 'round the world sent the internet into a cable-call-center-hating frenzy—and for good reason! But customers aren't the only victims here; even Comcast itself said the so-called "rep from hell" was just following orders. And now, thanks to a copy secured by The Verge, we know exactly what those orders are.
The rep you heard on the call works in Comcast's retention department, which is where anyone trying to cancel their account gets sent as a last ditch effort by Comcast to keep them on. And these reps are instructed to do pretty much anything they can to make that happen. Per the handbook, each call is divided into 13 sections:
1. Greet customer clearly
2. Clarify reason for call
3. Relate and empathize
4. Take control
5. Set the agenda
6. Ask targeted questions
7. Consider unstated needs / active listening
8. Take ownership / make offer
9. Overcome objections
10. Close the save
11. Confirm details
12. End on a positive note
As you can see, Comcast employees are supposed to assert themselves fairly early in the call, which certainly helps explain the now infamous rep's overly domineering sensibility.
While this doesn't excuse overly aggressive call center reps, it does make it easier to sympathize. After all, they're just trying to do their job—the job Comcast prescribed. And judging by the wording of the handbook's "guiding principles" the company places a lot more emphasis on making sure every single talking point is hit instead of whether or not it makes any sense in the context of the call.
In other words, it seems that unless employee mentions every last item on the sheet, they might as well have not said anything at all. And depending on the section of the call, doing so seems nearly impossible without resorting to some degree of what we heard in the original, recorded call that started it all.
Of course, even Comcast realizes that some situations are going to be out of its hands. So it includes a (very brief) list in which the company acknowledges situations where saving the customer simply isn't possible.
So barring death or natural disaster, if you want to cancel Comcast, you better get comfortable—you're in it for the long haul.