3 things to learn from the outrageous Comcast recording

By Kelly Moser

Disability Insurance Services


Recently, an eight minute recording of one man’s conversation with a Comcast employee went viral — for all the wrong reasons. If you haven’t heard the recording, allow me to sum it up for you. Customer Ryan Block called Comcast to disconnect his services because he’s switching to a new provider. His simple request turned into a frustrating, hair-pull-inducing conversation with a Comcast employee who refused to disconnect Block’s services unless Block told him why, specifically, he was switching companies. Despite Block’s astoundingly level-headed responses and insistence that he did not need to give specific details, the Comcast employee became increasingly rude, desperate and overly aggressive.

Unfortunately for Comcast, customer Ryan Block recorded his frustrating call. And even more unfortunate for Comcast, Block tweeted the clip to the world, opening Comcast to scrutiny from its current customers and any potential clients. You can listen to the original recording here (trust me, you WANT to listen to this.)

We’ve all had that dreaded phone call from a client. You know, the one where he or she calls to cancel their policy and forgo your services for a competitor’s. But, as the Comcast employee has surely learned, how you handle those conversations will affect any potential referrals and/or reviews.

Here are three things that can be learned from the outrageous Comcast recording:

1. Consumers are on Twitter.

Unfortunately for Comcast, the customer they ticked off happens to be the VP of Product for AOL and he’s quite Internet-savvy. He also happens to have more than 82,000 Twitter followers (30,000 more than Comcast). The sound clip went viral in less than 24 hours, much to Comcast’s dismay.

Luckily for Comcast, they also have a social media presence, allowing for them to quickly send a public apology and tag Block’s Twitter handle (@ryan) so that his followers could see it as well. Since the debacle, they’ve been strategically tweeting about anything and everything that might make their followers happy (especially now that thousands are flocking to their twitter feed to see how they’re handling the madness).

2. Your clients mean what they say.

Throughout the clip, Block is very specific about what he wants — to disconnect his services immediately. If you keep asking your client why (regardless of how you word it) and he responds, “BECAUSE, that’s what I want!” just listen. And if he has to say, “This phone call is really, actually an amazing example of why I don’t want to stay with (insert company name),” then just hang up and stop angering the person who’s about to blow you up on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, your neighborhood grocery market, etc.
3. Don’t instill fear in your employees.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind since this recording? Why was the employee so intense/desperate/aggressive/rude? Does he really just love Comcast products that much? Or was he afraid of what happens when he loses a client? While Comcast has insisted that they’re investigating the situation and will handle it, the Twitterverse wants to know why the employee felt so compelled to act the way he did. He’s obviously been trained to never take no for an answer, but to what extent? The blame can’t be put entirely on employees if their training came from their employer. The Internet jokes quickly went from making fun of the employee to questioning how Comcast treats their employees.

Your employees will make mistakes and you’ll lose customers. That’s life. Just make sure they know it’s part of being human and they don’t have to accost your clients in the process.