Comcast seems to have provided the customer service industry with yet another example of what not to do.
After a number of embarrassing recordings emerged demonstrating how the cable company’s customer service representatives treated customers on the phone (one particularly damning recorded call, posted on SoundCloud, has been listened to about six million times), Comcast CEO Brian Roberts promised earlier this month that “customer service will soon be one of our best products.”
But a Spokane, WA, man is likely to disagree after getting his monthly bill and finding out that his first name, Ricardo, had been replaced by a vulgarity in Comcast’s records so that it read “[Expletive] Brown” on his both paper and online account information.
Brown and his wife, Lisa, surmised that the only possible reason for the change was that they had attempted to cancel a portion of their service they could no longer afford. She told a reporter for the blog Consumerist that the only thing she could think of is that the retention specialist she’d reached by phone was upset she wouldn’t take an offer to retain service. But, she said, “I was never rude.”
Charles Herrin, Comcast’s senior vice president for customer experience, posted a public apology Jan. 29, after apparently personally apologizing to the Browns by phone. The employee responsible for the change, he said, “will no longer be working on behalf of Comcast” in light of the “unacceptable situation.”
The company has also agreed to refund two years’ worth of the Browns’ bills, though Herrin said he couldn’t discuss any further details.
Time Warner Cable, which Comcast is seeking to acquire in a $45 billion deal, narrowly beat out Comcast as the nation’s most unpopular company in last year’s rankings by the University of Michigan’s Consumer Satisfaction Index. But its brand has taken a beating in the public arena in the past year.
“For a cancellation of service, it is always a good idea to take all the customer’s information down, thank them, and even write them a letter thanking them for their years of service,” said Pat Scott, president of A Better Answer. “What good does it do to get upset about a customer cancelling a service?”