I've been intending for a while to write about the Comcast call-center fiasco, but it's hard to keep up: the story just gets weirder and weirder. Following the now-viral recording of the telephone call in which a customer service representative essentially fought with tech journalist Ryan Block over Block's effort to cancel his service, and disclosures by former employees that the call was hardly atypical, the website Consumerist last month published an internal Comcast memorandum urging more respect for the customers, but also praising "retention professionals" who this is where the language gets Orwellian "make it easy for customers to choose to stay with Comcast."
Then came the story of Tim Davis, who was promised a free visit from a technician for problems with his system, and was then charged $182 for the services, a charge from which Comcast adamantly refused to back off until Davis played recordings he had made of the earlier calls in which Comcast had made the promise. Even at that point, a Comcast employee said the only reason Davis was getting the refund was that he had recorded the earlier conversation.
Now it turns out that representatives at the Comcast call center that is, the place you contact for technical support are actually trained to try to sell you additional products and services even as they help you through whatever your technical problem is. According to internal Comcast documents obtained by the Verge and republished by Ars Technica, the customer service representatives are trained in an "S4" strategy the abbreviation reminding them to "Start, Solve, Sell and Summarize." The representative's task, once the underlying problem is resolved, is to "transition" to a relevant offer.