Comcast COO: Customer retention rep recording was 'painful to listen to'

A week after one of his company's customer retention reps was caught in a virally distributed audio recording repeatedly refusing a service-cancellation request, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) COO Dave Watson sent a memo to company employees, essentially blaming the gaffe on company training.

Calling the recording "painful to listen to," Watson told employees at Comcast that the company may change policies following the incident, which was heard, primarily via Facebook and Twitter, more than 4 million times as of Friday, July 18.

"The agent on this call did a lot of what we trained him and paid him--and thousands of other retention agents--to do. He tried to save a customer, and that's important, but the act of saving a customer must always be handled with the utmost respect," Watson wrote in a memo, posted on the employees-only site and obtained by The Consumerist. "This situation has caused us to reexamine how we do some things to make sure that each and every one of us--from leadership to the front line--understands the balance between selling and listening. And that a great sales organization always listens to the customer, first and foremost."

For his part, Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts alluded to the issue of service during the company's Tuesday, July 22 second-quarter earnings report. Roberts, however, stopped short of suggesting that any training protocols would be changed.

"We firmly believe that our operating improvements are rooted in providing customers a better experience," Roberts told investors. "And while we are making progress with better service tools and online tools and improved service levels, we are also very cognizant that there is ample room for further improvement, and this is a top priority for us. We do feel confident that there are measurable improvements in the experience we are offering customers, this includes faster broadband speeds, best-in-home Wi-Fi, more content choices on more devices, and what we believe is the best user interface and guide experience in the world."

For more:
- read this Consumerist story

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