What the recent Comcast episode highlights about sales organizations

A recording has been making the rounds this week by Ryan Block of Gdgt, where he is trying to cancel is service with Comcast in the US. In the eight minute conversation (following after his wife, another tech journalist Veronica Belmont, gave up!), Ryan calmly tries to get the rep to just cancel, while the rep just won’t do it.

Comcast has naturally responded to this by blaming the employee for this, and are allegedly trying to get the employee to personally apologize. And this is where they go wrong.

See, I do not believe for a minute that this employee is acting in a very unusual way. Contrary, many people are sharing similar stories. In a typical sales/customer service/customer retention department, compensation would undoubtedly today be set in part by performance. For a so-called retention specialist, this is likely to translate into how many customers he or she can persuade not to cancel.

This story shows a series of issues, the least being how much good a nice experience even when canceling can do. More broadly, it highlights how disposable these low level sales people are to companies today.

For Comcast, it is convenient to have just another scape goat. It does, however, in fact just serves to highlight the systematic approach, which is likely not at all limited to just one person.