Calling customer service is usually as pleasant as having a colonoscopy, but one man's ordeal may be the horror story most people would all like to avoid.
Ryan Block, a former tech journalist, posted an eight minute long recording of his conversation with a "customer retention" specialist from Comcast. The Comcast employee, whose name was taken off the recording, tried to prevent Block from canceling his service by setting off a line of questioning more commonly seen with trial lawyers.
The agent, who gave roundabout answers when Block asked if his subscription can be canceled over the phone, demanded a reason for the service termination request. He asked questions like "Why don't you want faster speed?" and "You don't want something that works?"
The recording, which was posted on Soundloud, sounds more like a break-up conversation rather than a customer service call. The representative repeatedly asked for an explanation for the cancelation. Block replied that he did not need to explain his decision. A few minutes after, the same question would resurface. The recording was said to have started ten minutes into the exchange, meaning Block and his wife answered questions from the agent for 18 minutes before their service was canceled.
The low point of the exchange was when the agent insisted on having Block answer questions on a circular argument as a condition for his release. The move, which was clearly a delaying tactic, always circled back to the question of why Block was canceling his service. "I'm declining to state, can you please go to the next question," Block replied repeatedly.
In a post on his Twitter account, Block said that the representative did cancel their service during the call. They did not trust the agent so his wife went to a store to check if their service was discontinued.
Tom Karinshak, Comcast's senior vice president for customer experience, said that his company was "embarrassed" over the exchange. "The way in which our representative communicated with him is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives," he said in a press statement.
Block responded by saying that the company should evaluate its culture and policies, and not just use the agent as a scapegoat.