The negotiation goddess meets Comcast

November 26, 2012

It was a morning like any other morning: I was up way too early. A few bills were sitting on my desk and I figured I’d pay them.  One of them was from my cable / internet provider, a company that’s name begins with a C and ends with a t.

“Wow!” I thought, “$230.00 is high. Way higher than our normal bills have been.”  It was 7:15a.m. but I knew I could reach my cable company 24/7. So I called.

India answered. I think India handles the overnight shift. After a short hold, a courteous man began to read my bill to me as explanation.

“I can see the breakdown myself,” I told him. “I need to know why it’s gone up.”

“Oh, I can not help you with that, let me connect you with Retention.”

From the start, I could tell Retention was in America, but also that she was definitely not in a good mood. Maybe she’d been up all night or maybe she just was a bitch.

I told her that I was concerned that my bill had gone up significantly and I mentioned that friends were getting more services for less money from Direct TV.

“”I can reduce your service,” she said. “That will lower your bill.”

I explained yet again that I was not interested in getting fewer services for less money. I wanted the same service for less money.

“Well,” she sniped, “I can’t do anything for you if you don’t want to do anything about your bill.”

Of course, that was a lie. She was just in a bad mood. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I can be a bitch and you’re right, I can. But it was way too early to get my bitch on.

“May I speak to a supervisor?” I politely asked.

“May I please ask why?” she responded.

“Because I don’t think we are communicating.”

I agreed to hold.  Four minutes later, she was back. She’d had a complete personality change AND had a great offer for me: $89 a month base rate. Wow! I was thrilled!

“You’ll get an automated call that you must agree to, and then it’s done,” she said.  I thanked her, and we said goodbye.

I told hubby and he was suitably impressed at the gigantic savings.  At that moment I knew why I was teaching college-level negotiation. I was a negotiating goddess!

The phone rang and I responded to the automated confirmation. It rang again with the automated customer service survey. (Info you can use: I’ve learned that Comcast hold time is significantly shortened if you agree to the survey at the front end.)

I felt good. Just as I was hanging up, hubby comes running in.

“They cut off the cable box to our family room TV.”

Sure as shit, they had. And I was sure as shit that Miss Comcast Rep had done so in retaliation for my asking for a supervisor.

What a disaster–hubby couldn’t get the NFL channel in the family room. This had to be fixed, and quickly. Thursday night football was at stake.

I dialed Comcast back.

“Yes, they have reduced your service, as you asked.”

“No, I didn’t ask, the rep knew I wanted to keep my services.”

“Well, there’s an error message on your account. I can’t clear it, I have to send you to Internet Dept.”

“OMG, what have you done to my internet service?”

“Please hold while I connect you.”

After 20 minutes of trying, Internet couldn’t help clear the error or cancel the cut services. They sent us to Tech Support. Nope. Then they “escalated” to Sales. 

“I can not change your account, there is no provision recourse,” a female rep told me.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“There is no provision recourse.” (or some such not understandable term)

“But what does it mean?”

“I don’t know what it means,” she responded. Yes, she really said that. She put me on hold so long that we got a recording in Spanish that was so faint we could barely hear it. It just kept going until we finally hung up and called back.

I looked at the clock. It was 9:50 a.m. I had begun at 7:20 a.m. and was in an endless loop of Comcast incompetency.

Again, I explained myself to the new rep. I decided to try some crocodile tears.

“OMG, why are you doing this to me???” I cried in my best crazy-woman voice. “I want a manager.”

Meanwhile, I was madly tweeting @Comcastcares (ha!) and Comcast Will, Comcast Steve and all the other Twitter accounts related to Comcast customer service. 

“I will get you to a supervisor,” was the response.

“NO!” I cried, in my crazy voice. “I want a manager!!”  (Wahhhhh!)

My imitation of an insane woman finally got me a grown man who was not only articulate but seemed to be in charge.

“Tell me what happened,” he asked, in a soothing voice.  I started my tale, calmly, and by the time I had the second sentence out, our family room cable box began to repopulate. Yes, he had fixed it.

In fact, Miss Bitchy Comcast Rep had reduced our service. But he had restored it. Finally, someone who knew what he was doing. He apologized profusely, and offered to give us a little discount.

Ok then.  I took a deep breath and got in the shower. Then left for work, my nerves frayed.

At school, my cell phone rang.

“This is Cecilia in the Executive Escalation Department for California and I am returning your call about the complaint you’ve made that rates are too high.”

What? Rates certainly ARE too high, but  I’d made no such complaint. But Twitter’s @ComcastWill, or whatever his name was, without evening knowing my story, had made one on my behalf. Nice move, Tweeter! He knew what would happen. I’d get to the right department. Executive Escalation. Boy, that does sound important, doesn’t it?

Ah, Cecilia. She is a Comcast Rock Star.  I told Cecilia my entire story, including my belief that Miss Bitchy Comcast Rep had done it on purpose.

Miss Cecilia has a great job. She comes in after a customer has had a complete nervous breakdown and offers comfort and financial candy. She made me very, very happy.  She gave me a great rate for two years, plus a credit and some free premium channels. The confirmation email read like this:

 I added the HBO and Showtime for free for 6 months, when that time is up contact me and I will add another 6 months to make it one year. I also credited your account 125.94.   If this has been a good experience please let others know that they can also contact me to help with issues. Also our Corporate office would love to hear your feedback at xxx xxx xxxx.

It only took me three hours and a nervous breakdown. But I did put Cecilia on speed dial. And I’ll be making that call to Corporate office.  Has this been a good experience? That’s not a very complicated question at all.

Cecilia, you do rock but Comcast? You don’t give a shit until you’ve reduced your customer to a quivering mass of hysteria.

Need Cecilia to handle a California Comcast issue? Leave me your email and I’ll share her info.

Oh, and hubby’s begun a conversation with Direct TV. Just in case.

5 comments on “The negotiation goddess meets Comcast
  1. Anonymous says:

    You haven’t seen anything until you try dealing with AT and T; makes ComCast (which is terrible)look nearly saintly. These companies have virtual monopolies to the point where they’re non-competitive. And isn’t that unAmerican? I think an investigation is warranted.

  2. Grace Hodgin says:

    Isn’t that a shame? All that grief they gave you. My cable provider bill went up and I told them at the office that I thought was a pretty big rate jump and the woman said, “Here let me repackage your service.” To minutes later I was paying almost 30 dollars less. I went home and gave her a compliment. I have Bighthouse and I love them!

  3. This sounds SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO familar. Every 6 months to a year our bill sky rockets when our “Special” runs out. Then my husband has to spend 3 hours on the phone explaining that our budget for internet and cable is $100 period. That is all. Finally, someone listens and poof..we have a $100 bill again. WHY Why why? do we have to go through this silly charade #EverySingleTime ????

  4. Jennifer Comet Wagner says:

    We don’t have Comcast where I live and I’m glad. When Verizon FiOS comes to your area, I highly recommend it.

  5. Oh geez Louise! I thought Cablevision was bad … not sure I would last through Comcast.

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