'A--hole' Gaffe Says a Lot About Comcast
Company policy pits customers, service reps against each other, says critic
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2015 1:57 PM CST
Comcast installation trucks in Pittsburgh.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(Newser) – Yet another customer service gaffe by Comcast made headlines this week—this one a doozy in which the company changed a customer's name to "A--shole Brown" on the cable bill. Sure, it's never wise to judge a company by the actions of one employee, writes Timothy Lee at Vox, but he thinks the incident does, in fact, speak volumes about Comcast's corporate culture. The company "prices its products in a way that puts its representatives in an adversarial relationship with customers," he writes. "That makes this kind of bitterness more likely."

When people call to cancel, complain, or request a discount after their low, low introductory offers morph into higher bills, customer service reps at Comcast are essentially judged on successful they are at rebutting them. Contrast that with no-hassle return policies at big retailers such as Target. "If you set up a company that deliberately pits your customers against your representatives, it's not surprising that everyone involved will get frustrated," writes Lee. And pretty soon, one of those frustrated employees is going to do something dumb like change a customer's name to a grade-schooler's favorite insult. (Click for the full column. Or to read about an epic Comcast customer service call.)