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Comcast’s Leaked ‘Retention Specialist’ Handbook Reveals The Keys To A Low(er) Hassle Cancellation

By 08.05.14
Cable Giant Comcast To Acquire Time Warner Cable

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The recent nightmare customer service call that went viral proved something many of us already knew: Dealing with Comcast — and cable companies, in general — is almost impossible, especially if you want to downgrade your current package or cancel your plan entirely. The company’s “Retention Specialists” have been trained to meet every possible objection and extract all the information they can, with the goal of dissuading you from giving them less money than you currently do. Is it good business on their part? Well, yeah. Probably. Is it annoying as all hell and a borderline criminal misuse of the term “customer service”? Also yes.

Luckily, the good folks at The Verge have obtained a copy of Comcast’s Retention Specialist Handbook and shared its secrets with the world. In addition to laying out some of the tricks they use to overcome objections and build rapport (which include, seriously, saying things like “Enjoy Game of Thrones tonight”), the handbook lists the reasons for cancellation where the Retention Specialists is not expected to make a “save.” These are useful. Pay attention.

Save Attempt is Not Applicable in the Following Scenarios

- Customer is moving in with an existing Comcast customer (CAE must verify Comcast services active at new address)
– Customer is moving to a non-Comcast area (CAE must verify by looking up zip code)
– Account holder is deceased / incapacitated
– Temporary / seasonal disconnect and Seasonal Suspend Plan is not available in their area
– Natural disaster
– Customer doesn’t know what address they’re moving to

Now, admittedly, some of these aren’t going to help your Average Joe Cordcutter. I certainly wouldn’t suggest calling up today and saying “Yeah, uh, I need to cancel because… because… THERE’S A TORNADO HEADED STRAIGHT FOR US. OH NO. IT GOT MY CABLE BOX” or trying to convince them you died and are calling them from beyond the grave. Same with the last one, because I’ve got to believe “I don’t know my new address” will lead to a zillion follow-up questions.

But. BUT. Take note of the second item on the list: “Customer is moving to a non-Comcast area (CAE must verify by looking up zip code).” Until Comcast went ahead and purchased Time Warner (provided the deal still goes through), this was apparently as simple as lying and saying “I need to cancel my service because I’m moving to New York. Yup, the Big Apple. I’m gonna see my name in lights, I tells ya!” It’s a bit trickier now, especially since a Google search for “zip codes with no Comcast service” turns up pages and pages of helpful sites that redirect or link straight to a page filled with Comcast’s current deals on packages, but if you happen to know someone who knows someone who lives in an area Comcast doesn’t serve, and you’re a convincing fibber, bingo. (UPDATE: Couple examples in the comments. Take notes.)

Of course, the other option is saying “I’m moving back in with my parents and they already have Comcast,” but seeing as half the country already lives with their parents, the rep will probably see right through that one.

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