Leaked Comcast PowerPoint paints a picture of a bumbling, evil, stupid monopolist

In this remarkable leaked Powerpoint presentation produced by a Comcast employee to brief co-workers about how incredibly shit their customer service is, a series of frank admissions of total incompetence, inadequacy and pathetic bumbling paint a (fatally accurate) picture of a monopolist in decline. My favorite quote: "On average, gas is $4.07 (too high for unnecessary truck rolls) and very shortly cable will go from a 'need' to an option for some people."
Comcast Quits Early

Technicians are not showing up for appointments and it appears they are not being held accountable.

* Comcast technicians and subcontractors routinely cancel/reschedule customer appointments without approving or even notifying the customer of the change when they are tired of working.

* Several of my customers have complained that the technician was rude or short with them when they refused to let him come earlier than scheduled.

Scott of New Hudson MI (01/29/07) “I made 3 separate appointments to have Comcast come out and install cable, phone, and high speed internet as part of their Triple Play deal. The first appointment came and went, nobody showed up or called. Set up another appointment, but they did call to cancel that one…”

PPT Link (via Consumerist)


  1. yes, yes all according to plan. Best the peons not get on line until we have a certain way to control their yapping.

  2. Either broadband customer service is a totally different department, or I’ve just had really good luck. Maybe if I had cable instead, it would be a different story . . . ?

    Sounds like this was put together by a customer account rep justifiably fed-up with bad management policies and practices. Unfortunately, the demoralizing work environment the (presumed) employee describes doesn’t sound very different from complaints I’ve head from friends who who’ve worked in other large tech/internet/telecom/media call centers.

  3. I can attest to being one of those customers that continues to subscribe to cable, hates the company, and has no choice.

    But I use Charter.

  4. Comcast has the worst customer service I’ve ever dealt with.

    Example: last month I noticed a charge for HBO on my bill. I’ve never had HBO. I called to ask about the charge, and was told that it’s been on my bill for the past three months “after you requested it”. Since I don’t have HBO and certainly didn’t request it, I asked for it to be removed from my bill and the money I’d paid for it refunded to me. The serviceperson laughed and said “absolutely not.” I spent over two hours on the phone with three successive supervisors, all of whom told me that they’d never refund me the money they stole from me. The last supervisor was a little shocked when she heard the story and said “of course we’ll refund it.” Done.

    Seriously, what’s up with Comcast? Are they TRYING to be evil?

  5. To note, the BoingBoing writeup seems to be taking some of the things out of context. This looks like a presentation given by someone trying to turn Comcast’s lackluster customer service around by pointing out (and poking fun at) the ways in which Comcast is falling short.

    I’m not sure, though, whether that someone is a customer service training manager who has been asked to give a presentation, or a disgruntled CAE venting. The unprofessionalism of the way in which the presentation is put together (not enough time to read the screens before it moves on, spelling errors) seems to argue for the latter.

  6. I doubt it’s a hoax – looks more like a frustrated call center employee made presentation and sent it to his superiors. That same employee or his coworker friends are likely responsible for leaking it.

    This sort of thing isn’t infrequent in the desperate environs of call centers managed like by severely-disconnected-from-reality PHBs.

    Nearly everyone has who has used Comcast has a story about craptastic service or other failures. Yet many people don’t have much of a choice in providers, and are more or less stuck. I’m an example. Lovely mature trees in my yard block visibility to satellites, so Dish and DirecTv are out – not that it really matters, since I don’t need/want a million channels. But for broadband, my only other option is Qwest DSL – at a blazing 128kbps (when it works).

  7. Actually, the unprofessionalism makes me think it’s a VP trying to shock the audience (at the all-hands, no doubt) with the bold new approach of providing good service for a fair price, and communicating adequately with customers. That said, Comcast has been okay for me.

  8. #7: I agree, this is either someone within the company that’s speaking frankly and addressing the company’s problems, or it’s a disgruntled employee. If it’s the former, more power to him, these things need to be said (and they have to work on their PP skillz).

    I’ve had internet problems for the last two weeks (Comcast customer), it’s a sad testament that I’ve gone through these problems before (usually once every 6 months to a year) but this time they really did seem on the ball, even if they couldn’t find the problem.

    When it finally came to a technician coming out, the guy was awesome. Explained exactly what he was doing, what everything meant on his line meter gadget, checked every angle, and the “why” of it all. He fixed the problem through sheer will and replacing everything he could in the house and the junction box out back. He even left his cellphone number in case I had more problems.

    Then, after he was done with the service call, he asked me to jump his van! Apparently Comcast sent him out in a car with a bad alternator, and his supervisor handed him set of jumper cables and told him to “make do”. Things aren’t all perfect at Comcast.

  9. That is the most pathetic Powerpoint I’ve ever seen: different size fonts, bad graphics, blah blah blah. I smell a hoax too. Notice all the quotes are from Michigan.

    Personally, I heart my DishNetwork.

  10. As a seven year veteran of being a cable tech(subcontractor), I can testify that all of that is true. For Comcast and Charter. If your experience has been better it has been luck. I’ve had to pick up jobs that in house and other subs just didn’t show up for. Comcast would overbook us with jobs the way airlines overbook flights. My favorite was when they gave us another time for appointments so that we would have “more time”. They added 10am-12noon. We already had a 9:30-12:30 time frame. They tried to give us more time by adding another time frame inside a time frame we already had.

  11. Putting the presentation into an obnoxious full-screen PPT (with sound effects!) is worse customer service than anything Comcast has ever done.

  12. Like GEEKPDX @9, we have a yard full of mature trees (the entire neighborhood is that way) and very few people can get dish. We were stuck with Comcast until Verizon wired us for FiOS. We were literally the first kids on the block to make the switch.

    The customer service wasn’t bad. Techs generally arrived when promised (they even sent one out on a Sunday), and the service installers knew their stuff. Yet, we had terrible signal issues, and every time they fixed a problem we’d be back to crappy Internet speeds and interference-filled cable in two weeks. We had a better network HDTV signal through the trees via the rooftop antenna than we got with cable most of the time.

    I do know people who have had nightmarish issues with Comcast.

    But man, I love fiber! Even with the last rate increase (we went two years before they raised the rates) we’re paying just a tad more than we paid Comcast – and we have Internet, TV and landline service. More channels and faster Internet speeds, to boot. So far I’ve not had a bad customer service issue with them. I suppose it could all go south at anytime, gut so far we’re happy.

  13. #7 and #11 – I agree with both of you…this doesn’t look like a “muahaha no one has any choice but Comcast and we shall suck them dry” sort of presentation; it looks more like a “I shall try to impress upon someone within the company why we are losing customers, and I’ll do it with dry humor” kind of an attempt. However, it’s not a very GOOD attempt, and out of context, parts of it look really bad.

    #14 – you hit the nail on the head…LOL…I ended up saving it to desktop and then opening powerpoint first after ‘WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE…BLAH BLAH BLAH’ blared from my speakers. Sheeeeeeeesh!

  14. Uh, that’s “but so far we’re happy.” My brain is trying to shut down for the weekend.

  15. I don’t know or care how real the presentation is because it is quite accurate to most of my experiences with Comcast. They do sometimes get it right, but they are more often clueless.

    I called once to report an outage (phone, cable, and ISP all down) and the idjit on the other end told me, “No outages have been reported in that area.”
    D’uh – somebody has to be the first to call it in.

  16. Controuble @18:

    Actually, it’s worse than you think. Outages can’t be reported by (customer)callers, or even flagged by the regular folks answering the phone.

    The call centre I worked at had to internally, by word of mouth, let people on the phones know “there is an outage at _x_ area”. The ‘System’ was not to be trused to always let us know. Why? Well, I was told:

    Computers or the local techs can flag an outage when they notice it. ‘We’ cannot.
    Computers notice if enough boxes SHOW offline in the internal checking system… if they’re taking turns showing offline… or show online but don’t actually work for the customer (or a combination thereof), the ‘System’ wont catch it.
    The local techs? I couldnt’ tell you how/when they notice, and I don’t knwo what they have to do to flag their area as in an “outage”. This is because the commuications between them and the call centres is pretty much one way, and only through a computerised system that just schedules “truckrolls”. Enough trucks get rolled to one area, mebbe it will filter back through the system to us as an ‘outage’. some folks on the floor may collect local numbers, but they’re never officially GIVEN them. heaven forbid a useful number is passed out.)
    If the people handling hte calls successfully avoid rolling trucks, (totally encouraged), then perhaps no one notices ’till next tuesday.

    Also note – if you have an ‘outage’ in your area, and you have a truck coming for a completely unrelated issue… it likely got cancelled. Once the outage is over one can be scheduled again. But not before if you expect it to show up.

  17. I used to work for one of Comcast’s call centres up in Canada and I spent the majority of my eight and a half hour days fielding calls from people who were furious with the Comcast, often with 40 to 100 people in the queue. About a week into the job, I began to wonder why people even bothered getting the service in the first place. A lot of people angrily informed me that there was nothing but Comcast in their area or that their connectivity was fine and dandy until Comcast bought X Company out.

    I can’t tell you how many times people called to complain about their technicians. Often they were hours late, other times they just didn’t show up. One woman reported a tech who cursed at her when she asked a question. Others were furious that they were being made to wait yet another week for a tech when they’d had people out three times before and they would get connectivity for about an hour before having to call in again.

    The aforementioned bought-out customers had to use software that would bring your emails and address book over to the new Comcast email and set up email forwarding. It worked, but not often, and there was nothing I could do about it but push buttons and try to walk them through the exact same thing they’d done just a moment ago.

    Changing your password? Doing it more than three times in the span of two weeks (even if it’s done by tech support) locks your email. Only a supervisor can unlock it, which means another half hour plus spent listening to hold music. Of course, the customers were never told about this little “feature” and were furious when they found out about it.

    Also, the installation software itself would always report an error which must be reported to tech support. Thing is, it’s not an error and the CD itself is bloody useless. All you have to do is call Comcast and we would click a few buttons, fill in a few boxes, create you an email address and with one reset of your modem, you were up and off to the races. Why the company didn’t just say “okay, now call this number and we’ll set it up for you” rather than “ERROR! ERROR! CALL TECH SUPPORT NOWWWW!” is beyond me.

    And don’t get me started on outages….

    There were more idiocy than I could possibly recall, I’m sure. I still have friends who work there, but turnover is so high that there are hirings every two weeks or so with maybe two or three people sticking around past three months. The call centre recently took out a full page ad in the local news rag, begging people to come work for them. I’m pretty sure they’ve gone through the town’s entire population by now.

    Forgive me if I come off as whiny or bitter (also, wall of text; my bad). My Comcast job is what caused me to get off my butt and get my current awesome job (hooray!), so I’m not carrying around a lot of hate, but it really pissed me off to work for a company that couldn’t possibly have been making so many boneheaded mistakes by complete accident.

  18. Comcast and Charter have been really good for me. I piggyback WiFi off my nearby library, watch PBS, subscribe to NetFlix, and read books. They save me money too.

  19. Surely this (the actual customer service experience, that is…I agree that there’s no evidence that this referenced presentation is literally how Comcast views their customer service) is a regional issue. My own experience with Comcast’s customer service has been nothing but excellence.

    Now, granted…they need excellent customer service, because their technical competence is severely lacking. But I really liked that when they screwed up, at least they did it with a smile, and always worked hard to fix my problems.

    In my short 2+ month relationship with them, they managed to send a guy later than his appointed time, bill me when they shouldn’t have, credit me when they shouldn’t have, and generally just mess everything up. But every time I called them, they cleared things up right away and did so in the friendliest way.

    Frankly, given how many screw-ups I run into on a regular basis who act like their screw-ups are just par for the course, it was refreshing to find a company who was actually apologetic and helpful about their screw-ups. Sure, I’d rather deal with someone who’s not screwing up, but that’s a pipe dream.

  20. wow. who in the world uses audio clips like that? I’m tempted to save this and use it as example for when I teach my public speaking classes how not to use powerpoint. I’ve never really seen the big hate about powerpoint but if this is how people use it I can understand the hate.

  21. I’m a former comcast subscriber in the local (philadelphia) market. The outages, torrent throttling, and customer service (or lack thereof) are most definitely valid. Installation took exactly 4 appointments, which included me taking 4 half days from work in order to accomodate the purported schedule. Outages confirmed amongst fellow apartment tenants and block-wide neighbors were met with derision, computer science credentials be damned. Screaming matches, in fact, ensued for both myself and my wife.

    The first day I read about the torrent throttling, I tested it out with a well seeded (and legal) torrent. The gap, with respect to other locations/providers, was clearly noticeable (this has since been confirmed elsewhere).

    The things that really irk me, though, are the attempts to insert themselves into the national (and especially local) narrative. For example, the failed buyout of disney.

    Then there’s the virtual monopoly over 3 of 4 local sports teams, which reside on CSN, or comcast sportsnet. Many markets experience this. Chicago, Washington DC, etc. Since moving to a new home, I’ve switched to satellite on principal alone. Washington and Chicago may purchase their local CSN through satellite. Comcast allows the purchase of CSN through satellite in every other market around the country… except philadelphia. No phils, no flyers, no sixers.

    If that were it, I wouldn’t be quite so bothered. It’s the attempts to ingratiate themselves (falsely) that bother me. For example, its well known that philly is the largest city in the US ( 4 teams) and longest suffering ( 25 years, 100 total seasons) to currently go without a championship. This has been charged to the curse of billy penn ( the namesake of the entire state, pennsylvania translates to ‘penn’s woods’). Since the city’s inception, the rule was that no building could be taller than the billy penn statue (which sits atop city hall). The last year we won was the year this was broken by modern skyscrapers.

    At any rate, comcast has just completed their mordor, now the tallest building in the city. Apparently they’ve put a miniature of william penn at the apex of their new building to relieve the curse (inside, not visible, of course) … and they can’t stop telling everyone about it. Any talk show, radio show or article, they’ll trot out their ‘contribution’.

    The stage has been set, the message established, and when 25 years of futility (likely more) has been lifted, you’ll have a lifetime of advertising. Congratulations, assholes.

  22. “Putting the presentation into an obnoxious full-screen PPT (with sound effects!) is worse customer service than anything Comcast has ever done.”

    No it’s not.

    I had many of the problems described on the ppt and above. I canceled Comcast by phone, brought the equipment back, and then had an antenna installed to get myself off the monthly money drip. I still got a bill for service from Comcast the next month. They said it was because the tech had not disconnected me at the pole! After the usual round of complaints, including one to county cable officieal, I got my money back.

  23. HA! If you go to the last slide and move or delete the picture of the “Mr. Moneybags with Money Raining Down”, below it is a picture of Mona Shaw holding a hammer stating “I Fought Back!” and subtitled “COMCAST service issues are why some consider this woman a hero”.

    I smell hoax, but that’s still pretty funny.

  24. I would hate to think that that was a real presentation. But I do know first hand that these are very real issues, regarding their customer service and their less than competitive pricing.
    I had to dance with Comcast for a long time because they were the only girl on the floor. But Cavalier showed up to the party and now I have a better dance partner. Hopefully Cavalier has asked to cut in with some of you.

Comments are closed.