Comcast Employees Are Apparently Stressed and Sad

Journalists keep trying to crack the company's behind-the-scenes culture.

That story about the Comcast rep who tried to pressure a customer into staying with the company … well, it’s not going away. The International Business Times is on the story today:

According to current and former call-center employees, almost every phone representative who takes customer-service calls for Philadelphia’s $67 billion cable colossus is really a salesperson in disguise. Are you calling in with a technical question, connection problems or billing concerns? In any case, expect to reach someone whose job it is to sell you more stuff, even if the stuff you already have isn’t working. It’s not an easy gig. Comcast employees describe a taxing corporate culture in which anyone who fails to meet an expansive myriad of metrics, including closing a sale whenever possible, is ultimately cut loose. “They are under a lot of pressure to upsell,” one former Chicago-area phone rep told International Business Times. “There is no motivation to solve a problem unless it could result in an upsell.”

Gizmodo makes it sound worse, going to Whisper, an app where people vent their darkest fears anonymously, to find stuff like this:

And, oh dear, this:

Gizmodo adds: “Death threats are hard enough on their own, but on top of all that, employees tell us that they also have to worry about whether or not they’ll even be getting paid enough to make ends meet. That forces them to push customers further, making them even more infuriated than they were when they first made the call. Based on our conversations with the Comcast employee, it appears to be a vicious cycle, with the only winner being Comcast’s profit margin.”

Other Comcastic headlines. There’s even some not-bad news for Comcast in there today:

Comcast Steps Up Its Game on Internet Speeds: Comcast Corp., the largest cable operator in the U.S., has quietly begun extending fiber optic cable all the way to customers’ homes in certain parts of its service area, a significant shift that could help the company better compete with all-fiber providers like Verizon Communications Inc. and Google Inc on Internet speeds.For years, cable operators have run fiber optic cables, which have enormous bandwidth capacity, only to a central point in local areas, with lower-capacity coaxial cables wired to individual homes. That approach means cable subscribers have to effectively share bandwidth, putting cable operators at a disadvantage when competing with fully fiber TV and broadband providers like Verizon’s FiOS that can offer more reliable, dedicated access. Fiber networks are also easier to upgrade for faster Internet speeds. Comcast’s change of approach came to light after the company recently submitted a proposal to a neighborhood board to build out a fiber network for 530 homes in Sun Valley, Fla., where Comcast offers cable TV service. (Wall Street Journal)

Time Warner Cable CEO: FCC workload may delay Comcast merger: In a memo sent to Time Warner Cable employees Thursday, C.E.O. Rob Marcus said that a strained F.C.C. could delay approval for the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable mergerIn the letter, Marcus cited the other mega telecom merger on the Commission’s docket, that of AT&T and DirecTV, as well as a possible combination of Sprint and T-Mobile. Its case load, he noted, also currently includes issues related to net neutrality and wireless spectrum auctions, with the possibility of a deal that involves Time Warner on the horizon. (Capital New York)

Behind Comcast’s truthy ad campaign for net neutrality: In an ongoing ad campaign, Comcast touts that it’s the only internet service provider (or ISP) legally bound by “full” net neutrality and that the company wants to expand that commitment to even more people. This sounds great for consumers; it’s the kind of thing that might convince skeptical regulators to give Comcast the benefit of the doubt. But the advertising claims come with some big, unstated caveats that could be confusing to consumers who already find the net neutrality debate a jumble of jargon and rhetoric. None of what Comcast has claimed is factually untrue. But the company omits some facts in its advertising that gives the impression that it is unconditionally committed to “full” net neutrality, whatever that might mean, when the bigger picture is somewhat more complicated. (Washington Post)