You may have heard this recent horror story out of Comcast, the vast cable company that is the largest in the world. A frustrated customer recorded his phone call with their customer service and it wasn’t pretty. The company had already caused too many problems to mention for this customer, but refused to remove bogus charges on the customer’s bill. The charges were removed only after the customer told the representative that he had recorded the long, contentious call and the rep then went on to admit that that is what she was doing—refunding only because the call had been recorded.

Another now-famous recorded phone call with Comcast features a customer trying desperately to get his Internet service disconnected, with a customer service rep, instead, trying to talk him out of it and into other services!

Now it turns out that the problem may have arisen because of company policy and training.  According to a recent news story,  Comcast grades its customer service reps on the amount of sales they accomplish.  Sales staff clearly should get measured on how much they sell. Not so with customer service or technical repair personnel.  When a phone call about a technical service problem or billing problem turns into a sales pitch, customers are likely to become angry. Along the way in one of these recorded conversations, the customer service rep was heard to say, “We value you as our customer.”

Do you really?

Cable companies and Internet service providers are listed as two of the most hated industries in the U.S. economy. Perhaps your goal, as a company that wants to procure and hang on to your customers, is to study what these companies do, then do the opposite.