An Insider Look At Comcast's Customer Service Boot Camp

Travel with Consumer Watch columnist Jon Yates of the Chicago Tribune to the training ground of our nation’s elite. The few, the powerless, and the often berated: Comcast customer service representatives. Yates sat in on a training class for new reps, sat in on many live calls, and shared the secrets of agents’ formation. Sort of.

New CSRs at Comcast’s Woodbridge, Ill. customer service center go through eleven weeks of training before they’re let loose on the public, but the job also requires people skills that are impossible to teach in a classroom.

Even with 11 weeks of training, there is a mind-numbing amount of information to learn, from price structures to technical support to basic human relations. But mostly I learned that taking customer service calls isn’t as easy as it seems.

“Sometimes it’s hard, but we’re learning to just put ourselves in the customer’s shoes,” said Carla Woodson, a trainee who had transferred to the Woodridge facility after spending two years answering calls for Comcast in Peoria.

Woodson, 40, said she knows what some people think about customer service agents.

“There is a bad perception, and we’re working to change it,” she said.

She looked around the room at her 13 classmates, mostly young men and women, all seemingly bright and enthusiastic.

“We are your mother, your sister, your family,” Woodson said. “We do care.”

In the end, Yates learned what any experienced consumer warrior or former call center employee can tell you: if you have a bad experience, call back. Any call center has bad apples, but eventually, you might reach a competent person willing to help you.

So you think you can be a customer service agent? [Chicago Tribune] (Thanks, Mary!)

(Photo: cmorran123)