These days, calling a customer service number and getting connected to an actual human rather than an automated answering machine can seem like a novelty. But sometimes it can turn into a nightmare — as proven by tech journalist Ryan Block's call to Comcast on Monday, during which he was berated by the customer service rep when he called to cancel his service.
Despite Block's simple, calm request to end his Comcast service, the rep refuses to do so, instead repeatedly demanding a reason for his cancellation. The rep also forcefully insists that Comcast is the top-rated service in the country. Listen for yourself:
Comcast issued a statement yesterday apologizing for the behavior of their rep (whom Block declined to name to the public), assuring that "the way in which our representative communicated with [Block and his wife] is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives."
However, today Block dug up a fascinating Reddit thread detailing Comcast's incentives programs that seem to in fact encourage this type of relentless behavior. The thread's poster, who claims to have worked for Comcast Corporate for nearly nine years, reveals that Comcast's so-called "retention specialists" are paid in accordance with how many customers they do — or don't — save.
Comcast uses "gates" for their incentive pays, which means that if you fall below a certain threshold (which tend to be stretch goals in the first place) then instead of getting a reduced amount, you get 0$. Let's say that if you retain 85 percent of your customers or more (this means 85 percent of the lines of businesses that customers have when they talk to you, they still have after they talk to you), you get 100 percent of your payout — which might be 5-10$ per line of business. At 80 percent you might only get 75 percent of your payout, and at 75 percent you get nothing. The CAEs (customer service reps) watch these numbers daily, and will fight tooth and nail to stay above the "I get nothing" number. This guy went too far, you're not supposed to flat out argue with them. But Comcast literally provides an incentive for this kind of behavior. [Reddit]
And with that, we wish you good luck in your next customer service call. Kimberly Alters
The professional hockey landscape was altered in just a few minutes Wednesday, as three blockbuster moves rocked the NHL. The Edmonton Oilers traded former No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for defenseman Adam Larsson in a move intended to shore up their right-shot defense, as the Oilers had only one right-shot defender under contract next year. Meanwhile, the Devils will acquire an elite offensive player in Hall, who tallied 65 points, including 26 goals, in 82 games this past season.
Not to be outdone, the Montreal Canadiens traded star P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Preds' captain Shea Weber in a swap of top-tier defensemen. Subban, who is four years younger than Weber, won the Norris Trophy — awarded to the league's top defenseman — back in 2013 and was described by Predator general manager David Poile as an "an elite offensive defenseman." Weber has finished in the top four in voting for the Norris Trophy five times in his career and looks to add veteran leadership to the Canadiens.
Presented with such major moves within a span of about half an hour, the hockey world reacted as calmly as one would expect:
*Logs on to Hockey Twitter* pic.twitter.com/mP6O8ACRVL
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) June 29, 2016
To top things off, down in Florida, coveted free agent Steven Stamkos — widely considered the prize of the 2016 offseason — re-signed with his current team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. He was due to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
In the face of mounting criticism over its lack of diversity, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just rolled out its longest and most diverse list of invitations to date. Of the 683 prospective new members, 46 percent are female and 41 percent are people of color. Among those invited are Idris Elba, John Boyega, and Alicia Vikander.
The Academy doesn't have the best track record when it comes to representation: Despite a viral protest campaign calling out its lily-white membership in 2015 using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, the organization failed to significantly improve upon its remarkably heterogeneous makeup last year. At the beginning of 2016, an estimated 92 percent of voting members were white, while about three-quarters were male. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs addressed the issue back in February, promising the organization would "continue to take action and not just speak."
In the first North American Leaders' Summit hosted in Canada in over a decade, President Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto underscored the importance of North American unity in their pledges to better fight climate change and emphasize free trade. "The politics of trade is difficult," Obama said, seemingly alluding to both Donald Trump's anti-globalization rhetoric of late and the recent Brexit vote. However, he continued, countries must not "shut ourselves off from the world." Regarding climate change, the leaders announced a goal to produce half of North America's power from renewable sources by 2025.
Changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement rule of origin were also unveiled, which will further free up trade by loosening criteria for a variety of products, including "pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, rubber, metals, industrial and electrical machinery, precision instruments, and natural gas," Bloomberg reports. Becca Stanek
Hillary Clinton isn't the only woman cracking glass ceilings lately. Actress Scarlett Johansson just made Hollywood history by becoming the "highest grossing actress of all time," and possibly the first woman to crack Box Office Mojo's top-ten list of the top-grossing actors, The Cut reports.
At number 10 on the list, with a total gross box office revenue of $3.3 billion, Johansson, 31, sits behind the likes of Harrison Ford, Samuel L. Jackson, and Morgan Freeman. However, Ford, who ranks first on the list, has a gross revenue nearly $1.5 billion more than Johansson's, at nearly $4.9 billion.
The next woman after Johansson on the list is Cameron Diaz at number 19. All in all, only nine women appear in the top 50. Becca Stanek
Opened in 2005, the Trump Institute charged people up to $2,000 to learn Trump's "wealth-creating secrets and strategies." While Trump didn't own the business, the institute allegedly lied about the extent of Trump's involvement despite Trump vowing that he was "teaching what I've learned." The program was actually run by a couple who had an extensive record of committing fraud, and the manual used to teach the students was largely plagiarized:
Unbeknownst to customers at the time, though, even the printed materials handed out to seminar attendees were based on a lie. The Trump Institute copyrighted its publication, each page emblazoned with "Billionaire's Road Map to Success," and it distributed the materials to those who attended the seminars.
Yet much of the handbook's contents were lifted without attribution from an obscure how-to guide published by Success magazine in 1995 called "Real Estate Mastery System."
At least 20 pages of the Trump Institute book were copied entirely or in large part from "Real Estate Mastery System." Even some of its hypothetical scenarios — "Seller A is asking $80,000 for a single-payer residence" — were repeated verbatim. [The New York Times]
Unsurprisingly, the Trump Institute eventually earned an F from the Better Business Bureau. "What criminals they are," one student said afterward. "They wanted to steal my money." Read the entire investigation at The New York Times. Jeva Lange
President Obama will finally hit the campaign trail with Hillary Clinton next Tuesday in Charlotte, North Carolina. The pair will appear in the battleground state for a discussion about "building on the progress we've made," the Clinton campaign said.
Obama was initially going to make his campaign debut two weeks ago in Wisconsin, but that appearance was canceled due to the mass shooting in Orlando. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said "busy schedules" prevented the pair from syncing up any earlier.
Obama is expected to be a powerful surrogate for Clinton, though he did lose the contested state of North Carolina in the 2012 presidential election. In his endorsement of Clinton earlier this month, Obama said he's unsure if "there's ever been someone so qualified [as Clinton] to hold this office." Becca Stanek