Even Comcast fires rogue employees; why don’t police departments sack rogue cops?

cOMCAST  BECOMES bIG vROTHER 3Comcast has one of the worst reputations in American business. It consistently ranks very high on “most hated companies” lists. They’re notorious for stonewalling customers who try to cancel their service. Last week, Comcast made national news when a financially struggling Spokane family that tried switching to a less expensive plan found their billing statement changed from “Ricardo Brown” to “Asshole Brown.”

This came on top of bad publicity for other egregious actions, like putting a customer who called to cancel his service on hold for three hours. Recognizing a public relations disaster in the making, Comcast fired the employee, had a senior executive call the family to apologize, and erased their bill and promised to refund their previous two years of bills.

The family said of the Comcast executive, “He was very professional, very polite, very apologetic; he tried to turn it around.” Comcast issued a statement saying, “In every interaction we have with a customer, we need to show them respect, patience, and enthusiasm to provide them with an excellent experience.” In other words, they did exactly what you expect a private business to do when an employee goes off the deep end and gives the company a black eye, and the family says they’re satisfied.

Virtually no one, except maybe police unions and racist rightwingers, is satisfied with how police departments in Ferguson, New York City, Cleveland, Albuquerque, and elsewhere have handled a spate of police shootings of unarmed (and mostly black) citizens. They’ve responded to public outcries with stonewalling, to peaceful demonstrations with military force, they’ve refused to discipline violent cops, and they’ve resisted change. The result is plunging public confidence in the police, which is absolutely due to the failure of the police establishment to address these issues, and of police unions who go out of their way to inflame tensions, further undermining public trust and confidence in police.

America’s police departments could learn from Comcast. They’ve forgotten who their “customers” are, i.e. the citizens they’ve sworn to serve and protect, not the police unions they habitually suck up to. They need to reform their policing practices and fire rogue cops. If they don’t, America’s police crisis will only worsen. If Comcast can shape up, why can’t they?

Postscript: I’ve never been a Comcast customer, and never will be, but despite that I’ve had run-ins with Comcast’s hardsell tactics. Over a period of several years, they sent me 1,000+ pieces of junk mail (that’s no exaggeration), and when I didn’t respond (why would I? I don’t own a TV that works), they dispatched salesmen to my door, who ignored the “No Soliciting” sign and kept coming back even after I told them I don’t have a TV. Maybe I need a different sign (see photo).

Uneverminddogpdate: This wasn’t an isolated incident; additional similar stories are surfacing, but the company seems committed to resolving the problem.

I suspect this has something to do with the employee incentive structure. When things like this happen it’s usually because employees are pressured to make sales or retain customers. AOL had similar issues years ago, when their internet service subscribers were leaving in droves.

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