Why you shouldn't get your client sacked from his job
October 9, 2014
By Austin Kim
Could a company sink any lower when it gets another company to sack one of its employees because they had the arrogance to complain about said company’s customer service? Well if there was any doubt then all you need to do is look at the example US Company Comcast has now provided business management authors everywhere when it allegedly had Californian Conal O’Rourke fired from his job at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Firstly a little bit of a back story: over a period of almost a year O’Rourke had been complaining to Comcast that they had been billing him for charges he had not incurred, promises to fix issues went unresolved and they even managed to misspell his name on invoices. Then there was the allegation that Comcast had attempted to send creditors looking for their customer even before the bills were due. O’Rourke had taken time to document everything into a spreadsheet and when he had finally had enough he threatened to take the company to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and from there – it was pretty much all downhill.
Remarkably Comcast made contact with PwC (his employer) and complained that O’Rourke was using his position at the company (ok, so for those who don’t know what PwC does they are pretty much an accounting, auditing and consulting firm) and said something akin to “we’re a pretty important client of yours” and so you can do the math right – tell your employee to back off or you’re no longer a supplier.
Technia reported that “O'Rourke says that on February 7, 2014, he was subjected to an internal PWC ethics investigation as a result of the call. On February 18, O'Rourke was terminated.” Naturally the poor customer who has now lost his job is seeking to take action against Comcast and be reinstated in his job. Comast had until the 14th of October 2014 to respond they have already issued an apology online which, in part says: “We’re holding ourselves accountable and we are working hard to make real improvements across the board.”
So let’s unpack this in terms of things that you shouldn’t do in business:
While the customer is not always right often a situation escalates and gets out of control when the business actually doesn’t really respond to an initial issue. As we all know an issue can fast get out of control and get bigger if it’s not resolved. In the case of O’Rourke the issues all looked relatively controllable, easily fixed and quite minor – but, because the left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing in respect of Comcast it’s fair to say the issue didn’t just grow out of control they were in play for nearly a year. Lesson: deal with problems in the immediate before they fester and get out of control
The single biggest risk to a company or business that goes down the path that Comcast did is the impact it has on its brand value and customer responsiveness. According to this year’s American Customer Satisfaction Index Comcast is already the second worst ranked ISP – does it really need to sink any lower? Lesson: be aware that issues that remain unresolved and that are allowed to fester may have a brand value impact by the very fact customers may feel they have no other alternative than to take the issue to social media or the courts. In the case the story has been doing the rounds globally and is subject to court action – in other words, the double whammy of corporate madness.
Just because Comcast is a big customer of PwC doesn’t give it the right to call their own customers employer and heap pressure on them to sack him. In fact the greater question that needs to be answered by Comcast is what in confidence information did they have access to that identified the customers employer and then what measure did they take to get in touch with the employer – it all sounds a little creepy to us. Lesson: arrogance breeds complacency and it’s no wonder there are questions about the workplace culture of Comcast.
As I said, the customer is not always right but often they are and situations spiral out of control because someone, somewhere just didn’t fix the problem when it was small.
What do you think of Comcast’s conduct?
About the Author: Austin Kim heads EntreHub's Tech Writers team
Don’t forget our elders can suffer in silence too: suicide prevention
Many people think that mental health and suicide are not topics that impact our elders but they could not be more wrong. The data tells us there continues to be an emerging trend when it comes to peop...
Wherever you look these days, not matter the developed country, whole population groups and peoples struggle with the daily grind of life. From children in state care to mental health, from affordable housing to the primary health system and from education to employmen...
For the last few years I have been fortunate to have been involved in the aged care sector and have seen both the lows and highs. Today we live in a world where most of us are living longer thank to more awareness around healthy living, the advancement of better medica...
You can’t go past a news paper, radio show or television news story these days without being flooded by all things Bitcoin or Crypto Currency. Some say it’s the new world of money while others suggest its all just a passing fad. Whatever your position or preference of...