Comcast doesn’t like customer churn any more than any other company in any other industry. But one of its service agents crossed the customer retention line -- and the customer caught it all on tape.

An eight-minute recording circulating the Internet reveals a Comcast employee hassled Ryan Block and his wife, Veronica Belmont, when they said they wanted to cancel their service. “Why is it that you’re not wanting to have the number one-rated Internet service, number one-rated television service available?” the rep asked.

The recording went massively viral by Tuesday, probably because Block works in the media and lit the fire. A former editor of Engadget, Block works for AOL as a writer and Web show host.

Block Keeps Pressing

Tom Karinshak, Senior Vice President of Customer Experience at Comcast Cable, said the company is “very embarrassed” by the way its employee spoke with Block and Belmont and have reached out to make a personal apology.

“The way in which our representative communicated with them is unacceptable and not consistent with how we train our customer service representatives. We are investigating this situation and will take quick action,” Karinshak said." While the overwhelming majority of our employees work very hard to do the right thing every day, we are using this very unfortunate experience to reinforce how important it is to always treat our customers with the utmost respect.”

Block fired back on Twitter: “I hope the quick action you take is a thorough evaluation of your culture and policies, and not the termination of the rep.”

What We Can Learn

We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his take on the Comcast fiasco. He told us the incident highlights several issues.

“First, people often do some incredibly stupid things for what they think are the right reasons,” he said. “For instance, while I was at IBM we had a tech worker effectively pull the plug on a large firm's phone system because they didn't want to pay for a maintenance contract. The head of the division, unfortunately for the tech, was on that firm's board.”

Second, he continued, in this age of social media and analytics there is no reason not to know that a customer is in the media business -- and to make sure there is oversight for that account so the customer doesn't get an inexperienced customer service rep who can cause a viral blow up like this one.

A Comcast-like customer service fiasco could happen to any company these days, but Enderle believes this married couple may have called the cable operator as part of a story. The treatment they experienced had a very high probability of becoming a problem for executive management, he said, and no department head wants to be a problem for executive management.

“Finally, people-facing employees need to be constantly cautioned to not over push a customer who is dissatisfied and leaving,” Enderle said. “They are already unhappy with the service making them more unhappy with the exit treatment does no one any good.”