Days Inn Upsell Bot Has Feeling Too

Samuel was making an online reservation with Days Inn when he suddenly found himself face to face with a robot…


Samuel writes:

I just put in a reservation at daysinn.com for a friend’s upcoming wedding. I filled out my information and credit info and hit submit. On the confirmation page a popup appears with a person typing to me inside, asking me to sign up for some extra service. The name in the little box was “Sherry”. Finding it overly invasive I was a bit curious if this was a bot or really a person, so I typed in “hi”, she proceeded to spam the ever-living-crap out of the little text box with her offer. Much faster than any human could read….

Agent: Hi Samuel, I’m Jessica and just for visiting Days Inn today, we’d like to give you the opportunity to get $15 off your Days Inn reservation. Please type HI or HELLO in the space below to let me know you are there…
Agent: Just type HI in the space below…
Agent: Are you with me Samuel?
You: hi
Agent: Hi Samuel I have great news! I’ve just been authorized to increase your savings from $15 to $30! That’s a $30 cash back mail-in rebate on the reservation you just made!
Agent: This comes along with a membership to Days Inn Travelers Advantage with the first 30 days FREE. You’ll enjoy FULL ACCESS to our travel agency and get our LOW PRICE GUARANTEE on all of your eligible travel reservations!
Agent: And you can still get your $30 cash back mail-in rebate on your reservation even if you ever decide to cancel!
Agent: You have a full month to sample all the money saving benefits after joining the Days Inn Travelers Advantage program. If you wish to take advantage of this great offer, we will obtain the reservation information that you just provided to Days Inn, including credit card number and billing address, and activate your membership, where the first 30 days are free.
Agent: Unless you call to cancel during the 30-day trial period, your benefits will automatically continue at the low $11.00 monthly membership fee, or the then-current monthly fee, and will be automatically billed monthly to the credit card account described above without you having to do anything further.
Agent: You can cancel at any time by calling the toll-free number provided in the membership materials and you won’t be billed another dime – Your satisfaction is GUARANTEED. Remember, the $30 cash back mail-in rebate for your reservation is yours to use either way!
Agent: So Samuel, with your approval under the terms I just described and your confirmation that you’re over 18, I’ll activate your membership to Days Inn Travelers Advantage with the first 30 days free, and send your $30 cash back mail-in rebate. Is that OKAY with you?
You: no
Agent: Remember, you’ll have 30 days to look it over and try it out… If you decide that it is not for you, cancel within the first 30 days by calling 800-678-3029, and you will owe NOTHING!
You: Are you really a person?
Agent: yes
You: Why do you insist on harassing customers?
Agent: i am not harrassing im just letting you know how good our offer is
You: Do you not have a macro to respond to that?
Agent: what is a marco?
Agent: macro
You: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro
Agent: no
Agent: Okay, no problem, I’ll note that you have declined the offer and you will NOT be enrolled. Please note that YOUR CREDIT CARD WILL NOT BE CHARGED. Thank you for your time and have a good day!
You: A programmed response, much like all of the crap you spammed with after I said “hi”
Agent: ok sorry your harrasing me !
You: Also, please be aware this conversation will be sent to consumerist.com
Agent: there is nothing i did wrong
Agent: this is my job
Agent: and this is not conssiderd harrasssing

An popup sales rep to upsell a customer IS annoying. We felt slightly bad for Jessica (or Sherry or Agent or whatever her name is), but we busted out laughing at the end, just to see the total derail and the disconnect between the auto-script she churns out and when she actually tries to talk. Or maybe it’s like the end of Blade Runner when Deckard sees the unicorn; she’s learned real human emotion. And it hurts. — BEN POPKEN

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. FezMan88 says:

    Haha, you gotta love supervised automation

  2. bossco says:

    This happened to me with another chain. Just say no and move on with your life!

  3. bossco says:

    I had this happen with Travelodge. Just say no and move on with your life.

  4. FishingCrue says:

    They should build them in a spell checker. Though the misspellings do give that authentic, illiterate terminal worker feel.

  5. TPIRman says:

    I feel bad for her, too. I love the way that exchange played out. The particular way she phrased her plea — “this is my job” — I admit, it made my heart bleed a little.

    I don’t shed a tear for Samuel, who’d rather take the opportunity to treat someone like dirt than politely register his displeasure with the invasion and close the window. I had to roll my eyes at the “Do you not have a macro to respond to that” and the completely unhelpful Wikipedia entry. Ooh, look at the little keyboard Napoleon with his sarcasm and online en-cyc-lo-pedia. He certainly showed that minimum-wage cubicle-dweller who’s boss! Our hero!

  6. humphrmi says:

    I’ve had enough people saying “it’s just my job.” Boo hoo. If Jessica doesn’t want to be a paid http whore she should get a job where she doesn’t invade people’s web browsers for money. I also don’t like invading people’s privacy, so I’ve never worked in a job that does that.

    In the words of John Mellencamp “They call it your job, old hoss, but it sure don’t make it right. If you want me to, I’ll say a prayer for your soul tonight.”

  7. Elara says:

    She forgot to use the macro discussing how Traveler’s Advantage is a scam designed to rip a new one for anyone stupid enough to agree to sign up for it. Though poor “Jessica” is probably getting it even worse from her management for not signing up enough idiots for the “program,” and then again from people like Samuel.

  8. Kat says:

    At least a bot would know how to spell…

  9. faust1200 says:

    Agent: what is a marco?

    Polo!!!!

    Oh brother I could have had hours of fun with this.

    Ben, nice Blade Runner reference-hilarious!

  10. matt1978 says:

    humphrimi:
    Does your high horse take you everywhere you want to go? Just wondering. At least the lady has a job.

  11. castlecraver says:

    Last time something like this happened to me I wound up face to face with Dateline NBC.

  12. TPIRman says:

    castlecraver +1

  13. lindyman77 says:

    Poor soul, just trying to do her dead-end job and eek out a living up-selling. When I get those boxes, I just close them and go about my merry way. If is always too good to be true. Samuel is mean.

    /Indian accent
    Thank you come again.

  14. canuckistan says:

    I’d have to agree with the above:

    Downtrodden cubicle drone trying to make a buck: +1

    Douche from the internet feeling better about himself by linking to a f’in wikipedia entry: -1

    “OMG111 u tired to sellz me sumfin: Oh n0se! I will blog this! LOL @ u! I rule teh intarwebs!”

    Better just put this on boing boing already, it is THAT “teh ghey”.

    Winner: Chat-Bot. Congrats Douche, you’ve made me sympathetic to your enemy. Go chat-bitty! Your poor spelling and dedication to the upsell has won my heart.

    Also, co-sign the Bladerunner comment:

    It’s too bad she won’t live! But then again, who does?!

  15. Mogbert says:

    You DO know that it wasn’t a program or a robot, right?
    It was just a sales rep with her speil in Notepad ready to cut and paste into the text box. Then she tries to do what she is paid for. True, we may not want what she is offering, but at least she is with the company you were doing business with AT THAT VERY MOMENT. This isn’t like a telemarketer, this is like the cashier at your tech store trying to sell you an extended warrenty. You may not want it, but there is no need to be rude to them.

  16. The Bigger Unit says:

    I’d prefer if she didn’t have a job, so she can live off the government and my tax money instead. Much preferable.

    Give me a damn break. Decline the service, and get on with it. At least they brought it to your attention, unlike other website sites which hide their (already-checked for agreement to terms) “promos” at the bottom of the checkout screen.

  17. aestheticity says:

    this is really weird.

    why on earth do they have a goblin chatting to you, trying to sell a service extension, on an INTERNET FORM where they could just have a tickbox and ‘do you want to subscribe to travelers advantage for discounts on regular reservations’ by it.

    its like they WANT to waste profits on wages for utterly unnecessary employees that also slows down and annoys customers AND furnishes schmucks with terrible jobs they hate.

  18. aestheticity says:

    i love this ‘its her job, at least shes got one’ bullshat. these are the same people who complain about telemarketers, retail staff, security checks, csr’s, installation engineers, and so fucking on, for doing their jobs.

  19. Mr. Gunn says:
  20. Why do you insist on harassing customers?

    Um, didn’t you give her permission to tell you the deal when you typed in Hi? Is it really harassment after you’ve told the person to keep talking?

    If Samuel had tried to close the window or typed “No thanks” and still had to wait for the woman to go through the upsell, then he’d have a legitimate complaint.

  21. a says:

    It’s a shame that consumerist breeds some whiny complainers. Next time I go to McDonald’s and I only get a few pickles instead of the “extra pickles” I asked for, I will snarkily inform the cashier that she will be reprimanded on a consumer website.
    That’ll show her!

  22. snowferret says:

    How is this a bot? Its just a person probably cutting and pasting from a script. Shes right, she did nothing wrong, shes justt doing her job and following a script thats what customer service agents do. I’ve tinkered with bots and this is not a bot, anyone who’s used a bot would know that.

  23. snowferret says:

    P.S.
    Samuel is a dick for stirring up shit with a polite rep just because he didn’t like the length of the script. Why is the consumerist posting this?

  24. tourpro says:

    More on point, the Travelers Advantage program is slightly scammy. Typically this involves being able to get “50%” off discounts. Subject to availability.

    I’ve commented on hotel rates before. Rates are typically subject to supply/demand. If a hotelier has excess supply, then “distressed inventory” action is required, ie deep discounts. Always call the property directly for best rates. Always try to negotiate. If the agent does not offer anything other than “Rack Rate”, then likely it will be a seller’s market. Back in the day, I’d give a 50% discount for having a nice tie if the situation warranted. This tactic doesn’t work for regulars because they expect consistent deals. Never “deep discount” a regular or you’ll never get the rate back up.

  25. Morton Fox says:

    This is one reason why I use a web browser that suppresses popups.

  26. pestie says:

    Oh, good – telemarketing has come to the web! Since it’s illegal to drag the people who do these jobs into the street and shoot them, I say having a little fun at their expense is the next best thing. Come on, folks – don’t buy into this “they’re just doing their job!” bullshit. You know what? If you take a job that you know is going to involve pissing people off, you’d better have thick enough skin to deal with it when people get pissy. If you don’t like it, go find some other minimum-wage, any-trained-monkey-could-do-it job that doesn’t involve pissing people off.

  27. humphrmi says:

    @Mogbert:

    but at least she is with the company you were doing business with AT THAT VERY MOMENT

    Ummm, no she isn’t. Oh, you thought just because they call it “Days Inn Traveler’s Advantage” that they were somehow associated with Days Inn?

    WONK. Sorry. No dice. “Days Inn” Travelers Advantage is the same scheme as “Traveler’s Advantage” (https://www.travelersadvantage.com/secure/Promo.aspx?SID=020663403F9C41B7879826cf0456dec6), which is just one of those “pay us X dollars per month and you’ll save 20% on all your travel reservations” schemes. It’s just co-branded with Days Inn’s permission. And why does Days Inn give them permission? Because they get a percentage of your membership dues, of course.

    Don’t think that this was all just an innocent “we want to upsell you” bit. It was Days Inn allowing a third party to become privy to your presence on the Days Inn website, and further giving them permission to beg for your spare change for a useless “travel club” membership scam.

    Feh. Defend the scam whore all you want. Scams is scams as far as I reckon.

  28. Buran says:

    I block the server that this crap usually comes from so I never even see them. Don’t try to “upsell” me anything. I came to buy something, and I’m leaving now.

    When I say hello to someone I expect a “hello” or a “how do you do” in response, not a pathetic “BUY STUFF GIVE ME MONEY!!!” response. That’s not within the list of acceptable polite responses to “hello”. And yes, it’s harassment.

  29. loreshdw says:

    I got this same bot last week when I reserved a room at a Super 8. I just closed the popup once I realized they were selling somthing instead of offering a real discount.

  30. zilladung says:

    Days Inn Sells your number to telemarketers!

    I stayed in a total dump – Days Inn San Angelo TX for 1 night. A month later some Windham Resorts telemarketer calls me offer discounted hotel blah blah. What a load of crap. I payed to stay in that S***hole and I get telemarketing for my trouble! Dont give them your number!