Consumerist’s CSR Stress Test: AOL Dial-Up Service

AOL’s dial-up customer service department has a reputation for being slow to answer and quick to anger. The Consumerist put one AOL customer service rep, selected at random, to the Stress Test. His name was Aaron.

How well does an AOL phone jockey handle an irregular customer calling to cancel his account? Listen here to find out. [2MB MP3]

Hard numbers and final score after the jump.

The Verdict

Aaron had a capable, if slightly tardy response to our complaint, going so far as to question if we had contacted parties outside of Time Warner. We applaud his willingness to delicately respond with a suitable amount of bewildered empathy. He did seem eager to rush us from the phone, however, for which we must deduct a point from his final score.

The Stats

Total call time: 11 minutes
Hold time: 3 minutes
Call placed: Sunday evening
Phone Number: 800-4ON-LINE

AOL’s Consumerist Stress Test Score: Four diddled bulldogs out of five.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Brian Drew says:

    The recording could have used a little bit more work, but its forgiven since the call itself was hilarious if not nearly impossible to hear/understand.

  2. Nick Denton says:

    One of the MeFites thinks you were rather cruel to take it out on a poor minimum-wage customer service agent. And that you should direct your bile at the brass.

  3. Joel Johnson says:

    Just because this site looks like the Devil’s Advocate doesn’t mean you have to play one.

    I used to be a CSR (for a phone company, no less), so I can speak with some confidence that the worse thing that happened to Aaron that day was that he actually remembered a call he took.

    It’s not about cruelty (well, not entirely); It’s about seeing how well trained the CSRs when thrown a curve ball. If they can’t handle the farce, how well do you expect them to handle your real emergency?

    Plus, I thought Aaron did very well, as I noted.

    Besides, if someone posted to Metafilter that I had put butter on my toast, fifty of the hundred comments would be deriding my choice to empower the baking hegemony, forty-nine would detail the history of dairy products as a tool to enforce Christian morality in the face of encroaching Manichean gnosticism, and one would say the poster liked butter, too, but he wouldn’t mean it.

  4. non-meat-stick says:

    If you don’t take it upon yourself to put these people to the test, it may never happen. I too work in a call center, but I mostly take escallated calls from lower employees, not so much customers. Some CSR’s take their jobs seriously and some are just buying time. Who knows who’ll you’ll get.

    worst CS I’ve ever delt with is by far Motorola, with Qwest coming in at a close second.

  5. YMMV RADIO says:

    LOL – at least you got AMERICAN tech support – you people never heard all the calls that people recorded 2 years ago on the AOL / Amazon deal where the Indian CSRs were trained to tell people that any reason they gave for wanting to cancel service was “Not a valid reason”. That went on for weeks..