Our anonymous AOL call center insider mailed us again, this time with a scan of the Rosetta Stone that AOL’s CSRs use to translate your strange gibberish asking for account cancellation into a language that they can understand: “Keep me signed up!”
Click on it to enlarge. The most important thing to notice here when trying to cancel your AOL account is the “Cancel Billing Close”, located at the bottom of the scan. It reads:
Okay, I’m canceling billing on your account as of today. Keep in mind you can continue to use your AOL Mail and Software for free as long as you’d like to use them. Since we are no longer providing your Internet connection, we still want you to be able to enjoy AOL. You’ll no longer be charged a monthly membership fee! for AOL. Does that take care of everything?
Most people at this point say “Yes!” but our correspondent warns us that, really, what you want to do is emphatically say “No. I want to be completely cancelled, not migrated to the free service.” AOL’s free service, after all, is a slippery slope. Our correspondent says: “If you say NO to the Cancellation Close – only then can we cancel and give a cancellation number.”
Why you don’t want AOL Free: “Even if the member completely cancels their account, they can go online to AOL.com and log in with their old/existing user name and password and their account will work just as the free account does, except they don’t have an active billing account just a free unattached email service.”
Of course, this AOL CSR “Guide to a World-Class MRM Call” script flow should only really have two branches. “If member says he wants to cancel, CANCEL immediately. Otherwise, try to retain.”
There’s just way too much observation in our correspondent’s email to summarize. Specifically, there’s a fascinating look at how AOL internally reacted to Vincent Ferrari, how the service got better for a time, but the introduction of AOL Free led to 7 out of 10 calls being cancellations, which just sent the customer service spiraling again into frustrating obfuscation.
The full email of our AOL insider, after the jump.
I have enclosed AOL’s cancel script/flow. It’s a 16×12 paper that is placed on our pods. I had to scan it in 3 sections and then use photoshop to stitch it. The original scan in photoshop (psd) extension is 63MB so I had to image size it several times to bring it down to 2 MB.
The script you are looking for is towards the bottom of the scan. It’s called the “Cancel billing close”
Cancel billing close
Okay, I’m canceling billing on your account as of today. Keep in mind you can continue to use your AOL Mail and Software for free as long as you’d like to use them. Since we are no longer providing your Internet connection, we still want
you to be able to enjoy AOL. You’ll no longer be charged a monthly membership fee! for AOL. Does that take care of everything?
After reading this script, almost all members say “YES”. In their mind they think AOL is now closed and AOL is just being nice by offering courtesy services.
When they say YES, we have to read a second legal disclosure that makes the free service legal.
Free services disclosure.
“First, your free service is active. This new service, which takes effect immediately, includes unlimited access to AOL via a high-speed Internet connection or a different dial-up ISP purchased separately from your local cable or telephone
This service plan does not include dial-up Internet access and does not include live customer support. Due to the immediate update in your account status you are agreeing to waive any prepaid dial-up time remaining in your current bill cycle.
Although you will no long! er be charged any monthly membership fee, you will be responsible f or any other charges you might have incurred since your last billing date as well as any outstanding balance on your account and any premium services to which you have separately subscribed. An additional $5 monthly
charge will still apply if premium services or additional fees are paid through your checking account or telephone bill.
If you need further assistance or have any questions about your current services, please visit KW: My Account.
Thank you for calling today. “
Also take note of the highlighted part at the bottom. This is what gets me. If the member is irate or frustrated with AOL service and they want their service canceled, we are to read the cancel billing close. If they say NO – only then can we cancel
and give a cancellation number.
If they say YES, then when we read the “free services disclosure”, when we say ” your free service is active” then th! ey start yelling again at which point we will read
the cancellation disclosure. It is honestly the most ridiculous script I have had to read in all my years here. We are making an already frustrated member even more frustrated.
Anyhow you can draw your own conclusions from the member connect call flow.
I was also reading some of the post-replys of your readers. One of them mentioned “It is illegal, he didn’t think AOL can do that – he is right. The FTC regulates this however when we read the second disclosure, where we say “your free services is now active” the member has now given permission to AOL to keep his account open and active.
The next one showed her account being debited a penny. This is proof positive that AOL has kept her account open and never closed it. Closed accounts show “Account closed” or “Account terminated”
The only way ! to show “account closed” is to close down the account. Tell you r readers to get a cancellation number.
Here is a secret:
Even if the member completely cancels their account, they can go online to AOL.com and log in with their old/existing user name and password and their account will work just as the free account does, except they don’t have an active billing account just a free unattached email service.
The only way to make sure an AOL account has been canceled is to have the consultant give you a cancellation number. Canceled accounts don’t originate billing or marketing and their emails and other services can still be used. If I
didn’t get AOL for free and I had to use it, this is exactly what I
Believe me when I tell you, my piers are not too thrilled about what we have to read. Many consultants including myself have appealed to our supervisors and their managers but AOL corporate truly believes this action can turn t! he tide of
cancels. After the Vincent Ferrari scandal, AOL took a huge PR hit and told all consultants to be nice and cancel accounts on demand. They even changed our pay, we no longer get paid by saving accounts. It was all about helping the member whether canceling or otherwise. Then the free service was announced and 7 of 10 calls were cancels. After a couple of weeks of this, AOL corp introduced the new script which basically turns 90% of those canceling into free services.
Sorry about the long email. There is so much I can tell you about AOL but my goal here is simply to raise eyebrows at AOL corp, enough to change the script flow to a script that is not duplicitous.
What they are having consultants do is shady at best, illegal at worst. Either way – wrong.
It sure the hell is.