UPDATE: Comcast has issued a statement regarding the demanding customer service rep and Block’s phone call, saying it’s “very embarrassed” by the employee’s behavior.
Reader Tim is canceling TiVO and going with the Comcast DVR and was presented with a retention deal that he was able to resist. Why? Because $299.99 – $100 doesn’t equal $249.99.
“Above and Beyond” service often comes down to the management of a particular location, rather than an individual employee, no matter how big or otherwise problematic a company may be. Fred had such an experience with Venkatesh, the overseas customer service rep he reached when he called to cancel his ancient Citibank account. Venkatesh not only talked him out of canceling the account, but was so competent and nice in the process that Fred felt compelled to speak to his supervisor and write to Consumerist.
A DirecTV CSR claimed that reader Mark changed his installation by following troubleshooting instructions to unplug and reconnect his box, and now owed $79.95. Mark, who paid $6 per month for DirecTV’s protection plan, refused to pay the fee and asked to cancel to his service.
Did you know that if you keep 5% more of your customers, you will make 35-95% more profit? Those were the findings of a Harvard researcher* when he investigated the financial impact of keeping customers around. The chart above demonstrates how a 5% increase in retention rates increased profit across a variety of industries. The equation is simple: make us stick around (usually by making us happier) and we’ll make you more money. Cut out support, services, make it difficult to talk to you, etc, and while you might save in the short, you’ll lose in the long-term.
It’s easy to forget that despite infuriating scripts and adherence to dogmatic corporate policies, CSRs are real people. A former call center worker wrote in to describe the extraordinary pressure CSRs feel from management to keep customers from canceling their accounts.
You’d think it was so easy: call to cancel service, and it’s cancelled. And yet, it never is. Here’s why.
Vonage offers a $3.99 per month retention plan to customers who might jump ship to providers with more certain futures. The plan is meant to shore-up Vonage’s customer churn rate, especially as the internet telephony company struggles to stay alive amidst a patent dispute with Verizon. Vonage’s churn rate last quarter was 2.4%, high enough to spook investors or anyone considering a potential acquisition. A comment left by a self-avowed Vonage flack tries to put a positive spin on the offering:
Vonage: I’m sorry sir I can’t do that, you have to call back during regular business hours.
Watch out, Vonage. We thought Verizon held the patent for the cancelation gauntlet of doom. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
I’ve tried twice before, and I know the general idea is to keep calling/chatting back and get a new person. This time, however, it seems as if they are all sticking to their reading points.
AOL Made Reps Give Out One Piece Of Tech Support At A Time, Making Customers Call Back Again And Again, And Get Upsold Every Time
A former AOL tech support rep confesses one of the worst parts about his job. AOL had a policy called “One Call/One Resolution” which basically meant that they were only supposed to dole out ONE troubleshooting step when you called. Then they were supposed to pass you off to someone who tried to upsell you to DSL or some video computer courses. The result was that customers had to call in call in call in, just to get the most basic problem solved.
Tivo is now offering a trade-up program for older Series 1 Tivos. If you tell them your Series 1 machine is acting up, they will offer a highly discounted model (I got a series 2 Dual Tuner for $35 shipped) with your original service agreement.
Taking a break from our whirl of ex-cellphone reps revenging themselves on their former employers, here’s a current T-mobile retention rep telling you how to handle the cancellation call, as well as a perspective on their thought processes.
Sprint changed Carolyn’s plan and renewed her contract without her consent. A nine-year customer with four lines, Carolyn’s problems began when her December invoice showed roaming charges on a plan that allowed for free roaming. She soon discovered that in November, Sprint had moved her to a newer, more expensive plan, without her consent.
Acambras got her Citibank APR dropped from 13.99% to 2.99% just by asking.
Sprint’s retention process has gotten almost as bad as AOL’s.
Today it’s Verizon, not T-mobile, that draws the ire of the Consumerist readers. Doesn’t anyone have some shit to talk about U.S. Cellular? We seems to be missing them this week. Anyway, John lives in different time zone than his girlfriend. He uses T-mobile. She uses Verizon. They wanted to use in-network calling, so John, being the chivalrous guy that he is, trucked on over to a Verizon store, ported his number, bought a phone, and thought that was that.