When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

27 November 2008

For my next trick, I'll attempt to cancel a cell phone account in under thirty minutes

The next time I had to cancel a wireless account, and was asked my reason, I informed the rep that I was headed to prison. The unstoppable rep actually asked me what I was going in for. "Arson" I shot back, matter-of-factly. In the ensuing silence, I began to gleefully suspect I'd nailed it and found a shortcut through the torture. I fully expected to hear the magic words "Sir, I've cancelled your account; if you ever desire to reestablish service with our company, please don't hesitate to contact us". But I was wrong. After the awkward silence, the rep cleared his throat and offered me one thousand free minutes if I'd obligate myself for another year. And so on.
Hell Circle Du Jour: Cancelling Wireless Accounts (Jim Leff's Slog)

Today, among the many things I am thankful for: Having attained middle age and a 20+ year career in the IT industry, I now have the wherewithal and insider knowledge necessary to arrange my affairs so that, for the most part, I am dealing with the reasonably clueful and competent when I have to call for technical support or customer service.

This is how: previously-experienced or anticipated quality of support/service is a primary criterion for me when making purchase decisions. If I am making a technology or service purchase where I've got meaningful, acceptable alternatives, "who will suck and who won't when something breaks" is the hurdle most companies will never get over.

With some providers, though - power utilities, landline phone companies, cell phone companies - your choices are either nonexistent or so few and consistently poor as to be essentially no choice at all.

And customer service experiences with these organizations are usually awful.

Like when you try to cancel a cell phone account.

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