Brian Krausz

I build internet things

How Not to Satisfy Your Customers

August 8, 2008

So seeing as how my summer is just about over, I had a bunch of things to wrap up. One of them was canceling my Comcast subscription. I called them and setup the cancellation. A few days later I got a call from a representative “confirming” that I really wanted to cancel. I said yes, I was moving out of their service area, and they told me that they would note that on the account.

Then I flew to Whistler, Canada for Firefox+ Summit 2008, where the calls are outrageous, so I didn’t answer my phone. Here’s my call log from that trip (note that Whistler is the same timezone as Mountain View):

  • Jul 31, 6:08 am — Comcast
  • Jul 31, 1:23 pm — Comcast
  • Aug 1, 10:45 am — Comcast
  • Aug 1, 1:53 pm — Comcast
  • Aug 2, 7:30 am — Comcast

Aug 4 I was back stateside so I could answer my phone. Just like clockwork, at 7:21 am I got another call from Comcast. This time I was a little more stern in my request to not be called again (though still polite, I can’t blame that particular phone rep for anything), and lo and behold, they actually stopped calling.

I’m going to assume the first rep forgot to mark my cancellation confirmed and ignore that, but what the hell is with this policy? Not only do they call at ungodly hours (can’t they do timezone conversions there?), but they kept calling back every single day. I told them I wanted to cancel, were they really that desperate to make sure I wanted to?

It’s been a pretty bad week for me and customer service…before I cancelled Comcast, I called XBox Live to cancel that. I got a notice via email that my subscription (which I only took our for Eric to use this summer) was going to be automatically renewed, and to make sure that my payment info was up to date. I searched through that site for a good 15 minutes…there is no mechanism or instruction on how to cancel your subscription. I’m sure this was done for retention purposes, since a cancel option is usually pretty standard for a web interface, but I suppose it’s way too easy to allow people to cancel in less than 20 minutes.

So I hunted down a phone number and called them, got transfered around, and finally found someone who could cancel my account. I had to guide the rep through the “customer retention” script, where he kept asking me if there was anybody I could transfer the account to or another XBox I could recover the account on, and I kept having to remind him that all of my friends had Live accounts, and I still owned an XBox. They may as well have a machine play the script, they read each line regardless of context. In fact. most big companies do that.

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