Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Customer Retention Line - Where you Cancel Your Services

     Give me some help here. So last week, I changed my phone, cable television and internet to a single provider. In the process of canceling services with Qwest and DirecTV, the crafty phone menus we are forced to navigate, connected me with someone in customer retention when I made the selection, "to disconnect some or all of your services." In each case, I was asked, "why I wanted to change providers," and, "is there anything we can offer you to stay with us?"

     I had discovered a few weeks ago that when you get to the point of dissatisfaction with one of these services and make the call to cancel your service, the customer retention folks take over and have the ability to offer all kinds of package plans, additional features and account credits in an effort to save the business. At that time, I reflected on how many hours I had spent with the wrong person trying to get something fixed when I all really needed to do was to threaten to cancel and not only would the fix take place quickly but I'd most likely receive some form of compensation. A strange way of doing business, I thought, but, if that is the way the game is played....

     And so I ask you, would it not be wiser to be proactive about customers that have been loyal for years by offering these perks before you call to cancel?  It aggravated me to know that I have been overpaying for my phone and television services for the past seven years when all it would have taken is a call to change providers? Why tell me now when I have already decided to leave ... and what makes them think an offer like this is going to make me want to stay? Let me see if I understand you, What you are saying is that you have overcharged me since I started doing business with you and now you want to make things better?

     The bottom line ... if you are in the same cost cutting mood as I, take a look at your service providers and anywhere there is competition, give them a call and make the menu selection that connects you with the cancellation people, (sorry, I meant customer retention...just don't let on like you know). I am now paying one third of what I had been spending with the price guaranteed for two years at one level and at a slightly higher price for as long as I stay with the company ... no contracts ... no installation fees and a myriad of free services for the first six months.  And, sure to take copious notes about all the savings and get the name and identification numbers from the sales agent cause once you make the switch ... all the nice guy stuff tends to disappear quickly.

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