Sunday, July 02, 2006

Power to the People: Fighting AOL

Ever tried to cancel your AOL service? Remember waiting on hold, only to run the gauntlet as the customer service rep tried to convince you to stay? It feels like a relationship gone awry, as the New York Times notes in today's article AOL Said, "If You Leave Me I'll Do Something Crazy."

Vincent Ferrari of the Bronx found a way to strike back. He recorded his interaction from the customer service rep from hell and then posted it on his blog. It hit the internet big time, he ended up on the Today show, and he got a personal apology from an AOL VP. Needless to say, after all that, they let him cancel his account.

So, next time you find yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to cancel some service, follow this script:
Customer Service: Thank you for calling [company]. My name is ____. How can I help you today?

Customer: Hi, I'm calling to cancel my account. Before we start talking, you should know that this call is being recorded to ensure customer satisfaction. I am not interested in doing anything other than canceling my account. If you tell me about "special features" or try in any way to convince me to keep my account, I will post our phone call on my website.

Customer Service: Have you heard about our new features? I'm sure you'll love...

Customer: Maybe you didn't hear me the first time, so let me repeat myself. As your company is no doubt aware, when other dissatisfied customers have posted their phone calls with customer service reps who insist on following their scripts and trying to convince callers to keep their service, the company has gotten lots of negative publicity and the customer service reps have even gotten fired. I'm sure you don't want that to happen. I need you to cancel my account immediately, without any further questions.

Customer Service: [strangled cough] Yes, right away.

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