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04 June 2008 @ 12:17 pm
Damn nose, I'll show you!  

This is a household of XM subscribers. Last night, XM did their level best to end that.

A couple of years back, Ali bought an XM radio receiver, got a good deal, yadda yadda. After I started working at home and having heard some of the channels available, we decided to purchase another receiver for me, so I could listen to XM during the day while Ali listened to her receiver at work. There's a discounted rate for multiple receivers in the same account, so that worked out nicely.

About a year ago, Ali's job situation changed, and she ended up working in an office where she had no ability to run the antenna to a window so she could receive the signal. Her new position also won't come with a window office, and while she could have a mount for the receiver put into her car, Ali decided she'd rather have something that fits into the dash rather than the older model she has. It was decided to cancel the older of the two receivers and keep my receiver as the only subscribed XM box on our account.

Isn't that simple? Now shouldn't that be just the easiest thing in the world to do? It would have been... except the Customer Service Rep at XM said those annoying, obnoxious, here comes 40 more minutes on the phone words: "I will need to transfer you to Customer Retention."

Perhaps you're unaware of what Customer Retention is for in American businesses. Allow me to summarize their duties thusly: do anything, promise anything, to keep a customer paying as much as you can squeeze out of them. A customer is unhappy, or has received poor service? Customer Retention gives them things to make them happy so they won't take their business elsewhere. Reasonable thing for a business to do, sure. Oh, but you want to pay us just a little less money every month? What can we do to keep you paying us? Are you sure you don't need that receiver? Are you certain you don't want it? Do you use it in the car, you could use it in your car! Well, you could give XM as a gift to someone. I know, I could charge you a couple dollars less each month for it, let's do that! Seriously, about 40 minutes of that noise, and Ali, being a reasonable person, thinks that being reasonable to someone in this position will convince them to be reasonable with you.

I despise this business practice. I went through the same thing with Vonage when I cancelled service with them, and I'll tell you now, it doesn't matter whether you're nice or reasonable or polite or pissy with them. They're going to, HAVE to as a condition of employment, walk you through every possible trick or method of which they can conceive to keep as much of your money for themselves as they can. They will not, cannot (again as a condition of their job) let this or you go easily. Ali told me after she finally got the Anal Retention rep to just do what she had wanted in the first place that she was on the verge of threatening to cancel the entire account, but she'd thought that I would have been upset to lose XM as a part of my day. I think I surprised her by letting her know just how close I was to asking for the phone and demanding to cancel the whole thing, myself, just because I was sick of hearing some corporate drone argue with her and flatly refuse to make the account change without going through her annoying script. I'm still considering cancelling it, just because I remain that irritated about this treatment.

Current Mood: still annoyed
Current Music: almost not XM
(Deleted comment)
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on June 4th, 2008 06:58 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, the Customer Service reps at a lot of companies that have gone to Retention departments simply do not have the program access to do things like cancel accounts or remove items. They've had that capability either taken out of their access level to the billing systems, or they've been told that if they don't transfer you when the book says to transfer to Retention, they'll be disciplined.

Don't get me wrong, I know the Retention people don't have a choice, nor do the CSRs. It's not their fault that their management is making them do this shit. Getting mad at them is counter-productive, which I know. I just can't help but feel that eventually, if enough people just refuse to do business like this, the trend will end and we might go back to customer service. Then again, I despise the replacement of Personnel with "Human Resources" for a similar reason, and that isn't going away.
Kat: catdeadshockkatmoonshaker on June 4th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
I'm with you here. There have been times that I've gotten to the point where I've said things like, "Look. Either you do 'x' or you can just cancel this service completely. Can you do 'x'?" I have actually canceled stuff when they pissed me off too much. heh Don't mess with da cat.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on June 5th, 2008 01:32 am (UTC)
A full day and night later and I'm still wondering if I ought not just cancel the whole thing, specifically in protest of their Retention nonsense, giving that as my stated reason for wanting to cancel. "Well, last night, we called to make one change to the account, but you folks argued with us for a half hour, so I don't want to support your business model."
Katkatmoonshaker on June 5th, 2008 02:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I would be as well. That's a tough one. Half an hour is nothing to sneeze at by anyone's standards.
nata5 on June 4th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC)
God Vonage was the worst I've come across to date. I'm looking at getting an iPhone when my contact with Sprint is up, I bet Sprint is worse since people are probably jumping ship for the iPhone.

I've also found that I won't return to companies that won't take no for an answer once I've said it 3 times. Vonage will never get anymore of my or our employers business.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on June 5th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
Glad to hear it. I wasn't about to tell Vonage why I was choosing to end the service, and the Retention ass I was talking to was trying to be at first insistent on hearing a reason and then worked his ass off to find some way I could retask the service in order to go on paying.

If you have the option, wait for the 3G iPhone. The EDGE network is really very slow for browsing, but that's not my only concern. I'm worried that AT&T isn't going to go out of their way to keep it up and running once their fully-broadband network is available, so pre-3G iPhones may find themselves of use only when wifi is available.
Sorciasorcia on June 5th, 2008 12:29 am (UTC)
Actually I have to give Verizon credit. They have on not one, but two occasions told me how they could reduce my bill by removing services that I was no longer using.
Traveler Farlandertwfarlan on June 5th, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
If you go to them asking how you could pay less but keep the service, then that's entirely warranted. If, however, I call your service and know exactly what details I want to cut and WHY, arguing with me is going to convince me I don't need ANY part of the service.
Merlinmerlin_t_wizard on June 5th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, with Sprint, Retention is the only department that has ANY flexibility, and in my experience, the only department that seems to be able to actually get anything done.