Last week, we cancelled our cable. This was not an easy choice to make, but once the Texans were out of the Super Bowl, we didn’t have a reason to put it off any longer. So we bit the bullet and decided to start saving that $40/month and pay it towards our debt.
Yesterday, we noticed an unusual charge on our bill. It was labelled “On Site Visit” and was $39.99. When we inquired about the charge, we were told that the technician had to come to our home to install a filter on the line (since we still receive our internet service through them) that would prevent the cable signal from coming through. I was stunned. They were charging us to turn off our cable? We finally had to call customer service to deal with the problem, and were able to get the charge reversed. Here’s a few things I learned from that phone call:
Be polite – or at least start off there.
It’s a good idea to build some rapport with the customer service rep if at all possible when you initiate the phone call. This part I do well. (I’m generally a pretty pleasant person…)
State your problem and your desired solution. Make it very clear what you want them to do to fix the problem.
Silence is okay.
The CSR I spoke with originally said they charged this fee for every on-site visit a tech had to make. I simply said, “I don’t think we should have to pay for you to turn off our service.” and then I waited. She didn’t say anything, and neither did I. There was a few seconds of awkward silence, and then she said, “Let me look at your account and see if there’s anything I can do.” This part I do not do well. Silence feels weird to me, especially on the phone.
Ultimately (according to her) she did not have the authority to waive the charge. So we went to the next step.
Always ask to talk to a supervisor.
I asked for “someone with authority to waive the charge.” After being put on hold several times, I was finally connected to the “supervisor on the floor.” Following rule number 2, when he said, “What can I help you with?” I said, “You can help me by waiving the charge on my account.” After reminding him that we had been loyal customers for several years, and are still giving them a substantial amount of money for our internet service, he simply said, “Okay, I will waive that charge.”
Seriously? If it was that easy, why couldn’t they have done that to begin with? Why put the first girl through the awkwardness of telling the customer the charge couldn’t be waived if you were eventually going to waive it after all? Though I am satisfied with the result over all, it still aggravates me that major companies like this will do their best to take every penny from you they can possibly get – and then tell you that’s their company’s “policy.”
One final note – it doesn’t hurt to sound a little heated when you talk to the CSR. Stay in control – don’t lose your temper or you won’t be gaining any ground – but allowing the representative to hear your frustration may make them want to get the problem taken care of more quickly.
What do you do when you have a bad customer service experience?