I called my cable company twice this morning to cancel my cable (but not my internet or phone, thank you very much). The first time I spoke to a cranky woman who made me so mad I wanted to cut all ties with the offending cable company. But the second time I spoke to a lovely man who didn’t make me feel like some kind of scumbag just because I could no longer afford my cable bill.
I hate calling my cable company. I really do. I try so hard to avoid it. And on those occasions when I am forced to call, I start getting irritated the moment I hear the “soothing” voice of the talk-to-me-like-I’m-a-person-even-though-we-both-know-I’m-a-machine automated menu.
So I admit, I didn’t go into the first call in the best of moods. And man, it went downhill fast. I don’t want to enumerate my grievances here because I’ll probably just sound petty. But maybe, if you know the economy sucks, you can try to be a little less condescending when a paying customer tells you that they can’t afford their cable. It’s not like I was ranting to her about the myriad ways in which television is ruining this country. No, I’m unemployed, I can’t spend $95 a month on a luxury (especially considering that basic cable from said cable provider is included in my HOA fees). Oh, and don’t tell me that the mysteriously rising bundle price is a “great deal.” And, of course, the best part was when she told me that if I switched to just phone and internet, it would cost more. But she couldn’t give me a good answer as to why. She just fed me some company line bull like it was an actual answer to my question. Please.
By the time I ended the call I was so mad I was shaking. My hands were literally shaking. It took everything in my power to not succumb to either of my impulses at that moment. And I am proud to say that I neither told her to just cancel my account nor did I hang up on her. (There are few things in life more satisfying than hanging up on someone. Especially when they really deserve it. And I get so few opportunities to do it.)
At that point I walked upstairs. Took a few calming breaths. Thought about putting it off. But no, I really wanted to drop my cable (even more at that point). Took some more calming breaths. Dialed the customer support line again. Was clearly not calm because the “soothing” voice kept saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that.” Finally got out of automated menu hell.
But then, a human answered my call and I instantly felt better. He had a smile in his voice and asked if he could call me Kristin. When I told him why I was calling he said he’d be happy to help me. He kissed my ass for being a good customer (this happened once when I called AT&T support and it should happen to me more often) and told me he’d look to see what kind of special deal he could offer me because I was such a good customer. By the time we ended the call I was smiling. And I hadn’t completely gotten rid of my cable. Sure, I got rid of my HD DVR, but I replaced it with an HD receiver. This wasn’t really my plan, but the “special deal” he got me did save me more money than just ditching the DVR would have. Plus, by keeping digital cable I don’t lose BBC America, Palladia, or Music Choice. All in all, I am a very happy customer today.
Moral of the story: attitude matters. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m even running an experiment; telling myself how awesome it is to get out of bed and start my day at 7 AM. And I think having these two very clear examples in my head will really help. It really couldn’t be simpler: the surly customer service worker nearly lost the company a customer while the cheerful customer service worker left the customer with a rosy feeling toward the company.