Friday, July 27, 2012

Getting Around Customer Service

In preparation for our upcoming move, I had a whole list of places I had to call to arrange for services, stop existing services or change billing addresses. It was a daunting list and since I only had about a half hour every evening after work before the end of normal business hours, I really had to work hard to get them all in. So when I got home a couple weeks ago and decided I would cancel the newspapers because they would be easy to do and then move on to something else, I was in for a surprise.

The first newspaper I called is our state newspaper The Des Moines Register and they have a complicated phone menu where you have to speak your responses and go through three or four sub menus to get to the place where they put you on hold for the next available representative. In my case, the correct representative worked in the Subscription Cancellation department and was evidently a very busy person.

I was put on hold and remained there for 20 minutes listening to the same upbeat and nauseating message over and over. There were now only ten minutes left in regular business hours and I suspected what has happened to me in the past with the same place was going to happen again. Whomever is supposed to answer the phone wouldn't and right at five, it would click over to the message informing me that the office was now closed and I needed to call the following day between their regular business hours. I mean, how many people can be cancelling their subscription at that very moment?

Well I suddenly thought I needed to change tactics so I hung up and dialed again. This time I went to the Accounts Questions representative. Back on hold. I was now down to five minutes before closing. Now wanting blood, I hung up and dialed a third time, this time to the New Subscription representative. My call was answered immediately. I'm guessing this is by design and a shameful business practice.

I half suspected that the lady who answered would say that she couldn't cancel my subscription and would need to transfer me to hold until someone who did those was available but she graciously and quickly cancelled it with no questions asked. It took all of a minute to do so. After the move I had been thinking of renewing my subscription to the Sunday only paper that I had just cancelled once things settled down but after this experience, I think they lost my business for good.


geri said...

Anything to do with phones and customer service I dread. That's great you were able to go around it. Still, moving time is exciting. Wish you lots of better weather days to make it easier for you.

warren said...

The only really hard time I had cancelling a subscription is when I tried to cancel our paper in TN...I guess papers are dying anyhow...

Bone said...

I always thought they should play some 24-hour news audio when they put you on hold. Or better, give you trivia questions. Or maybe just play continuous audio from episodes of Seinfeld :)