As I was wrapping up my workday on Friday afternoon, I got a call from my cable company which also provides my internet service.
“Mr. Selinger, we’re calling all of our customers with 50 megabyte internet speed and offering our 100 megabyte package.”
Me, skeptically: “Are you saying it’s a free upgrade, or would there be a charge?”
Rep: “Well, there is a $10 per month charge.”
Me: “Well, then I’m not interested because I actually downgraded the speed about a year ago to save the $10.”
At this point I figured the call was over, but the agent did her job and quickly switched to her “bundle” offer and quoted a phone-internet-cable price far cheaper than I was currently paying for just the internet and cable, as I had dumped the phone line two years ago. I was intrigued and buckled in for the rollercoaster ride.
The Ride Begins
Click…clack…click… clack…we began the climb up the tracks on that first big hill as I asked her some basic questions and she verified some account information.
She talked me through a few particulars, made sure my TV package was the same as I have now, and said she’d be transferring me over to her supervisor to verify the deal.
Click… clack… click… clack. We were nearing the peak.
“Mr. Selinger, this is Louis. I’m just going to verify a few things. This call may be monitored and will be recorded for quality control purposes.” (Spoiler alert: I think they’ll be playing this one back in training for years.)
I was careful not to commit to anything as I still had some key questions I needed answered, primarily, would my bill, in the end, be cheaper than it is now? Because, as I explained to Louis, I was fine with the slower internet speed, and had no use for the phone line. But if they were going to give me more for less, then sure, sign me up.
And this is where the CX rollercoaster car reached the top and paused for that split second of weightlessness…
The Rollercoaster Dives Down
Louis: “I understand how you think, Mr. Selinger, I think the same way about the price. Let me ask you, who’s your cable provider right now?” My eyes and jaw open in horror. We plunge downhill, picking up speed…
Me: “Seriously? We’re 15 minutes into this call and you’re my cable company, calling me about my service, and you don’t know that you’re my cable provider?!?”
Louis, scrambling for an answer: “Well, uhhh, I’m in the promotions department and, uhhh, I don’t have access to your information like the agent did. So let me transfer you back to her and we can answer that question about the price for you.”
Our car banks hard to the left, and I hang on tight, not knowing what other turns await.
The agent comes back on the line and assures me all too quickly about the low price and transfers me back to Louis. A quick twist of the track and we bank hard to the right.
During the slow transfer before Louis comes on the line, I log into my account and pull up my latest statement. Normally I would have hung up by this point of a sales call, but there’s still a chance to lower my bill and, at the very least, I sense a blog entry about an unreal customer experience. (I’m certainly not in it for the ride as rollercoasters make me nauseous. Probably less nauseous, though, than Louis’ supervisor will be when reviewing our call.)
Louis again assures me of the great price and I decide to have some fun while clarifying the price one last time. I read off the itemized bill … “So, your low price, is that before the charge for the cable boxes, and the DVR upgrade, and the remotes, and the sports surcharge, and these fees, and the taxes? Because all of that adds up to what I’m paying now.” Louis is clearly thrown off track. (I love a good pun. I never pass up the opportunity to make one. But, honestly, that was not intended.) Louis says he needs to get the agent back on the line. Wow. We bank hard again to the left and I say bluntly to him, “Louis, we started off well, but you’re about to lose this sale.”
Entering the Dark Tunnel
We’re now over 30 minutes into the call and both Louis and the agent are back on the line to ensure that I get the best package. We actually set up an appointment time for the install. He’s almost home as we begin the climb up the last hill, reviewing the details yet again. Louis mentions a $60 installation fee … and we plummet. I balk at the fee and we enter a dark tunnel — a one-minute hold time as they check with another supervisor about the fee and another question I had.
Louis comes back on the line, and we’re out of the tunnel. He’s unable to waive the fee, but is extolling the virtues of the faster download and upload speeds. I tell him that’s not a benefit as I’ve done fine without it for over a year. He understands, but says I’m still basically getting it for free, along with the phone (which, again, I have no need for) trying to create a benefit where none exists. And I let him know that, in exactly those words. Louis struggles, still selling the faster internet speed, trying to stretch out the ride a little longer but to no avail. I tell Louis that for all the hassle, plus an install fee, for services I didn’t really need, for essentially the same price I pay now, that we’re done. There’s no sale.
End of the Line
Our CX rollercoaster ride has come to an end as we glide in. The safety bar goes up, and the next unsuspecting customer climbs in.
Let’s take a look back at that ride. An unsolicited call. Multiple transfers. A supervisor with no empowerment, and no knowledge of – or access to – the customer’s account. Lack of product and pricing knowledge. Long hold times. And not listening to or understanding my needs as a customer.
Are you taking your customers on the same CX ride? Are you putting a sale – and possibly customers’ relationships – at risk? Now is the time to figure it out to ensure you’re delivering a positive and unified CX experience to your customers.