What is it with companies and their hard sell tactics? I wrote about this already in Extended Warranties and the hard sell and less then two months later I have experienced similar tactics with Bell support.
I recently bought an iPhone which was also my first cell. It’s rather pricey and I don’t really have a need for two phone bills so I called up Bell to cancel my home line. I will still continue to use their Internet service, so I have not completely left them. I fully expected the customer retention spiel and even put up with it for the first five minutes of the conversation.
Right from the get go I said I wanted to cancel and he asked why. I told him and then he told me many people cancel and reconnect, let me see what kind of “deal” we can get you. I was curious to see how much I could have been saving all these years. This alone kind of irks me because the price was more than half what I had paid for the past two years, mind you it had no voice mail, or long distance, but removing those features would not have reduced the bill by over half. Basically my phone bill could have gone from 45 dollars a month to 20. I still said no, I can’t justify a phone bill for a phone I won’t use.
So then he said my intercom will no longer work and what if there is an emergency, a lot of people find cell phones unreliable. I wonder if they say this when they are trying to sell you a mobile plan? Finally I calmly say “I really don’t like the hard sell”. This must have gone completely over his head, because he continued to push, and when I said I can always get another phone line if I want, he said “but sir that will cost you an extra 50 dollar connection fee”. This is when I lost my patience and calmly said something along the lines of “well, it won’t cost me 50 dollars if I go to your competitor and oh by the way maybe I should cancel my Internet right now also, this is ridiculous, I have things to do and work to get done” This for some reason got him to start the lengthy process of disconnecting my line. He said no sir no sir, I am canceling your line. I even told him I understood it was his job to try and keep me as a customer, but it was getting kind of ridiculous, it should have been glaringly obvious by that point that I was not going to keep my line.
What bothers me is I hate being like this, I felt crappy after saying that and I should not be made to feel this way when I call a company I have done business with for 10 years and continue to do business with. I understand customer retention, but there is a point when a service representative should know when to stop, I would say that time is definitely when the customer starts getting frustrated. Do these tactics work? Maybe they do, but I don’t think they do much for your brand, I am left with a very bad taste in my mouth now in regards to both Bell and Best Buy. In fact, I was already annoyed with Bell to begin with. I’ve never been able to get a hold of their support after work hours, and when they were trouble shooting an issue once it was quit a long and painful process. I would love to go to TekSavvy, their direct competition, unfortunately Bell charges them a 10 dollar dry loop fee since they use Bell’s lines. A dry loop is a phone line without a dial tone so you can still use DSL Internet. I’m still tinkering with the idea of switching, I’ve called TekSavvy twice and they have fantastic support. They even tell you that you can buy a modem from them or get it cheaper elsewhere! This is a company you remember and I have recommended them to others based only on reviews I have read and my own experience with their service reps.
Bell on the other hand only has me as a customer by sheer force. It seems like their whole business model is based on the fact that they control a lot of the lines. I know that if I ran a company I would want my name to shine because we were fantastic, not because we owned the market. What happens when competition comes? Bell you have a new logo, now you need to start treating your customers like people.