"...of customer service bordering on the sadistic.
For many years, AOL customers who tried to cancel their accounts only to find a fresh bill each month on their credit cards have gone through their own specialized stages of grief. Denial: They can't do this to me! Anger: I'm going to complain to a supervisor, and heads will roll! Bargaining: OK, my last request disappeared from your computer, so I'll pay for this month, but then it's over, right? Begging: Please cancel my account. Please. Please. Please. Please. Acceptance: I am now and will always be billed by AOL, even though I no longer use AOL.
That's why it was heartening to read this week's reports that AOL will pay New York state $1.25 million in penalties after an investigation revealed that AOL paid tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses to customer service representatives who essentially refused to process cancellation requests.
The probe found that to qualify for this extra pay, as of August 2004, employees had to rebuff 49 percent of customers who called to end their service, whether through offers of price breaks or by simply ignoring the requests.
AOL denies wrongdoing, but the fact is that the Time Warner company has lost 6 million of the 27 million customers it used to have and has been desperate to stem the bleeding. Reports about the New York investigation are only likely to make things worse.
Good. If any company deserves headaches, it's the one whose customer service motto amounted to "suffering builds character."
Courtesy of the San Diego Union Tribune.
Karen on 08.28.05 @ 06:35 AM CST