How to lose a customer in 3 easy steps

Posted on October 1, 2014


lose a customer in 3 steps

It’s not enough to have polite and nice people doing customer service. There should also be follow-through and results. A recent experience with our cable company brought this point home to me. Everyone loves to hate their cable company. I don’t think there is any cable company that is known for even mediocre service.

We have RCN for our phone, cable tv and Internet. We have been a customer of theirs for 13 years. That should count for something right? Well for the past several months, most days at 3:30 pm or 6:00 pm, our Internet service goes down. No, I am not streaming an entire season of Downton Abbey, and no dear Mr. Ken is not playing King of Thrones. I am blogging on WordPress or perusing a fitness website and Mr. Ken is perusing geek sites.

So at 3:30 or 6:00 pm, depending on the day, the Internet goes down and we wait. And we wait. And we wait. After a few weeks of this happening, we decide to call RCN. We finally get through the VoiceMail Maze and reach a live person. This person speaks English and is actually working in the United States. Score one point.

The service rep is very nice and very apologetic. Score another point. She suggests a few things we can try on our end, without making us feel like the outage is our fault. Score another point. She then claims there are no other outages in our area. Okay, I believe this the first time we call, but this is what we hear every time we call back. STRIKE ONE.

Mmmm, isn’t is curious that the Internet outages occur at roughly the same time each day? And no coincidence, it’s around the time that kids are getting home from school and logging onto the Internet. Our theory is that someone on the RCN network is doing some heavy duty streaming or downloading and it’s slowing down the entire system.

A service call is scheduled and the service guy comes out the very next day. The service guy is nice. The service guy goes around, wiggles a few wires and pronounces every thing okay. He even checks the speed of our Internet connection. Score a couple of points for this.

Okay, this is all well and good. But this scenario is repeated numerous times over the past several months. The nice service guy comes out and wriggles a few wires. One guy even tells us it’s the wind that is making the wires loose and that is why we are losing the Internet. Okay, we haven’t had a windy day in maybe 6 months. STRIKE TWO.

The last service guy even gave us the number of his supervisor to call when the outage happened again. Well, we have called and left nice messages for the supervisor, but we never heard back. STRIKE 3.

Guess what, we are now switching to Verizon FIOS.  Once I got over my frustration with this process, I thought about what we can all learn from this.

It is not enough for companies to have nice people on the phones and nice people who come out for service calls. This is important, but what is MORE important is

1. Tell the truth.

I find it hard to believe that RCN doesn’t know who is doing what on the Internet. I guess they don’t want to admit that they are either deliberately slowing the service down or that they don’t have enough capacity.

2. Fix the problem!

If you tell us our problem will get escalated, then make sure it happens!

So what about you? Any tips for losing or keeping customers?

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