Last week, Crabby Old Lady’s internet and television provider, Comcast, sent a letter with a big bold telephone number and headline asking, Are You Getting the Best Value?
In November, when the company raised her monthly fee again (as they do every year without providing increased service), Crabby had made a mental note to arrange to drop some of her TV services to save a few bucks. The new letter was a good reminder to do so.
PLEASE STAND BY: Any of you pious folks who don’t watch television, please keep it to yourself. Crabby does watch television and finds it crucial to understanding the cultural and political zeitgeist of the country just as regularly following internet trends is too.
Moreover, she likes various news and opinion programs that help keep her informed and she relishes the renaissance in original drama series that has taken place over the past few years. The writing and production values are, overall, much better these days than in the majority of feature films.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled blog post:
Before Crabby could explain why she was calling, the Comcast customer service representative launched into a sales pitch for a higher priced service that included a bunch of premium channels like HBO, Showtime, etc.
Crabby explained that she had no interest in those channels and her point with the call was to lower the price, not raise it. She suggested how that might be done.
The woman said (Crabby paraphrases, but it’s close): “The only package Comcast is prepared to offer you at this time is the more expensive one I described.”
CRABBY: Do you mean there is no lower-priced package available and the only way I can change my account is to pay more or cancel altogether?
CSR: Yes, this package is all I can offer you.
Crabby found this to be not believable and phoned back to get a different representative who spent 10 minutes trying to pull up Crabby’s account on her computer without success.
Because both representatives Crabby spoke with were located somewhere other than Oregon (she could tell because they mispronounced the state’s name), Crabby next tracked down a local customer service number for Comcast and tried that.
What a difference. John (not his real name) was smart, well-informed, personable, eager to help and funny too. Crabby had a fine, ol’ time laughing and talking with John about television, the internet, old people, high prices for everything, her specific Comcast services and how she might reduce her monthly bill.
In the end, the services Crabby was willing to cancel would not affect the price and she was unwilling to reduce the speed of her internet connection. So John knocked $20 off the bill for the next six months.
Not a whole lot less than the full price, but just enough (they probably do surveys to pinpoint the exact discount that works) to let Crabby feel a little better. She and John were having such a good time that Crabby felt free to tease him a bit. “Oh fine,’ she said. “That’s nice now but it jumps again come summer.”
John gave Crabby his direct telephone number and told her to call him back then, implying that another adjustment could be made. Because she’s an old cynic, Crabby tried the number and behold, it is John’s direct line – at least for one day.
So Crabby is guessing that it sometimes helps (a little) with service providers to be persistent and not accept the first answer.
Actually, Crabby had intended to take today off from blogging but it’s not often that customer service news is good (sort of) and this didn’t take but 10 minutes to write.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, June Calendar: Mistaken Identity