I did it. I escaped. I faced (well, voiced) down a “Customer Loyalty Specialist” (helllloooooo Orwell!) and made it out of the phone call without raising my voice, pulling my hair, or (worst case scenario) ending up extending my contract. And all it took was being willing to do one simple thing:
Lie through my teeth.
With all the amazing stories of painful experiences trying to cancel Comcast service we’ve been hearing (not to mention them kindly changing people’s names on their bills), I was not looking forward to this call. However, it had to be done. We’d found (to our shock and awe) that we had a new option for internet service, a local company offering equal-to-better bandwidth at a slightly lower price, with excellent one-to-one customer service (I know, hard to believe!). It was time to make the switch. In fact, we made the switch, and waited a week to make sure everything was working before I was ready to make the call.
Then, I came up with my plan.
The thing to remember is that the people you call have a script with planned responses (drafted by psychologists for maximum effectiveness) all crafted to do everything they can to keep you on contract. They’ll do almost anything–offer better service, price discounts, car washes (not)–to keep your money rolling in each month. So, you have to be ready with a story that makes it as inappropriate as possible for them to try to keep you.
I decided we were moving. But, of course, they’d ask where, just in case we could just move our service with us. England! We’re moving to England! I’d gotten a transfer to a project in London for a year, and we had to stop all our services. No chance they could follow us there! With that story firmly established, I made the call. And almost ruined everything.
Because, the scripts are good. There are questions that can (or are designed to?) trip you up. How soon were you going? Oh, uh, next week–so we’re cancelling all our services now! Will anyone be staying in the residence who can use the service? Oh, no, nobody. Do you have a forwarding address for the final bill? Um, no, send it to the house–we’re having the mail forwarded. Are you sure? Sometimes they won’t forward bills. Yes, we’re sure.
I was sweating near the end there, thinking on my feet, trying not to trip myself up. But after just a couple of minutes of perjury, bobbing and weaving through the interrogator’s–er, Customer Loyalty Support person’s–grilling, I was out the other side with cancelled service and a final bill on the way. But my lesson-learned info dump to you is to have your story straight before you call. I thought I did, but hadn’t thought through all the details, and by the end I was on the edge, and only a little quick-thinking saved me from a complete meltdown. But it’s also important to be cheerful, confident, and professional about the whole thing. You’re just taking care of a little chore in advance of your big journey. Make them believe it!
Now, I know, it seems risky to share this info. But I’m relying on Comcast being as unresponsive in changing their retention scripts as they are about actually improving their customer service overall. And if this helps just a few of you to save yourselves some time and emotional distress, then I’ve done my job.