Yesterday I canceled two last services that were reminding me of the era of old computers, modems, connection problems and other geeky fun that I was having. The Plain-Old Telephone Service (POTS) is not functioning in my Brooklyn apartment anymore, cell phone is more then enough.
Alternatively, I can always use Skype and Gizmo – call quality is almost the same, if not better. Since I signed up with OptimunOnline’s Boost service I get a bit better speed, open ports 25 and 80 (for e-mail and HTTP services). Aside from annoying calls at 8 in the Saturday morning from some collection agency who’s hunting people who used to own my phone number a year ago the cost of having an old-style phone line is just the same as a decent DSL line. Latter, however, is capable of much more then just voice transmission.
The whole process took me less then 7 minutes. This is including dragging through automatic menu and paying the balance online. Verizon really does a good service at canceling a service, unlike some other companies who really resist your quitting, like Netfirms or Earthlink.
Speaking of Earthlink – another service I had canceled yesterday was the dial-up service. And that was an unforgettable experience. The Earthlink customer service representative really took her time in canceling my account. She asked me three times if I had an alternative (probably because I told her that I have cable internet, DSL line and my cell phone is capable of acting as wireless modem providing speeds just a little better then dial-up). She dugg through my records for a few minutes. She mentioned that I had this service since 2005 (she did this only couple of times, so that’s okay). She asked me if I want to hear about other services from Earthlink. When I politely declined she started reading their promotional pitch to me anyway. I had to interrupt and tell her that I really appreciate her doing her duties but I don’t have much time and would like to cancel the account as fast as possible. She started to read the pitch again, so I had to remind her that I wanted to cancel the account, not hear useless stories about the services I already have. After meddling with my records for another few minutes the account was finally canceled.
Overall it took more then 12 minutes, including automated menu and hold time. From my experience, whoever designed the canceling procedure did their best to discourage customers to ever deal with Earthlink again. I do realize that the account cancellation procedure is company’s last resort to convert the leaving customer into staying customer. I also realize that once customer checks out he becomes another potential customer or reference, so the cancellation must be as painless as possible – at least to my understanding.
So, here’s my reference to Earthlink – before signing up with them, think of the time you will have to sign out – either because you’re moving to a place with better service, getting FiOS or cable or just dissatisfied with something – and that will be painful. Do you really need this at the time when you already have enough on your hands?