Monday, March 3, 2008

No Further Remorse for Vonage

Just as I'd started to have a little remorse over my decision to leave Vonage, my wife gave them a call. Their customer service was terrible. My wife came away upset and more ready to leave, and never return, than ever. Unfortunately, she wasn't even able to get what she wanted to done.

First, why do I have to cancel my account within business hours? If you have CSRs available 24/7 then you should be able to make account changes during that time. Checking a box to cancel an account, which I should be able to do from my computer anyway, is not something that requires a lot of training, time, or money.

Then, they ask for verification by using information that you may not have readily available, and not every CSR asks for the same things. She was disconnected twice while trying to retrieve this information. Once you get past this step, the person verifying the information can't even help you deactivate your account. You have to be transferred to "someone who can."

Enter the dreaded Retention Specialist. These are the people who are willing to do everything to get you to stay, but will argue forever if you still want to leave. These people will offer you deals, and they're great if you really want to stay. My wife wanted to leave. The other person wanted her to stay, but could only offer a small concession on price and some magic benefit where if there were a hurricane people could somehow stay in touch with her. In the end she was disconnected again.

The specialist left us a snotty voicemail saying he was sorry that she hung up on him and she'd have to call back to finish the disconnect. I'm inclined to believe that she did not hang up on him, but hearing the complete story I feel she'd be justified in doing so. The funny thing is that he left the voicemail on our Vonage service, which we don't use anymore.

In the end, I have no more remorse. Even if the cable company screws me by raising the price down the line, they've had excellent customer service for the last few years, so I'll be fine with it. If I do leave and look for another VoIP solution (I'll probably just get rid of the home phone completely in that case) then I won't look to Vonage. They hassled my wife for over an hour with what should have been a 2 minute procedure, or a 30 second one that she could complete on her own.

Vonage, please fire/reassign every retention specialist. They don't work the way you want them to. For every customer you save using a retention specialist you piss off five more to the point that they'll never consider your service again. Focus your money on excellence and value of service and you'll have less customers even considering leaving. Make leaving easy and make returning even easier, and you'll win back customers if your competitors aren't up to the challenge.

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