Earthlink Sux: Revisited

Recently I ranted about Earthlink sucking the big one. Amazingly enough I got some replies in that thread from disgruntled call center employees. Friken awesome! Apparently all these nice people I talked to on the phone are either untrained, or from India, or both:

The reason we suck so bad is because EarthLink outsources its Dial up and Wireless tech support and offers nearly zero training to agents on the phone.

Apparently the communication between departments is sucky too:

when you call your just talking to someone who cant do anything anyhow, they send it to Earthlink through a chat system that kicks down the requests most of the time.

Ah, so this is why the stuff magically disappears from their radar. Too funny!

Now I don’t necessarily mind outsourcing itself that much. If it helps to cut costs, and provide me better service for less – I’m all for that. And I guess it’s great for the guys in India. We are literally pumping money into their economy. It can’t be all that bad – assuming that the outsourced workers can do the job equally well as their US counterparts…

Yet, if the outsourced call centers don’t have proper training, don’t have the power to help the customers and can’t efficiently communicate with Earthlink – then we have a problem. Unfortunately most of the outsourcing deals seem to result in a mess like this.

That’s why I think we will see emergence of smaller companies who actually invest in customer service and tech support. I found these guys for dialup: All2Easy. They have decent nationwide coverage, the connections are ok for dialup – and customer service is awesome. After you register an account, you get a call from their representative who asks how is the connection, and is ready to help you with any problems. Now that’s quality customer care! Would earthlinke do that? Ya, right!

Another guy provides even more insight into how the call centers work:

I work for, Clientlogic, who cares only about the bottom line. They don’t care about the customer at all. They want us to fix the problem, stop the customer from canceling, maintain perfect quality scores by not deviating from the “Call Flow” and to not have to call other departments, and do it all within the first 4 minutes of the call. Clientlogic only gets paid for the first few minutes of the call so if your problem is too complicated they pass you around from person to person.

Apparently these guys are not authorized to help you unless you are pissed off, and you threaten to cancel the service:

if you call and you don’t say you want to cancel not only are people less motivated to help you Earthlink/Clientlogic tells it’s agents they are not allowed to use the offers we are given to help customers who are canceling unless you say the magic word “Cancel” we are limited to what we can do to help you. So they get to pay us less because people call in not quite pissed off enough yet to be canceling the service. We aren’t allowed to help them and most of the time have to pass them off to a Mastertech.

Heh, I wish I knew this. I always try to be nice and civil on the phone. And I usually don’t talk about canceling unless I really mean it. Good thing to know 🙂

On the other hand, I’d hate to be the guy who I talked into canceling the 50 something accounts. He probably got a stern reprimand from his manager. God, this sucks – it shouldn’t’ work this way. I think these guys got it all backwards. You’re supposed to cater to my needs hoping I don’t cancel – not try to annoy me hoping that I threaten canceling so that you can throw some shiny distracting offers at me. Agh!

I guess the secret to being successful company is not keeping the customers happy. Just offering minimum service for as long as possible, then when they finally refuse to take it anymore give them shiny, but useless gift and start over with minimal support again. Sigh…

This is something to remember though: always say you’re canceling when you call them:

So the lesson boys and girls is that if you want a corporation to help you then you have to threaten to take money out of their pockets. Say the magic word cancel and you get results. If you don’t you’ll just get shoved into incompetent customer service hell.

Next time I’ll do exactly that. Thanks guys!

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