Friday, January 8, 2010

Just Because I Used a Word, Doesn't Mean I Meant It

I just got off the phone with my good friends at Charter Communications who are very concerned that I am receiving the optimum in Internet capabilities. I thought that was very considerate of them.

The snag we ran into during our conversation was that when I informed them that I was perfectly happy with my current Internet provider, the operator said, "I completely understand," before continuing with her scripted sales pitch (for that, I came to fear, was the true nature of her call.)

I repeated to her that I was happy with the service I had and she repeated, "I completely understand," before continuing.

Now, it seems to me that there would be a myriad of responses to an unwilling customer such as myself, and I must admit "I completely understand" is one of them, but I fear it is not the best. Perhaps something along the lines of "ah, but you haven't heard about this..." or maybe, "you may think you're satisfied, but you don't know about..." I may still not be sold on your idea, but at least I would be unable to refute your premise. Saying, "I completely understand" not even a partial understanding but a complete understanding mind you, and then immediately demonstrating that you do not at all understand, tends to undermine your argument.

This little Tet-a-Tet concluded with me saying, "Obviously you don't completely understand as you are still attempting to sell me on your package," which elicited a, "Well, I'm just trying to do my job," response before telling me that Charter appreciated what business I'm already giving them and then hanging up on me.

Now, without even going into the oddity of calling a person at his home, doing a terrible job at selling him your product and then yelling at him when A: he is actually an active customer with your company and B: the response he gave really didn't deserve your ire (I imagine she gets far more verbally abused on almost every other call), this was a very poor excuse for a social interaction.

One has to assume they don't expect people to whip out their checkbook every time they place a call. Do they actually train their telemarketers to talk over their customers with a gratuitous "I completely understand" when the customer tells them they aren't interested? And this idea that I should feel bad because I wasn't responsive enough when she's doing a job that I didn't hire her for and would, in fact, rather she not do. In the words of hack comedians everywhere, what's the deal with that? I imagine a bank robber being put in handcuffs shouting profanities at the police officer who says, in a voice suggesting he's fighting back tears, "I'm just doing my job, why you gotta be so mean?" (Yes, I realize that in this particular analogy I am, in fact, the bank robber. I'm okay with that.)

I guess the point of this particular ramble is that, if you're going to call me to sell me something I don't want, at least have a vague grasp of the meaning of the words that you use. Oh yeah, and just because it's your job, that doesn't actually mean I have to buy from you.

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