Awhile back I wrote about Vincent Ferrari’s tape recorded conversation with an AOL employee who refused to let him cancel his service. Mr. Ferrari was even interviewed by Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show. After the incident came to light, AOL said the employee that Mr. Ferrari spoke with was acting improperly and was terminated.
Now, it appears that AOL may actually have a written manual that encourages the offensive behavior that Mr. Ferrari had to endure. Do companies really believe that they can act this way and not be exposed? Frankly, I’m hoping that this latest story about the AOL ‘Retention Manual’ turns out to be a hoax; I don’t want to believe that executives in a major corporation like AOL could be this stupid.
P.S. If you want a practice optimized for remote work & virtual collaboration, get this 24-page guide.
And I’m not surprised either–for a while I was a telephone operator for…AT&T. The Death Star used toride me pretty good for not playing salesperson for them–I’d get called out for special “coaching” whereI’d tell them:I was NOT a salespersonI considered their methods and tactics intrusive, and guessed (rightly, I think) callers felt likewise,andOur union contract didn’t require me to be a salesperson for them.
As you might expect, this generally wasn’t well received. Fortunately, the miserable economy of the early90’s picked up and I was eventually able to quit THAT job and take something that gave me time tograduate from college–I went to work for a company that was a major call-center outsource for techsupport…one of THEIR accounts was…AOL. I never was assigned to AOHell, but in cube-farm city, it was easyenough to hear my “colleagues” going through the motions. Back then, a big thing was to offer up to six months offree service to keep folks from bailing. And sometimes I’d hear them trying to calm down someone whotook this offer…but got billled anyway. What a mess.
I am not surprised by this. I received the same treatment when trying to cancel AT&T long distance service years ago. The representative refused to cancel the service without delivering his sales pitch. Even after informing him that I didn’t have time to listen to it because I was at work, he adamantly informed me he would not cancel it until I heard about all of the options and benefits of staying with AT&T.