Customer Service Pet Peeve — Don’t Try to Sell Me Stuff During Support Calls

Aside from the inane menu trees and the long wait times, nothing annoys me more than when I call a company for technical support and they try to sell me crap I don’t need during the call.

There are two companies this happens with pretty much every time I call them — Charter Communications (my cable company) and SBC.

With Charter, for example, I have had to call them a few times because there is a problem with my Internet access. It is apparently an actual physical problem with the cable that runs up to my house. Every single time I call them for technical support, the support people walk me through a scripted bit of nonsense where they’re trying to convince me to upgrade my cable package. Wouldn’t you like this set of channels? (No). Or wouldn’t you like a Charter DVR? (Not unless you’re putting DVD-Rs in them).

SBC was even worse. I made the mistake of getting an SBC line for my grandmother when she was in a nursing home. They moved her bed shortly after the line was installed and I had to have the line moved from one room to another. Despite a month of calls SBC never could be bothered to move the phone line, but every time I called about the lack of technical support I was receiving, the company thought this would be a good time to ask me to upgrade all the services on the line.

I’d explain up front that I was the grandson calling about a phone line in a nursing home, but the service reps would always try to sell me on high speed Internet (umm, we’re talking about an incapacitated 80 year old here — no thanks). Or 3-way calling in case Grandma needed to take a meeting.

I have a theory that the point in both cases is to annoy customers to the point that they simply stop calling customer service. It worked at SBC, as I finally gave up on the idea that they were actually going to be helpful.

Please, if I’m calling you because something isn’t working, don’t see that as another opportunity for a sales pitch.

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