Open Letter to @Spectrum

What would you do with an extra $1403.16 in your pocket? Would you pay your bills? Put a deposit down on something? Put it in the bank to collect interest? Well, this is the same question I asked Allison, the single mother of two, customer service agent @Spectrum when discussing my bill.

Yesterday was “paying bills day” in the Vega house. And, as I do every month, I opened my spreadsheet, yes, I’m one of those and started paying my bills, one by one. From the mortgage to utilities, to credit cards, to college loans. When I got to the cable bill, I noticed a $17.05 increase from the previous month. It’s not a lot, but it’s a few cups of java at Starbucks.

So, I hopped online to see what specials @spectrum was offering for Black Friday. If I can save money, then why not, right? I logged onto their site, and chose the option for new customers, just to see what they were offering the open market. This is America, after all. As my mother always told me, buyer beware. Be an educated consumer.

To my surprise, they were offering new clients the same package I currently have, for the “special rate” of $114.97/month versus the “not-so-special rate” I was paying, $231.90/month. A net difference of $116.93/month or $1,403.16/year, which brings me back to my initial query. What would you do with an extra $1,403.16 in your pocket?

Now remember. @spectrum is currently advertising themselves as the “no contracts” company, right? Uh-huh. Anyway, in the past, if I had an issue with my bill, I’d go to the local outlet, they’d see what was available on the open market, in my area, and make the appropriate adjustments, lowering my bill.

NOT ANYMORE, FOLKS!!  Instead of going to the store, I hopped on the phone, and called customer service, educated about the current offerings, prepared to discuss my issue, and hoping for a positive resolution.

Sadly, I forgot, hope is not a strategy. Damn you, Benjamin Ola Akande, economist, scholar, and Dean of the Business School at Webster University in Saint Louis!!

First, I dealt with Alison. A friendly, single mother of two who understood and agreed with my issues. When I asked her if she would fight for $1,403.67, and would it make a difference in her life, she told me, yes, but sadly, there was nothing she could do for me.

So, she passed me to a “member of her leadership team.” Yes, that’s the exact phrase she used, for her team lead, a person sitting two or three cubes away from her. Now, when I hear this phrase, it usually refers to someone in the C-Suite, but whatever. Regardless of how ridiculous I find the faux-title, if the next person can help resolve the issue, you can call them The Pope.

Haley, the “member of the leadership team” was anything but helpful. After lecturing me on my faux pas of “logging into the WRONG SITE,” like it’s against the laws of the universe, she rudely informed me that the only thing she could do for me was to review my bill and remove services, potentially saving me $20. When I objected and tried to express my dissatisfaction, she spoke over me, never allowing me, the paying client, to vent my frustration.

Eventually, I just started calling her name. “Haley…Haley…HALEY!!!” Clearly, she wasn’t accustomed to either losing an argument, dealing with people, or was simply trained poorly on dealing with clients. I point to the latter.

Frustrated, I asked to speak with her supervisor, Laurie. I shared my experience with Alison, a nice person, and Haley, a RUDE person, and how ironic the name of the company is @spectrum, and how opposite ends of the spectrum these two employees were. One extremely lovely, and the other extremely rude.

As many of you know, I sell software for a living. Have for close to thirty years. I share this because, Laurie’s response to my plight made and still makes no sense to me. After explaining to her that in the past, whenever this issue occurred, all I had to do was walk into the local store, and they’d make the appropriate adjustments.

She informed me that she’s been with the company for 14 years and never heard of that. And it was
“PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO ADJUST MY ACCOUNT TO THE BLACK FRIDAY RATE.” Again, I sell software for a living, so I know, that statement is “PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE,” as I know programmers, know how to apply specials or rebates to accounts, which I explained to her.

She then explained that according to their disclaimer, this rate only applies to new clients. Here’s where things get interesting. I read the disclaimer. I had it up on my screen. And nowhere on the disclaimer does it say, “This special rate only applies to new clients,” which I explained to Laurie, and everyone else I spoke with prior.  

I even went so far as to offer to share out my desktop, which I do all the time, because, again, I sell software, and have to often demo my solution, via the web.

“No, that’s okay. There’s still nothing I can do for you, except review your bill and see which service we can remove, saving you $20.”

Frustrated, I asked, “So, what you’re telling me, Laurie, is that there’s nothing you can do for me and that my only choices are to switch to a new vendor, or reduce my bill by $20? Is that what you’re telling me? That you want Spectrum to lose a longstanding client?”

“Sorry, sir, but that’s all I can do.”

My response…*click*

Even though it’s going to be a hassle, I found a new vendor. Did I want to switch? No. Do I still want to change, even though I spent a better part of my afternoon, dealing with that nonsense? Again, no. I have no issues with my service. I get good reception. Everything works. My only challenge is my bill, or rather, wanting to keep $1,403.67 in my wallet, versus in @spectrum’s.

@Spectrum, I am sharing this online, because I want you to hear about my frustrations. I want you to hear about your “stellar” customer service. You need to do something about this. My new provider arrives at my home on Friday, December 6, from 8 to noon, so you have between the time I post this to the time I return your equipment, which I plan on doing the moment my new equipment is installed and working, to not lose another client to your competition.

I’m sure your shareholders wouldn’t appreciate this story. I know I don’t enjoy sharing it, but since I couldn’t get through to your “leadership team,” maybe someone in the C-Suite will read this and do the right thing. If not, meh…you’ve lost another customer. That’s on you!

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