A Churn Rate Debate

, , , , | Right | January 11, 2019

(I work for a cell phone provider, primarily setting up new lines of service. I have two trainees sitting with me so they can listen to live calls.)

Me: “Hi. Thank you for calling. How may I help you?”

Customer: “I need to reconnect my wireless home phone? My home phone? The phone? It was disconnected today, and I need to reconnect it. You can do that? Right? You can do that? I want my activation fee waived, too. Speak to your supervisor, yeah? Your supervisor will waive it?”

(The whole time, it sounds like he’s talking with one breath, extremely fast.)

Me: “Well, let me see. May I have a phone number on your account?”

(He then proceeds to list off ten different numbers, all without taking a break. Finally, I get one that pulls up an account. Even if a line is disconnected, we can still see it on the account. There are at least sixty disconnected home phone lines. In the minute it takes me to pull up his account, he is continuously saying, “Hello? Hello?” despite me reassuring him that I’m still on the line. I pull up his notes on the account, and he has been adding on the home phone, getting the activation waived, and then removing the line two to three days later. This has been going on for at least five months. In fact, last time it happened, it happened to my coworker. An instant disconnect is known as churn, and if it happens enough, you can be fired, so I’m extremely hesitant to even do the order.)

Me: “Sir, can I ask why you disconnected your phone today? I see it was just added on two days ago. I also see that this is a frequent pattern on your account. Is there a residual issue with your phone? We should be able to fix any concerns.”

Customer: “Well, to be honest, I thought it was going to be too expensive. I know better now. Can you waive my activation fee? Go to talk to your supervisor. Can you waive my activation fee?”

Me: “I will try, but you’ve received at least $180 of credit this month alone. Is the phone going to remain active, or are you planning on disconnecting it?”

(For the first time since we started speaking, he goes quiet. After about thirty seconds he speaks again.)

Customer: “Yes. Tomorrow.”

(My trainees started laughing, just bewildered. I told the customer I was going to place him on a silent hold, and went to speak with my floor support. They told me we couldn’t waive the activation fee, and to flag down his account for fraud because they thought there was more going on. By the time I got back to my desk, he had hung up. I wasn’t gone for more than two minutes. The trainees told me that the entire time, he’d kept saying, “Hello? Hello? Hello?” without faltering once. I noted the account to not give him any more credit, and as I was filing the claim to send to our fraud investigation team, I noticed that someone else had added on his home phone and given him a credit, and the customer had already disconnected it again.)

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