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A Case For Upselling Humanity

, , , , | Working | December 19, 2017

(At some point it was decided that our tech support department should also always try to upsell. It is tempting; the usual pay is horrible and a bonus is offered, but it never sat right with me. I get a call from an elderly lady. She is lovely, living alone, and obviously not at all tech-savvy, and she has a simple enquiry: A friend told her that she was supposed to have hundreds of TV channels, but she only has about 30 — the very basic channels that, in Germany, are free to watch. After only a few questions from my side the issue becomes clear; someone sold her the most expensive cable bundle in connection with a set-top box that should be connected to her TV, only she has never, ever used it. She’s just been using her TV, hooked up to digital cable, and watched the free channels. All our calls are recorded, but this lady is awesome, and I’ve had about enough, so…)

Me: “Ma’am, before we continue, let me ask you one question: Are you happy with the service as it has been so far? Would you like to watch more channels?”

Caller: “Oh, I only ever watch the news for a bit in the evening. I don’t need anything else. I was just wondering about what my friend said.”

Me: “All right. You see, in order to get more channels, you would have to use the black box, and the remote that came with it. That’s one option. The other option is that I cancel your subscription for all but the basic functions.”

Caller: “I don’t want to deal with that box. It’s useless. But I want to keep the channels I used.”

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. Here is what we’ll do: Everything on your end stays the same, but instead of your monthly fee of [about 60] Euros, we’ll lower it to [about 20] Euros.”

Caller: “You can really do that?”

Me: “In this case, yes. Also, as I’m looking at your account right now, may I ask if you have a computer or use the Internet at all?”

Caller: “No, no. I can’t be bothered with that.”

Me: “And you’re not planning on buying a computer, either, I take it.”

Caller: “No, I can’t make sense of all that stuff.”

Me: “That’s fine. In that case, I will cancel your Internet subscription as well. That brings your new monthly total down to [less than 10] Euros.”

(The call took over 20 minutes as I walked her through the cancellation process and had her write down everything we’d discussed, since she wanted her son to check her contract, and I wanted them to be able to make an informed decision. I got written up for it, but I didn’t mind. You just don’t take advantage of lovely old ladies for a measly bonus. I just wish I had found out which colleague had sold an Internet contract to someone who didn’t own a PC, laptop, or smartphone, etc.)

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