We decided to cut back on expenses due to mini-me, so Iâ€™ve been thinking of which cost savings. The TV is an obvious choice, due to a mixture of the Internet and nothing much showing on TV our satellite Sky TV subscription has been allocated for the chop.
This turned into far more of an ordeal that I had thought possible. Cast your mind back to March 1st, if you canâ€™t cast your mind try throwing it; even better try throwing someone elseâ€™s. Anyway, this is as close as I can recall the conversations, the dull and repetitive bits – and anything personal – have been removed as much as possible:
I called Sky, an automated system answers. I listen to the options and not having a direct customer services section or a cancel Sky section I opt for â€˜changing your Sky subscription package.â€™
Their automated system was designed as the 10th circle of hell. It took a while but eventually I get a human. A nice sounding woman, whose name I didnâ€™t get.
15:10, 1st March 2004
â€˜Hello Iâ€™m X, how can I help you?â€™
â€˜Hi, Iâ€™d like to cancel my Sky subscription please.â€™
â€˜Youâ€™d like to change your Sky package, have you selected what you want to change to?â€™ I pause. There is a possibility weâ€™re operating in separate and distinct universes. The conversation can be odd across universes so I try again.
â€˜Iâ€™d like to cancel my Sky subscription please.â€™ I figure twoâ€™s the charm.
â€˜Oh.â€™ She sounds so hurt; I picture injured kittens from her very tone. â€˜I see you are on X package, and you have been with us for quite a while. We have X package at a cheaper price.â€™
â€˜No thanks, Iâ€™d just like to cancel.â€™
â€˜Yes I can arrange that for you. Can I ask why you would like to cancel?â€™
â€˜Yes, itâ€™s too expensive.â€™ This is true but has not stopped me in the past, I guess itâ€™s too expensive for me now my priorities have changed. I donâ€™t explain all this exposition as itâ€™s none of there business; but this question is important leverage for them.
â€˜Iâ€™ll have to put you through to another department for cancellations, but they will be able to sort this out for you today. Please hold. Iâ€™m back listening to muzak that makes my ears want to crawl off and hide under a rock.
â€˜Hi, Iâ€™m Eddie. You want to cancel your subscription?â€™ A fast talker, Scottish sounding, alarm bells began ringing in my head right away as he said that line a lot like it was â€˜So you want to eat your own leg?â€™
â€˜Hello and yes, I do.â€™
â€˜Why do you want to do that?â€™ You want to eat your arm? His tone was starting to wind me up already, just two sentences in.
â€˜Itâ€™s too expensive for me.â€™ Damn my inbuilt English polite gene, I know where this is going but I donâ€™t put a stop to it now. In hindsight I blame the fact I was on IRC at the same time so wasnâ€™t paying as much attention as I should have been.
â€˜What channels do you watch?â€™
â€˜Sky One.â€™ I answer glibly. My patience draws thin as he goes on to talk about the other packages available that are cheaper and include this particular channel, if I was paying attention he may have stood a one in a million chance. They have a refined and persuasive script designed solely with one aim in mind; keep the customer paying. Shame itâ€™s not provide the customer with service.
After a few minutes pass by where he threw various package names at me and I batted them back by repeating the manta â€˜No, I just want to cancel.â€™ He changes tack and talks about the movie channels so I butt in and point out there is no need to follow his script, I just want to cancel. He changes tack again and inadvertently gets my full attention.
â€˜What do other people in the house watch?â€™
â€˜That doesnâ€™t matter,â€™ he ties to butt in so I just talk over him, â€˜I didnâ€™t ring up to argue with you, just to cancel.â€™
â€˜Iâ€™m not arguing Mr. X, just trying to help; as you have been with us for some time.â€™
â€˜Well, not any more.â€™
â€˜You want to cancel because itâ€™s too expensive? But everything goes up in price,â€™ I wonder where he was going to go with that, but I was annoyed and cut back in.
â€˜Listen, Iâ€™m really not interested in arguing with you.â€™ He tries to talk again, â€˜Lets move this to the next stage.â€™ He pauses and, Iâ€™m guessing, senses his bonus flitting away. He sends me back to muzak hell without saying another word, four minutes later Eddie is back and Sky is cancelled.
Consider this a warning of what to expect when you try skate through the 10th circle of hell and beyond.