Desperately keeping customers

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It always amuses me when online services try everything they can think of to keep your business, especially when their responses are rote and pasted in (or read) from a script. It’s so inhuman and odd.

I just canceled our e-Fax account. The poor online agent had to run through his entire repertoire of canned objection-answering. It feels so creepily fake to be on the receiving end of this stuff. If only corporations could just empower their reps to connect with customers like human beings. (As the best companies do.)

Here’s the transcript.

Fred: Hi, my name is Fred. How may I help you?

Josh: Hi, Fred. I’d like to cancel my account please.

Fred: I am glad to help you. Could you please provide me your fax number and 4-digit PIN/last 4 digits of the Credit card on file for verification?

Josh: 310-441-9949 is the fax number. Charges to card 4007.

Fred: Thank you for providing your information. Please give me a moment while I pull up your account.
In the meantime, please type the number corresponding to your reason for cancellation:
1) Moving to another provider
2) Bought a fax machine
3) Business or role changed
4) Short term project completed
5) Financial reasons
6) Problems with faxing or billing
7) Dissatisfied with quality of service
8) Too costly

Josh: 8

Fred: Josh, as we’d like to keep your business, I can offer to waive the monthly fee for the next 1 month. During this time, you will not be charged any monthly fee.
Fred: Secondly, after the free period, the monthly fee will be reduced to $12.95 per month. This plan also includes 150 free inbound and 150 free outbound pages every month.
Fred: There is no contract and you may cancel anytime. Shall I switch you to this 1 month free $12.95 monthly plan?

Josh: As usual with numbered questionnaires there’s no really accurate answer. We just don’t use faxes anymore. I’m paying monthly to receive junk faxes from travel agents and bogus business loan companies.

Fred: If you believe that you are in receipt of a junk fax, we ask that you please submit the offending fax to us by visiting https://www2.efax.com/privacy?tab=reportSpam We will investigate your complaint, and attempt to prevent any further transmission of junk faxes from the same source.

Josh: Thank you, but please cancel my account.

Fred: I completely understand your wish to discontinue. May I offer you a waiver of 2 months on the subscription fees so that you can re-evaluate your needs?
Fred: This way, you will be able to send and receive faxes for 60 more days. There is no contract and you may cancel anytime.

Josh: No.

Fred: As per the records you have ported this number into eFax. I would like to inform you that once the account is cancelled you will not be able to use this number. If you want this number back, you will have to ask your service provider to submit a port request to eFax and once the number is ported out successfully you need to get back to cancel this account.

Josh: Okay.

Fred: Would you like to keep the account active?

Josh: I know you have to go through this silliness, but no. Please just cancel it. End it. Stop it. Kill it. Like the parrot in the Monty Python sketch.

Fred: OK, I will go ahead and cancel your account. Is there anything else, I may assist you with?

Josh: No, thanks, but please do send me a confirmation by email.

Fred: An email has already been sent.

Josh: Thanks for your help.

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Corporatese

Cover of Jon Stewart's "Earth (the Book)"I was listening to the (brilliant) Samantha Bee narrate the (brilliant) Jon Stewart’s (brilliant) audiobook Earth: A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race the other day and found myself bursting into laughter at this (brilliant) segment on corporatespeak. Opening my copy of the actual (brilliant) print version, I saw that most of this is in such teeny text  you might have been unable to read it. As a public service to writers everywhere, I’ve made it legible:

For years, corporatese — the specialized dialect spoken by highly-paid executives to obscure their jobs’ relative simplicity — was incomprehensible to linguists and laymen alike. That changed with the 2003 discovery of the Rosetta Memo behind a filing cabinet in an Atlanta office park:

..that some team members are experiencing a non-satisfactory level of disconnect vis-à-vis our inter-personnel messaging. To ensure we are all on the same page with our ducks in a row, we’re opening the kimono to initiate a global refresh on F2F and ecommunications standards. Therefore, FYI/FFR: Interface, dialogue, touch base, face-to-face, connect and advise indicate interpersonal communication. Execute, implement, leverage, facilitate, synergize, deliver and exploit pertain to the performance of work. Robust, value-rich, seamless, best-of-breed and user-centric denote meritorious quality. Further: To enheighten our task-simplicity quotient (the revealing of which could result in significant new awareness of human-capital redundancy and attendant downsizing) all comms should, going forward , be both redundant and repetitive, with the occasional wordvention utilized in place of vocables of greater brevity, clarity, and brevarity. Augment with occasional impenetrable acronyms (OIA). These syntactical enhancements add perceived value to each employee’s personal brand. Exemplifications are underposted:

1) “I want to circle back and interface about how to right-size our headcount while still keeping workers incentivized.”

2) “Due to unforeseen life events, I’ll be off-line tomorrow so can we push our interlock until post-all-hands?”

3) “At the end of the day, net-net, if we have a joint brown-bag to come to agreeance on how to grow mind share among targeted thought leaders by implementing best practices across the board, we can marketeer our way toward synergizing a frictionless sales environment.”

TRANSLATION:

Hey dumbshits: 90% of the stuff we say basically means either “talk,” “make” or “good.” But nobody pays fat salaries for “talking about making good things.” So to keep our scam going, only use ungainly words, and always three times as many of them as a normal person. Examples:

1) “Let’s discuss how we can fire people without making the ones we keep cry.”

2) “My uncle died; can we meet later?”

3) “Lunch?”

Guitars make great weapons

I had another post all set for today, when Jim Knipper at Media Associates sent me this video.

This puppy is too good to pass up. It combines some of my favorite things — rage, humor, guitars and viral video — to fight back against the corporate impassivity of United Airlines.

Dave Carroll and The Sons of Maxwell produced a great send-up. I’ll bet UA wishes they’d honored his claim.