Monday, July 03, 2006

On Cancelling your AOL subscription

We interrupt our political commentary to bring you a few words about cancelling AOL. I in fact use to work for America Online in the saves department. I worked there for 3 years from October of 2002 until my call center was closed and i was laid off in October of 2005. In the saves department your job basically is to keep AOL customers from cancelling at any and all costs. That means you are required to do your level best to keep every single person who calls in to cancel no matter what even if that person no longer has a computer, doesn't use AOL at all or even if they upgrade to high speed. No matter what your job is to save them. Up until Elliot Spitzer's lawsuit against AOL the rule was if you did not save at least 49% of your callers you did not get paid a bonus. That could mean literally thousands of dollars. Not only that you're subject to repeated " coaching sessions" meaning that your supervisor listens to your calls with you to try to get you to be more assertive in your sales pitch. If you continue to perform under the quota you could even lost your job ! As a result of the lawsuit AOL agreed to make certain changes in the pay structure including removing the 49% gate and paying consultants more per hour to make up the bonus loss. But the employees at the Orlando site and the Jacksonville site were laid off before these changes took place because they didn't want to pay us. The point of this post is that its not the employees fault, they're simply doing what they are trained to do and held accountable financially for not doing. AOL could very easily add a button online where customers could cancel their accounts without going through the saves process but they choose not to because they know many people would skip the sales pitches altogether. But from an insider here are some tips to take with you if you want to cancel your account. Don't give the consultant any information say as little as possible they will ask questions about what you use the service for and how often you use it this is designed to give the consultant information they can use in their sales pitch . Simply say i want to cancel my account and stick to it. Don't back down ; many consultants use intimidation tactics they figure if they keep repeating their pitch eventually you will get tired of hearing it and agree to keep the service. Don't accept free months ; as a last result consultants are trained to offer 1 to 2 months of free service to keep you as a customer don't accept them they will simply prolong the process for another month or two. Finally if you do manage to cancel it make sure you follow up and make sure its cancelled. You should recieve a letter in the mail a week or so after you cancell confirming that its cancelled. If you don't recieve one call AOL again , consultants will often flat out not cancel the account because they don't want to mess up their percentages. Good luck

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