In times like these, one is confronted with the realization that there are more stupid things under the sun than are dreamt of in Horatio’s philosophy — and that which of them is actually the stupidest may never be known to man. But corporate “customer retention” practices must be damned good contenders.
If you’ve ever become dissatisfied with a service provider such as a phone company or cable TV company, and wanted to end your relationship with it, you’ve probably encountered customer retention. You find yourself talking to someone whose job is to make promises he can’t keep and won’t try to, like an abusive husband who suddenly realizes his poor, battered wife is the most important thing in his life and
he’ll she’ll just diiiiiiiiie if she leaves him.
We see enough pop culture references to the battered-wife phenomenon to believe it must work for the abusive husbands. The sad thing is, these tactics must work for corporations too because no matter how much they piss off people who complain about them, they still do it.
Nor is it limited, it seems, to industries like those. I’ve just encountered it with regard to medical services, and while I’d had no particular complaints about the service I'd received (Mrs. McG had one, but only one), the change was in order to reap the full advantages of a change of doctors we had decided needed to happen. The medical practice we were quitting barely shrugged as we left, but someone from the service provider favored us with a customer retention call yesterday that makes me fear for that man’s wife, if he has one.
And now a company whose front-line personnel have always treated me pleasantly, carries the stink of the ninth circle of Hell. If circumstances ever lead me to consider returning to that provider, I will first have to find out if that man is still employed there. If he is, no dice.