Here's a new approach to winning over customers that was tried out on me today by the illustrious Telecom Italia Call Center --
Granted, as soon as I hear from a Telecom phone salesperson, I tend to stop them right away -- as I would not sign up for their (dis)services if it were the only company operating on earth. In fact, even if they were offering unlimited bandwith and free calls worldwide, I'd probably opt for two cans tied together with a string.
Usually, I say so much and enjoy a nice chuckle with the poor soul at the other end, wishing them good luck, but, recommending (highly) they try to change carriers. The responses I get are nothing short of remarkable (coming straight from the annals of, 'It's just a job, Ma'am). None of those American Express Co. 'Customer and Company are always right' memos for these worker bees!
But today took the cake.
Interrupting my day, the woman said she was calling from Telecom. I simply told her straight away, "You're wasting your time." Usually they say, are you sure you don't want to hear about our offer, etc. etc.
This time, she answered adopting the 'Best defense is a good offense' strategy.
"No, you're wasting your time, you piece of shit foreigner." (for you English, that'd be, 'bloody foreigner', I believe.
I wonder when more companies will begin utilizing this new sales tactic. Considering the new Italian middle class is most likely filled with foreigners from every corner of the earth, it might just work wonders. For some inexplicable reason, though, I can't seem to find it in my copy of Dale Carnegie's, 'How to Win Friends and Influence People."
Part 2/Telecom Italia Calls
Just 4 1/2 hrs. later, I received a call - incredibly - from the Customer Service office of Telecom Italia (I know, I know..they have a customer service office??)This, after my very specific missive entitled, "Zenophobic insults from Telecom employees". After a long discussion with a very charming man who expressed his sincere apologies, I was left with:
- the call didn't originate with them, so they can't do anything
- if they find which of their subcontractors has my number, they will issue a fine. Too many complaints, they cancel the contract.
- he's sorry, because being a foreigner shouldn't even come into it
He also said that the 50000+ employees of Telecom is a 'specchio dell'Italia' ('a mirror image', and here, we're in dangerous waters), but he's doing everything he can to assure that these events don't occur. Problem is, his range of action is only w/Telecom employees.
I asked if my tel. number (and it's this that I desire most) can simply be canceled from their lists. I offered to be a 'secret shopper', but, he said, I'd have to join Telecom to do so (!) and so I left him with this little anecdote I once read in a marketing manual:
"Pepsi never gained customers insulting Coke drinkers"
Part 3/Telecom on the Line
Less than 5 minutes later, I receive another call from another Call Center looking to offer me Telecom Italia services. She refused to give her name, nor mention the company she works for, but, I did manage to convince her that it's in their best interests to lose my number - and fast. She said she will take me off her list, but that doesn't preclude someone else from contacting me.
The battle was hard won, but not the war...
photo by www.communities.canada.com