Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

How to make sure I never take your calls

HP logo Dear Aaron from HP (603-994-2023),

The secretary in my office screens all our calls. When you call, she tells me who you are and asks if I want to talk to you. If I’m not expecting a call from you (and since we use Xerox and not HP, I wasn’t expecting a call from you), I ask her to put you in my voicemail.

If you then leave a 2-second “click” hang-up call, it just makes me realize that yep, I didn’t need to talk to you, and it makes me even less likely to take future calls from you.

Sincerely,
David

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I’ve been getting a lot of calls from 866-301-7344, a couple times a day, every day for a while now. Without knowing whose number that is, you’d probably assume that I’m late paying some bills and that some collection agency is trying to reach me. If, however, you instead googled 866-301-7344, you’d see that no, 866-301-7344 belongs not to a collection agency but rather to Sirius/XM.

Why is Sirius/XM calling me repeatedly? Do I owe them money? No, in fact, I do not owe them money. In August last year I bought a new Volkswagen Eos (love it!) which was equipped with a satellite radio that came with 6 free months of Sirius/XM service. Those 6 months were up last month, and despite (actually, in part because of) repeated calls in February from Sirius/XM warning me that my free subscription was about to expire, I opted to live without satellite radio.

I did enjoy having satellite radio, in particular 80s on 8, but I came to the decision that paying $12.95/month ($155.40/year, plus taxes) for radio that I could hear only in my car wasn’t worth it, especially when I have a 6-slot CD in the car.

Sirius/XM, every additional time you call makes it less likely that I ever want to do business with you.

Now it’s certainly fine for Sirius/XM to snail mail me some marketing materials to try to convince me to reconsider, and it’s also not terrible to try calling me once or twice. That’s once or twice, ever, however, not once or twice a day until I finally submit. Let me tell you, Sirius/XM marketing geniuses, every additional time you call me makes it less likely that I ever want to do business with you.

And I’m not the only former Sirius/XM customer to feel this way. Sirius/XM started calling Rob Sama twice a day every day in February 2009, bothering him enough that he posted about their stupid marketing approach. He’d told Sirius that he no longer owned the car with the Sirius radio and yet they continued to call him. He tried ignoring their calls, letting them go to voicemail, but then he finally answered one of their calls and threatened to file a complaint with the FCC.

One commenter on Sama’s blog points out that if you don’t answer a telemarketing call like this, you get “put high in the queue to try again” by the telemarketing company’s software.

I refuse to be forced to answer Sirius/XM’s damned phone calls just to threaten them with an FCC complaint in order to get them to stop calling me. Instead I’ve gone right ahead and filed an FCC complaint, I’ve set my Droid to send calls from 866-301-7344 directly to voicemail, and I’ve set my YouMail not to accept messages from Sirius/XM.

And this, Sirius/XM, is a lesson in how to take a customer who liked your service but declined to renew and turn him into someone who really hates your company, won’t ever renew, and will try to make people aware of your company’s stupidity.

Update 4/19/2013: It’s been over three years since I wrote this post, and this has been one of the most popular on my blog. I’ve gotten 1,209 hits from people who have searched on Google for 866-301-7344, 565 of those from the last 12 months. If you search for 866-301-7344, in addition to this post, you’ll find plenty of other posts from other people who have been stalked telephonically by Sirius/XM. How can Sirius/XM think this is a good business practice? Who actually succumbs to Sirius/XM’s relentless telemarketing and says, “Okay, okay, I give up! I’ll pay for your stupid service?”

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Hello, Volkswagen of America caller from 541-617-9144! I love my new 2009 VW Eos! However, I very rarely answer phone calls from numbers I do not recognize, even (especially) if you call me several times a day every day without leaving a message.

Calling new customers to see if we’re satisfied with our new cars is a great idea, but here’s a tip — if we don’t answer our phones, leave a message along the lines of “Hi, this is Volkswagen of America calling to ask you some questions about your recent car purchase. We’d appreciate it if you could call us back at 541-617-9144. Thanks, and we hope you’re enjoying your new VW!” That way you add to your brand loyalty instead of detracting from it once your new customers figure out who’s been repeatedly calling them without leaving messages.

I’d have thought that this would be common sense, but common sense is apparently in short supply.

 
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