I recently switched our mobile plan from AT&T to T-Mobile, for reasons that are related to the e-book I’m working on. At AT&T I had it running as a business account through my company and had the two cell-phones and one iPad Mini on the contract. These three items were costing a bit more than I could, or wanted to, manage in January, which is when I heard T-Mobile offering to pay ETFs if we would switch from one of their competitors to them.
Went online, did research on T-Mobile coverage in our area, looked at the devices they offer, compared cost of plans, and asked friends and family who used T-Mobile if they would recommend it. Long story super short, we ported over our two cell numbers to T-Mobile. This left AT&T with the iPad Mini.
Now. AT&T wanted to keep me as a customer. So they offered to give me a $120 credit to my account, and lower the iPad Mini’s data-plan to $20/mo (would end up paying $240 for the rest of the contract). Or I could just terminate the contract for $120. I’m one for simplicity, and having two carriers doesn’t seem to simple to me. I’ll take the ETF.
The heart of this story happens when I’m talking with the rep who is going to be processing my cancellation request.
“Any reason in particular you are closing the account?” he asked.
I always think long and hard about answering this honestly. I know his job is to keep me as a customer, no matter what he has to offer, so I’m sure if I tell him the real reason he’ll try to use it as leverage…but, maybe he won’t.
“Honestly, my business took a sharp nose dive at the end of last year. I’m cutting expenses and reducing expenses wherever possible. Got a FT job to get my head above water.”
“Oh man,” he said, “I’m really sorry to hear that. I know these are tough times for a lot of people, including myself, but that still doesn’t make it easy to hear stuff like that.”
I almost dropped the phone at how real his response was. Here we are, just two human beings, handling a transaction over the phone, and we are acting like normal human beings. I could have given a very curt answer about why we are closing the account. He could have blown over my honest response entirely. Instead, I took a chance and was honest with the situation, and in reply he was honest with how much it sucks and that he was genuinely sorry to hear about my business.
Turns out he was going through a similar situation. He didn’t own a business, but he was let go from a job last year and had to find anything he could to keep things rolling. AT&T hired him on their customer support team, and there he is. Answering calls from 9-5, dealing with nice people and super mean people.
Before we ended the call he said, “Aaron, keep doing what you are doing. I hope things turn around for you this year.”
Seriously. Wild. Never in a million years do I expect that type of conversation when I’m canceling an account with a company.
Moral of the story is this: Treat other humans like humans. You don’t know what the people around you are going through in their life at the moment, so pay attention and treat them kindly. Do this today.