Well, if you thought Phil Mickelson had a bad day on Sunday when he blew the lead in the US Open, how would you like to be in charge of public relations at AOL? At least Phil walked away with a share of the second place check. If you’re one of the six people who haven’t heard about this attempt to cancel AOL’s service, visit Church of the Customer to see the video from the Today Show, the USA’s top ranked morning show. It also made MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olberman the night before.Based on other horror stories, it appears that AOL has made a conscious decision to not only put its own profits ahead of customer satisfaction, but in order to make those profits, it deliberately put obstacles in front of customers who wanted to cancel their accounts.
When you deliberately set out to make it more difficult for customers to stop your services, you are engaging in unethical behavior. While AOL’s sins were not as egregious as Enron’s, they are still unethical.
Not only is it unethical, it’s stupid. Your customers have access to the Internet. If you engage in this type of behavior the same thing that happened to AOL could happen to you. Except you’re not as big as AOL. You may not be able to survive it, even if AOL will.
“But Glenn,” you say, “This was just one CSR.”(See AOL’s apology to Vincent here. Be sure and read the comments that follow.) I don’t believe it. I’ve seen too many reports from people who’ve reported similar experiences with AOL. This behavior is systemic.
They fired him, by the way. They should also fire a boatload of senior managers who made the decisions to adopt the policies and practices that allowed this behavior to flourish.