When AOL fired " John", a customer service rep caught on tape making it very hard for Vincent Ferrari to close his account, there were some of us who said, "John shouldn't have been fired, he was doing his job."
Turns out The Consumerist, now has evidence that the former AOL employee was indeed just following company policy. You can now read the complete AOL Retention Manual for Yourself.
"A plain manila envelope arrived on our desk this week. Inside was the eighty-one paged "Enhanced Sales Training for AOL Retention Consultants" manual. Upon opening, the flowchart, "Guide to a World-Class Retention Call," fell out.
One thing quickly becomes evident after reading the pages of tips and tactics. Callers are viewed not as customers, but prospects. Under the heading, "Think of Cancellation Calls as Sales Leads," the manual reads...
From the Manual....
"If you stop and think about it, every Member that calls in to cancel their account is a hot lead. Most other sales jobs require you to create your own leads, but in the Retention Queue the leads come to you! Be eager to take more calls, get more leads and close more sales. More leads means more selling opportunities for you and cost savings for AOL."
Meanwhile according to Reuters, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer is not amused.
"Last year, Spitzer investigated AOL's customer services policies and how it paid service representatives after about 300 New Yorkers complained about how difficult it was to cancel. AOL, a unit of Time Warner Inc. (TWX.N: Quote, Profile, Research), in August agreed to reform its procedures, provide fee refunds and pay New York $1.25 million in penalties and costs.
Yet AOL may not be out of the woods. On June 28, lawyers from Spitzer's office sent a letter to AOL demanding more information about its customer service and is seeking a meeting with its executives."