Irony: Good Service to Bad Service to Good Service

Or why Speakeasy now sucks.

Let’s set this up (and tune out if you’re not in for a customer service rant).

Cable companies have historically done an exceptionally poor job about treating customers well. Chalk it up to a condoned monopoly, stagnant business model, etc. We’d all heard the horror stories about the cable appointments missed, must be there between 8am to 5pm three weeks from today, etc.

Speakeasy, a rather hip DSL provider (VOIP, data solutions, and DSL service) has always had grand service. Call them and they are helpful and smart. The other people on the end of the line aren’t people reading scripts taking orders, these are people that know what they’re doing. I first became a speakeasy customer in 2000 and have recommended them to several people.

Speakeasy, or more specifically COVAD (their subcontractor for doing installations), muffed up my DSL installation order when I recently moved. Suffice to say that the COVAD dispatcher who berated me for not being available for an appointment that I never knew about was what unfortunately the deciding factor to leave a company that I had, otherwise, had a good experience with. So, having spent approximately 5000 USD over my lifetime as a customer (I get their top shelf DSL with all the bells and whistles) I had to say no more I’ll make other arrangements. Called and cancelled the move.

I was surprised then to find the 49.00 “order charge” on my last invoice for the cancelled order. Clearly they’re not going to charge me for having an awful customer experience which already caused me to cancel my service with them. Yup! Called to ask to have it removed. Nope. Pointed out that I’ve been one of their top shelf DSL clients. No dice. So, here a company which used to be savvy, hip, and customer focused is now trading 50USD administrative fees for happy big spending customer satisfaction (5000 USD).

Speakeasy; you had much potential to be different. But, like other phone/utility providers you’ve crossed over and you pretty much blow. Sold your soul to the nickel and diming “concession this and administration that” fees.

The irony is that when I called the Cable company who has historically done exceptionally poor in terms of responsiveness and customer support they responded exactly the way I would have expected the new, hip company to. Called two days before my installation, asked if they could do Internet in addition to Cable. No problem. 10am (when they said they’d be here) they showed up, polite, courteous, helpful, and 30 minutes later Cable + Internet up and running.

There you have it. Old companies can renew their service focus and end up wowing a customer. New companies can let their service slide and lose customers over silly stuff. Goes to show that a focus on the customer is the thing that matters more than the size and age of the providers. It’s timeless for new and old.

One thought on “Irony: Good Service to Bad Service to Good Service

  1. Matt Casters

    Seems like you and Thomas have somewhat the same experience.

    I must say that the last 2 times I moved I had the same problems as well. These companies should do a customer retention analyses some day. I bet it would show that it’s at an all time low. I bet that loyalty is completely down the drain these days.

    Oh well, there is no point in letting it affect your blood pressure in a negative way. These days there’s usually a second option and in a few weeks you’ll probably forget about it. 🙂

    Congratulations on the move.



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