Monthly Archive for January, 2007

RCN's Customer Retention Strategy: Hold Them Hostage

In late December I decided to switch my phone, Internet and cable TV service from RCN to Comcast. Almost three weeks later Comcast is still waiting for RCN to allow them to make the switch. Comcast reported that RCN is the only provider with which they have this problem and that sometimes it takes as long as a month and a half. And I'm sure I'll continue to get billed for RCN's service (or lack of service) in the meantime.

How RCN lost a customer

I have been a customer of RCN since they came to Watertown and I have finally reached my limit and am switching to my only other option, Comcast.

It started when we could no longer use On Demand without our cable box freezing up, requiring a call to customer service, waiting an interminable amount of time on hold, explaining the situation to a technician, waiting while they tried various fixes and then gave up and refreshed the whole box, and then waiting while the box reloaded – sometimes overnight. You can imagine having this happen when you just need to let your three-year-old watch a program to give you a chance to get dinner prepared. That alone is the main reason we have cable TV since we hardly turn it on otherwise. After this happened a couple times, we had a technician come to our home. He couldn't find anything wrong and did not replace the box. Of course it continued happening after he left.

Most of the time when it happened, we didn't have time to call technical support – we just found something else to do. When I asked RCN to credit me for all the time I was unable to use the cable TV, they claimed they could only credit me for the specific days when I had called to report it not working. Now that's not only poor customer service but a poor business decision. With two phone lines, long distance, high speed Internet and cable TV with 2 cable boxes, digital channels and high definition, not to mention on-demand purchases, we were spending close to $230/month. Only $70 of that was for cable TV. So RCN saved $60 by not crediting me for the full month and lost $230/month or more forever.




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