CX Nightmare: Sky Customer Tries To Cancel Service Unsuccessfully… For 96 Minutes

UK customer tries – and fails – to cancel his contract with Sky over online chat as the representative refuses to really listen to him.

It seems common sense that if a customer is unhappy with a service and doesn’t want to continue using it, that they have the opportunity to cancel the contract. After all, if you sign up once that doesn’t mean you’re locked in for the rest of your life – right?

Gavin Hackwood from South Wales found that the opposite was the case when he tried, and failed, to cancel his subscription with British telecommunications company Sky.

He spent over an hour and a half on the online chat service for Sky, telling a representative for the company that he wanted to cancel his service. Yet 96 minutes, and nearly 4000 words exchanged, later he still wasn’t able to get what he set out to do: cancel his contract.

Hackwood realised early on that the contact agent wasn’t going to let him cancel his service easily, so he started the conversation by saying: "The last time I spoke to Sky with the intent to cancel it took forever going over and over the same things. I'm not interested in listening to a sales pitch for 30 minutes."

Nonetheless, this is exactly what followed.

Hackwood’s understandably growing frustrations with the lack of customer service he was receiving highlights the flaws evident in many contact centres today. Rather than a customer-centric policy, agents have scripts they read from and targets to meet.

Instead of listening to the customer and providing an excellent service, they’re instructed to sell, sell, sell.

Over an hour into the conversation, Hackwood couldn’t be any clearer as he repeats his earlier message: "I am requesting for the last time you make the cancellation request. I do not have to go through this ridiculous process."

Yet the representative still tries to offer him a ‘better package’ , responding: "Although I can make that difference in cost less, if you are willing to lose certain parts of your package that you would be losing with Virgin anyway, and this would still allow you to get more out of your package for a lower cost that you pay at the moment."

"You are not listening to me are you?? I said CANCEL the services. End of. There is nothing further to discuss," Hackwood replies, clearly getting agitated with each passing minute.

Needless to say that was far from the end of the conversation and Hackwood eventually logged out of the online chat an hour and a half later, without being able to get his ultimately quite simple cancellation request processed.

Not only did this exchange result in an extremely unhappy customer for Sky, but Hackwood also saved all 96 minutes of the online chat for the world and media outlets to see (you can read the entire transcript thanks to The Telegraph) – shining a negative light on the company and its customer service representatives, which is the opposite of what you'd want to achieve with your customer experience strategy.