Back when the XBox first came out, we bought one for Christmas, and I signed up for an XBox Live account soon after.
It was for my kid, so I really wasn't paying much attention when I listed birthday, and all the other personal information. What a pain. After that, every time I tried to edit the account, it would insist that I go through and confirm about 20 details in my account, including the credit card number I used. Well, I don't know which credit card I used, and I can't find the bills for that month. Pardon me while I wait a year to see which credit card the renewal shows up on...
So when I tried to cancel the account, I anticipated an unpleasant experience. Once again, the online service wouldn't authorize me as the account holder unless I answered every detail precisely correct (I set the account up four years ago). If you get something wrong, it doesn't let you know which of the details is wrong. Augh!
So I call the toll-free number, talk to the computer for a while, answering various questions, and finally I get through to a person. A person who wants to assure me how easy it is to transfer the account to an XBox 360 (that's assuming I could get it to believe I'm the account holder). I'm informed the account already automatically renewed itself, so I'm the proud owner of another year of Xbox Live!
I explain I don't want to transfer the account, I want to cancel. I have to explain that a couple of times, but finally the guy on the other end agrees to cancel the account. And, surprise, he was able to get me a refund, that will be credited to my card. Which is great, because it means I don't have to write a whiney post about how ripped off I feel.
It's all good for Microsoft. Son Number One already received a subscription card for a year of Xbox Live on the Xbox 360, so it's not like they aren't making money from us.
What Does this Say about my Confidence in Customer Service?
So why do I feel it's noteworthy that a large company with millions of customers behaved decently, and refunded money for a subscription renewal I didn't want?
That says something about my low expectations. It would not have surprised me at all if they had tried to make me eat the renewal fee, since I'd carelessly failed to notify them by the appropriate date, blah, blah, blah.
I've had almost universally positive experiences with customer service lately, yet I still get a sinking feeling every time I have to deal with someone. They almost always make a half-hearted attempt to brush me off, in case I'm a pushover, or I really want to be convinced not to pursue the issue. Otherwise, I always get the refund, or the exchange, or whatever I'm asking for.
Maybe I need to anticipate a positive experience. Nah, then you can guarantee I'll end up in small claims court fighting for my money...