Michael Grass at The Washington Post Express blog asked me to comment on “the call.” I checked with the corpcom group at AOL and they told me it was fine to respond so I did.
[ For background, when I’m asked to comment about things outside of my little fiefdom at AOL (i.e. not Netscape, Weblogs, Inc. or Blogsmith) I always ask AOL if their cool with it as a courtesy. I can go ahead and speak if I want to, but I don’t. It’s a great policy for me to check in because, frankly, commenting on things outside my direct control at AOL (like the call centers) tends to get spun by the press (i.e. they can take my blunt comments and spin them as “AOL exec says AOL employees hate AOL search!). This kind of spinning by the media makes everyone’s life really hard as you can imagine. Anyway, thought folks would be interested since I know many executives are interested in what it’s like to be a blogging executive. ]
So, some updates on the story:
- I posted my email interview in whole here.
- You can read the WashPost story here.
- The Consumerist–which is my favorite blog by Gawker Media right now–has commented on my comments. I’ve posted two follow up comments. It’s a great discussion.. I hope other AOL executives join it (I can get you an invite if you need one–or post for you!).
“The call” was a dark day here at AOL. Imagine being one of the thousands of folks working nights and weekends to turn our company around and you wake up to “the call” as the top story on TV, the web, and in print. Horrible. Brutal. Infuriating. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…………….
How would I handle the issue if it was my department? Off the top of my head:
- I would institute a “one and done” rule when it comes to upselling people. When you go to McDonald’s or the Movies they ask you to Supersize once. If they ask you twice it’s moved from a courtesy (i.e. I might actually have wanted fries) to an imposition.
- I would do 10 dummy cancel calls a day and put the MP3s on a website the same day with feedback on what we did right and wrong until the public feels good about us again.