RCN and iMessage Business Chat

There was no way this was going to work.

A few years back I cancelled my RCN Cable TV service in favor of Youtube TV. I realized that since all I really was keeping cable around for at this point was to watch Baseball, I could save a ton of money by switching to Youtube TV while also upgrading my RCN Internet service to “Gigabit” (not actually Gigabit. Also has complete garbage 25Mbps upstream which is indefensible). At the time I was paying about $165/mo to RCN for 330Mbps Internet and Cable TV. Youtube TV was $40/mo, and also allowed me to ‘pause’ service for months at a time (aka the Baseball off-season) with a click. RCN “Gigabit” service was around $100/mo. So not only would my in-season monthly rate be lower (~$140/mo), but i’d save even more in the off-season.

But, every few months, Youtube TV would raise their prices, with the most recent hike bringing the cost up to $65/mo. The final straw, however, was that they dropped NESN in this off-season. Now my hand was forced. After the season ended I cancelled Youtube TV with the plan of reaching back out to RCN.

Since baseball was quiet and I was not in a rush, every once in awhile I’d call the RCN support number to get a quote, but the wait times were over 30m each time I tried, so I’d hang up. Yesterday, however, I wondered to myself if they had some kind of chat support. They did, I clicked it, and it turns out their chat support was Apple Messages Business Chat. This was both surprising, as I’ve never seen this work with anyone outside of Apple, and exciting because the usual chat support experience was terrible. But this would more or less work like any other text messaging.

That said, there was no way this was going to work.

But I tried anyway. I got a text telling me the wait was going to be about 15m, and confirming I wanted to wait. I clicked yes and went about my way. About 15m later I was told I was 5th in the queue and it would be a bit longer; I confirmed I wanted to wait and went back to dawdling.

After a total of about 20m I received my first actual message from the support rep. They first confirmed some account information, then asked me what I needed. I had already prepared my first message, where I tried to play Fast Food Chicken and try to answer every possible question in one blast:

I am interested in knowing how much it will cost per month to add Signature TV to my service, without modifying my current service. I do not want any cable boxes and instead just need a cablecard.

There was no way this was going to work.

But, to my surprise, the rep was mostly able to work off of that. They asked if I needed more than one CableCard, I replied that I needed a single, multi-stream CableCard, and they asked me to wait while they went away to figure everything out.

After a few minutes they came back with some numbers. My total bill would be roughly $130/mo for the first 6 months, and then go up to roughly $160/mo afterwards. This was acceptable, so I told them I’d like to sign up, but wanted to make sure they could simply mail me the CableCard as opposed to rolling a truck or requiring a pickup visit to the office, as I am trying to minimize contact with the outside world in the quarantimes.

They went away to check, and came back a minute or two later confirming that they could mail it on Monday. So I told them I wanted to move forward, we spent a few more minutes confirming shipping details and such. They did their usual pitch for their Service Agreement, but I was able to easily decline it (and the pitch is way less annoying over chat than it is over the telephone). But after that, I was done.

It worked.

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