Secrets of The Rich & Famous

He's not just any wealthy businessman. He's a maestro in the art of "customer support." His billion-dollar secret? Keep desperate customers on hold, even if hours on wait drives them nuts.

written by

 jaron summers (c) 2024

Meeting Dwight S. Timberly, the CEO of the world’s largest telecommunications company, was like stumbling upon a diamond in a coal mine. 

Picture this: the majestic Canadian Rockies, a symphony of nature’s finest work.

But there’s me, comfortably blending into the backdrop of the Elk Hotel and Inn, a charmingly shabby collection of cabins that screamed ‘budget-friendly’ to travelers like me. 

Then in rolls Mr. Timberly, in his shiny new Rolls Royce.

You see, fate’s funny sometimes. Banff was brimming with tourists, leaving us with no choice but to be neighbors in these rustic, log-built quarters. I, in my trusty 30-year-old Honda Accord, and he, in his gleaming symbol of luxury, ended up bunking next to each other.

And when the sun rudely woke me at 2 AM–yes, it’s a thing in the Canadian summer–little did I know that this would be the start of an unusual friendship.

Now, here’s the kicker about Mr. Timberly. He’s not just any wealthy businessman. He’s a maestro in the art of ‘customer support’. His billion-dollar secret? Keep ’em on hold. 

Picture this: millions of customers, trapped in an endless loop of cheesy hold music and relentless sales pitches. Every five minutes, a voice dripping with faux sympathy apologizes for the delay, only to dangle another product in front of these captive listeners.

It’s like a never-ending infomercial, and you can’t hang up because, well, you need help.

The sheer genius of it! It’s a labyrinth with no exit, a merry-go-round of upselling. And there I was, chuckling at the absurdity of it all, sharing a wall with the puppet master himself.

Who would have thought? In the heart of the Canadian Rockies, I discovered the secret behind one of the telecommunications giants–a strategy so devilishly simple, it was brilliant.

And that, my friends, is how I met Dwight S. Timberly, the man who turned waiting for hours, with a phone pressed against your sore ear, into a gold mine.

I recall our last conversation.  

I asked Dwight, we were on a first name basis, how elderly people, many of whom are baffled by the simplest technology,  could possibly listen for an hour or two of customer support to find out how to turn on their latest smart phone.  A phone that could save their lives with a call to 911. 

Dwight smiled. “The truth is old folks are simply a version of planned obsolescence. And it’s not our problem.”

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Jaron Summers wrote dozens of primetime television and radio programs, including those for HBO, CBS, ACCESS TV and CBC. He conceived the TV and Film Institute of Canada. Funded by the University of Alberta and ITV, Jaron ran the Institute for 12 years, donating his services for a decade.

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