Canceling Credit Cards: Why Not Online?

I recently canceled a couple credit cards and has to go through a tedious phone process to do so. You know the drill. Call the main 800 number, fumble through a horrible phone system, and then find the cancel option as the last possible selection in the option tree. In both cases, this transferred me to someone asking if I was sure I wanted to cancel only to then transfer me to an “account specialist” who would help me further.

So here I am, in the right place. But now, of course, the account specialist needs to talk to me like a concerned mother who can’t believe her child wants new parents. Next comes the onslaught of deals, none of which I’m interested in. Well, there is one deal I could go for, but it happens so rarely: If you can give me 0% interest for 12 months or more with no transfer fee, then I might stick around.

Nowadays, though, everyone (understandably) wants their 3% transfer fee, which eliminates most of the benefit I’d get from shuffling funds to take advantage of a risk-free 5% savings account. If you have good credit, it’s an easy way to make a few hundred bucks while sleeping. But I digress.

The point is more that I’m at a point in my life where I’d rather just have accounts closed that I don’t need or use. But the conversation on the phone is so awkward with these account specialists. How am I supposed to answer the [what feels like] never-ending stream of questions like, “Is there anything we could have done better?”

I even had one guy ask me “which credit card do you use consistently and why?” What the? I didn’t sign up for a focus group, I just wanna cancel my damn credit card! And now, somehow, I’m the bad guy if I want to cut the crap and push for what I want. So why can’t I do this online? Anything else I might have done by mail or phone in a different century (for my credit card) I now do online. But not this.

I know the obvious answer to my question above. Having account specialists force awkward conversations in the hopes of retaining customers is probably a small price to pay for keeping customers. I wonder, though, what the value is (to a company) of customers leaving with respect for the company rather than leaving annoyed.