Filed Under (Musings) by Mike Wilton on 02-17-2009
Tagged Under : verizon wireless
For at least the last seven years or more I have been a loyal customer of Verizon Wireless. They have a reliable network, their prices have in my opinion always been fair, and every time I need a new phone or my contract comes up for renewal I gladly sign up for another two years. Clearly I’m a fan of Verizon’s service, so much so that I got my parents to switch from AT&T to Verizon some years ago, and regularly recommend their service to people looking for a new cell provider. Sadly my seven plus year love affair with Verizon Wireless is in jeopardy because of the poor customer service I received at their Corona Crossings store in Corona, CA.
Learn From Verizon’s Mistakes
For the last few months I have been seriously considering upgrading my cell phone, but I couldn’t decide whether or not I really wanted a Blackberry or even if I was going to stay with Verizon as my service provider. After spending some time comparing networks and phones I decided Verizon still gave me the best bang for my buck. Finally this past Saturday, Valentines Day, my wife and I decided we would go and upgrade our phones.
In the past this has been a fairly simple process; we take advantage of whatever promotion is going on at the time, sign another two year agreement and leave the store happy owners of new phones. Unfortunately that isn’t what happened this time.
We were greeted when we entered the store and we explained to the woman assisting us that we wanted to upgrade our phones. She took us over to look at our account and then told us that we couldn’t upgrade until April 26. I explained I understood that we couldn’t do the credited upgrade until then, but that we wanted to take advantage of their buy one get one Blackberry promotion and just sign into a new two year agreement.
The employee explained that the only way we could do this was to setup a third line, which we obviously didn’t need. So instead we just asked if we could pay the $99.99 for two Blackberry Curves. She then said that the $99.99 only applied to the buy one get one promotion, but we could get one at $99.99 because my wife’s phone was eligible for an upgrade, but we would have to buy mine at the full price of four-hundred some odd dollars.
I explained to the woman that we had never had any issues with upgrades and promotions in the past as long as I signed into a new two year agreement. I then told her I would be more than happy to sign up for two more years AND upgrade my data plan to accommodate the new phone usage to which she said she could not do. I asked her again if there is anything she could do to assist me with the upgrade without having to wait until April. She regretfully stated that there was nothing she could do for me. Frustrated I left the store empty handed.
After spending about ten minutes cooling off from my frustration, after all I have had the same phone for nearly two years now and it isn’t capable of doing half of what I want it to, my wife finally convinces me to go back in to speak with a manager. We return to the store and are greeted by the same employee. I explain to her my frustrations and how I have never had an issue with upgrading my phone during a promotion in the past and I would greatly appreciate any assistance she could give me. She stated there was nothing more she could do for me, but if we wanted she could see if her manager could assist us.
She called her manager over, I explained our situation and again we were lead over so the manager could look at the account. I again told her I would be more than happy to sign another two year agreement AND upgrade my data plan to accommodate the new phone, but did not want to have to pay a non-promotional price for a phone just because I’m not eligible for an upgrade until April. In the end we heard all of the same spiel about upgrading and I was told that since our upgrade in 07 policies have changed and they can’t do upgrades the way they used to. Even with her help I could not take advantage of any promotional rates or offers on their Blackberries; however after April 26 I can go back and get a $100 credit towards any new phone. Again I left the store empty handed, frustrated, and feeling less than loyal to a cell company I have stood by for so long.
The Take Away
In this economy the hardest thing about this whole situation was that I was throwing a ton of money at Verizon Wireless and yet they refused to help me. I came in with the mindset of purchasing two new phones, though at a discounted rate I am sure there is a significant profit made by Verizon. In addition I was offering to sign into another two year contract with them, meaning I would be paying for their services monthly through 2011. Finally I offered to upgrade my data plan, meaning that I would be paying them even more on a month to month basis for their service. All I asked for in return was the courtesy of taking advantage of one of their current promotions. But years of loyalty to their brand and even these offers weren’t enough to make them budge.
In these tough times companies need to consider their existing customer base, especially the long term loyal customer. Long term customers have been their all these years and they will most likely be there for years to come. These are the customers who are going to be around and support your business in a tough economy. These are the ones who have fueled your business from day one. Unfortunately in this case because I was a long time customer I was the one who suffered, and I was unable to take advantage of an offer that only new customers benefit from.
Both the woman working the floor and the manager could have easily rectified this that evening by simply offering me some sort of compensation. A counter offer, another option, anything, but in the end they did nothing. If they were truly listening they would have noticed my frustrations and my outcry and this blog post may have never come about.
In the end I have a few options all of which are even more frustrating…I can pay $170, break my contract with Verizon Wireless and go to T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, or any other cell provider out there and get a phone that does what I need it to now. I can stick with Verizon AND get a new phone, but suffer paying a non-promotional cost on a phone or even better buy it off eBay or another online source and replace my phone now. I can wait until April 26th or later to upgrade and simply deal with my mediocre phone which doesn’t allow me to complete productivity tasks that I would like it to. Finally I can save the money, skip the upgrade, and in August leave Verizon Wireless for another company without breaking contract. If this was your company what would you think of my options? What would you do to rectify the situation?