When I started my business over 20 years ago, shortly in to ownership, I changed my phone and wireless service over to AT&T. Since then, I have been a loyal customer.
Very recently, my daughter and I upgraded our phones. When I got my bill, there was an “upgrade fee” which in my humble estimation is like hotels that have “resort fees” it’s another way of increasing the bottom line at the expense of the customer. Funny how when they advertise upgrading, it sound like a deal- it’s not.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I ran a business for 20 years, I know there’s a bottom line you’ve got to cover, but I also know the difference between running a solid business and keeping customers happy versus simply milking customers.
I have lectured all over the world on customer service and here is what I know. When you pay a lot of money, hard earned money to a business month after month, you expect some appreciation. Funny, I’ve never received a letter of thanks or anything else for being a loyal, on-time paying customer. Yet, I have still remained with them. So i t seems to me, if I make a small complaint, they would make a small gesture of appreciation. However, when I called expressing my disappointment, all I received as a loyal customer was a big fat, “Sorry, you signed the contract, deal with it.”
When I owned my business I certainly had protocol for business transactions, but if I had a customer that was disgruntled, guess what? The good customer won every time.
As many of us know, people will likely share a bad experience with more people than a good experience, so here I am.
Between AT&T and Verizon, cellular data service was a $13.3 billion business in the second quarter of 2012. Combined, the two have almost 88 million U.S. smartphone subscribers! AT&T CEO, Randall Stephenson made 18.7 million dollars in 2011. Seems to me, simply refunding $72.00 would hardly break the bank.
Here’s the bottom line to all of this. Great customer service is what makes businesses great and consumers happy and loyal. A business dedicated to its customers = customer loyalty.
Perhaps for mega businesses like AT&T I am simply a fly in the ointment. But the one thing I know is that all I was looking for was interest. Interest in what I had to say and interest (most important) to my continued loyalty.
Interesting, just since I’ve posted, I’ve received a number of similar stories. One should never underestimate the power of one small voice because it will more than likely attract and share more and more voices. Hey AT&T, can you hear me now? If not, perhaps Verizon will.
Never wish for more time, rather make the most of your time!