Jaret Manuel

How to Piss Off a Customer!

As a proud Canadian I love our country and think we have it pretty damm good here.  I mean - we have a boring leaderless government and political opposition but the upside is we are not out pissing off other countries too much.  We have great people, some rave about our health care, and of course there is our crack like addition to Hockey.

All of that good stuff aside, our government seems to embrace a lack of competition for certain industries.  Take the telco industry and the very recent CRTC decision to slam and shut out Globalive as a fourth national wireless carrier.  What, you mean that would entail more choice for the consumer?  Heaven forbid Watson, we mustn’t do that…. The Oligopoly would be bruised.  It seems our government wants only a few telco players, and that down right sucks.

Which leads to the “How to Piss Off a Customer!” part. Fido, now a wireless brand under Rogers, used to be a company called Microcell.  Back when they where around, they had these amazing phone packages (that were probably losing money) by Canadian standards and they got Grandfathered when Fido bought them out and they still are today under Rogers.  800 LD North America minutes, 24/7 unlimited local calling anywhere on the FIDO network, no access fees, and the list goes on.  I got super lucky and it is a plan that Rogers/FIDO simply would rather not have me on and I have to sign a 3 year contract in order to keep it.  The plan is amazing so I bite the bullet.

So the iphone comes out a while back and I wouldn’t mind getting it so I make a call to FIDO, and see how I can get one. Well sir, you can’t get the iphone because you are in a contract and you have to wait 6 months until your agreement is up before you can entertain that.  I tell them “are you kidding me? I praise you guys up and down the line, and your service is great but this is a bit much”.  Tough luck, no dice.

So a while goes by and I determine I could use the business apps on the iPhone so it moves towards a Need vs. a Want. So I call again. Same thing, no go. 3rd call, 4th call, and then I go on Jigsaw to find the first EVP that I could find and I cold call one of them in Montreal and some executive assistant tells me he is no longer with the company so I say put me through to retention as this has gone too far. I get a nice lady on the phone and I simply told her that I will call everyday and drive you guys crazy if I don’t get that phone.  She said there is nothing you can do. I said put me on with someone who can make it happen and that I am willing to sign a new 3 year agreement.  I mean, I am the customer so give me what I want but they realize they don’t have to because there is no true telco competition in this country.  Well, this lady ended up being awesome and she somehow (magically made it happen) and with some further negotiating I got the phone. Woo Hoo, love the phone, but I am not a happy customer.

If FIDO was smart, they could have embraced the fact that I loved the service, the package and they could suck up the fact they are not making enough money off of me and appreciate the fact I tell friends how great FIDO was.  Instead, they pissed me off because they were offering something and as a loyal “locked in” customer, I cannot have it (not to mention I upgraded the data plan, hence more Revenue for them).

The second part of how they continue to piss me off is that not only do they not want me on the plan, they send me mail saying what a great deal I can get with their latest offer.  The problem with this is that their offer is about 1/10th of what I have right now, which tells me their promotions department doesn’t even know which plan I am in, which means they are wasting trees and money, which means they are clueless, and what does it say to me as a customer.  They don’t care and until Globalive gets the CRTC stamp (or other serious competitors emerge) they don’t have to care because there is no imminent threat.

If you want a sure fire way to piss off your customers, threaten them with the plans you have them on now (if you have plans that are grandfathered.), send them offers that don’t compare to what they already have, and wave it in your face that there is nothing you can do about it, and do not reward locked in loyal customers. FIDO has me because I lucked out with my plan and there is nothing close to it being offered otherwise I would have left. But as a customer, I am still pissed and maybe the telco exec’s were pissed (loaded) last night in joyous celebration that a potential “real” competitor got rejected.  For now at least.

In the meantime, Globalive’s Wind Mobile Videos say it best:

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