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How to Lose Customers & Alienate People

8/21/2012
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9:10 AM Changes that AT&T and Verizon keep making to their data plans could send customers into their competitors' arms
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DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:21 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


It might violate FCC rules, according to the NY Times Bits blog.

shygye75
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shygye75,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:23:21 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


What do you think the tipping point is for a significant number of users (let's say, 5-10% of the customer base) to switch SPs? Is it a 10% price difference? 20%?

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:21 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


Verizon says that its current customers are not required to sign up for a Share Everything plan, even if they upgrade. Only new customers have to choose a data bucket.


A Verizon spokeswoman writes: From the day of announcement, we have been very clear, existing customers can keep the plans they are on now, move to the Nationwide Usage Based data plans OR move to Share Everything Plans.  It is their choice.  Even customers who have unlimited data plans can keep those plans if they like and pay full price for their mobile device.  Additionally, many, many customers are finding that Share Everything Plans are actually saving them money because they no longer have to purchase separate data bundles for each device.  The only people who must select from our Share Everything Plans are people who are new to Verizon Wireless.

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:21 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


I realize I'm speaking purely from a consumer point-of-view, but I do find it frustrating that prices keep going up at the big two operators and changes positioned as innovation end up limiting or costing their customers. Contracts will keep a lot of customers from leaving, but for those that are ticked, there's a lot of options for them to explore. 

shygye75
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shygye75,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:23:20 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


So the prospect of "losing customers" (to borrow from the headline for this post) because of changes to pricing structures is kind of nebulous. Customers tend to put up with an awful lot (including higher prices) before switching suppliers because of convenience. Verizon and to a somewhat lesser extent AT&T have very high ratings for service reliability and coverage reach. That helps to justify a higher price.

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:20 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


I think it depends on what their situation is. If they're upgrading from a feature phone and aren't locked into a contract currently, they'd probably explore their options as soon as they heard the price. Even if they already had a smartphone, they might explore other carriers. If it's someone who already is paying data and would face an ETF, then it'd have to be a really high price difference, I'm sure.

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:19 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


There were probably an equal number of people from AT&T that wanted an iPhone and found Verizon as a haven because they were "new customers."


Making it expensive to switch is how you keep customers and pay for those $699 devices everyone wants for $99. Keeping customers happy is another matter, but having a nationwide network helps a lot.

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:19 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


I guess it was widely reported incorrectly that Verizon is forcing existing customers to upgrade, but it is clearly the preferred path. I called four different stores, asking about upgrading, all of which first mentioned the Shared plans. When I said I wanted to stay on a tier, they said the $30 2GB plan was still an option, otherwise I'd have to do a tiered plan. I had to know to ask for a higher, individual tier, before they mentioned they were still on the table. Very confusing, but normal marketing practice when you're promoting something new, I suppose.

derac
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derac,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:19 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


I was a VZ wireless customer for over 20 years.   I wanted to finally jump on the iPhone bandwagon last year and called VZ asking if I could switch phones and upgrade my plan.   Sure.. for the full price of an iPhone.   I explained that I could go to ATT and get an iPhone for $199.   Did they want to lose a long time customer ?   They didn't care.   I went to ATT.  

FbytF
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FbytF,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:23:17 PM
re: How to Lose Customers & Alienate People


Literally I just switched carriers yesterday, well actually I switched a month ago but kept Verizon active till I was sure I was happy.  I went with an MVNO and cut my Verizon bill in half, canceled Verizon yesterday.

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