Monday, October 30, 2006

Cell phones, Carriers, Plans and Customer Service

Why is the U.S. cellular industry so yesterday. The choice of phones available by carrier are, in my opinion, sparse at best. The shortfall is second to the plan choices and restrictions they come with. For example, I currently have Verizon Wireless - I use maybe 20% of my monthly minutes alloted by my plan because most of my friends and family are on the same network so they are free to call. I went into the Verizon store, proceeded to wait 20 minutes in line for a customer service rep to discuss downgrading my plan. When I told him I wanted to move to a lower plan to save money, they were more than happy to oblige...but then told me changing the plan would bind me to VW for another 2 years as a plan change constitutes a contract renewal. This to me is obsurd - I am 3 months out for being untethered from under VW's leash as our contract committment is fulfilled - why would I want to renew it?

If the cell industry in the US wants to retain customers, it should not do so by tethering us. Quite the opposite, I would rather pay a slightly hight rate and be able to move carriers if I am less than satisfied by their services than being tied to them and hating them.

If the industry use a hybrid a la carte type of system, I believe customer retention and satisfaction would increase dramatically.

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