My Plea to Verizon Wireless to Give Me a Good Reason NOT to Leave Them

I sent the following through Verizon Wireless’ “feedback” form today:

I just tried to change my plan back from 500 txt messages/month to 250, like I had before. When I upgraded, because I was going over, I was specifically told I could go back to the 250/month (and this wasn’t very long ago). Now I’m told I can’t.

I’m extremely frustrated with Verizon’s policy of raising prices and giving new customers better deals and incentives than us long-time loyal customers. Everyone knows that technology only gets cheaper, yet Verizon insists on raising its prices, rather than follow that trend. More and more I feel that Verizon’s business model encourages us long time customers (I was with Verizon on my parents plan for years before getting the one I have now) to pack up and go to Sprint or an innovative new option like Republic Wireless, for truly unlimited everything, and prices that don’t keep increasing.

If it were just me who felt this way, or even a handful of customers, it wouldn’t be a big deal to Verizon, but as was recently shown when you tried to start charging us for paying our bill online, there’s a huge portion of your customer base that cares. On top of it Seth Godin, recognized as perhaps the world’s foremost expert in marketing has specifically used Verizon as a bad example the very issues I’m talking about. You can see his articles here: How You Should Treat Your Best Customers and here: Learning From Frustration

Unhappy customers does not lead to increased profits. Please reconsider and start taking care of us long-time customers. Oh, and please top putting garbage apps on all your Android phones!

Then I sent this message to Republic Wireless, who’s innovative approach is finally encouraging the well-known technology trend of “always smaller and cheaper” that somehow doesn’t seem to apply to Verizon and AT&T:

I assume you’ve already thought of this, but just wanted to send a message, in case you hadn’t, or wondered if there were people out there who would love this option:

If you could create a Republic Wireless app that could be installed on any rooted Android device to provide the hybrid calling, then we could bring any Sprint-compatible device to Republic. I don’t know if this is possible from a technical standpoint. But I would assume that with root access, it should be possible. If I could buy a Galaxy Nexus (even for $600 or whatever they cost) and switch to Republic, then only need to root the phone (very easy with that particular one) and install your app, but still be able to get updates directly from Google, etc, I’d do it in a heartbeat. In fact, I’d start saving money right now to come up with $1200 to get one for my wife and one for myself and we’d switch immediately. Now maybe 4G throws a wrench in things, or maybe what I suggest isn’t that easy, but if you can do it, I’d highly recommend it. There’s a lot of people like myself who have WiFi access most of the time, and HATE the ever increasing costs (what ever happened to technology always getting smaller and cheaper?) of regular mobile service. We appreciate what you’re doing, but aren’t quite ready to flock to you because of the limited phone offerings. But open that up, and flock we will!

Sometimes you just have to voice your opinion to make your self feel better. But if lots of others do the same, Verizon will start listening, in the same way the US Congress listened regarding SOPA & PIPA, BofA & Wells Fargo heard us regarding debit card fees, Netflix didn’t split their DVD & streaming options into separate services because the cries were so loud, and even Verizon dug the wax out of their ears for a moment when we told them how upset we were about their new fees to pay online. If that happens, then it won’t be just to make yourself feel better.

UPDATE: a few days later a Verizon guy called and basically just went through the list of issues I mentioned in my message above. But instead of trying to really understand my concerns, he just spouted out “the company line” and then moved to the next item. I didn’t want to waste time with somebody who obviously didn’t want to really understand to pass on my concerns, so I didn’t push back or argue, I just let it go to get the call over with, politely.

He made several completely false statements such as “we have not increased our prices on anything.” Perhaps the per-text price hasn’t changed. But If I used to pay $5 for the less-than 250 texts that I use, and I now pay $10 for those same texts, that’s an increase! Also, data plans: for any customers who are grandfathered, they get “UNLIMITED” data for $30/month. Any new customers only get 2GB of data for the same $30/month. That’s a price increase no matter how you look at it. Here’s hoping Republic Wireless or somebody comes out with a real game-changer that starts up some real competition and humbles the big carriers and forces them to start truly competing (same with handset manufacturers).

Netflix Increasing Their Prices – Need to Learn from Verizon!

So Netflix just sent me this email. They try to make it sound like somehow it’s all a great thing. And it would be if only their streaming service offered a whole lot more movies and other content that I’m currently forced to get in the mail, via DVD. As it is, all this means is now instead of paying $15/month, I’ve got to pay $20/month! That sucks. That’s roughly an extra $60/year.

Now I’m not always pleased with Verizon Wireless, and they really need realize that a data plan is a data plan. If someone pays $30/month for 2GB of data, they shouldn’t have to pay another $20/month to get tethering & another 2GB. 2GB is 2GB, you should be able to use it however you wish! However, in this case Netflix should take a page from Verizon’s book. When Verizon switched to these new limited data plans, they let all those of us who had unlimited data for $30/month, keep our unlimited at the same price. And we can continue to keep it, for the forseable future, in spite of upgrades, etc.

That’s what Netflix should have done: “going forward any new clients will need to choose from these new plans, but all you faithful customers who’ve made Netflix one of the great consumer media providers and a hugely successful company, you can just keep the great prices we’ve been giving you.”

The lesson: as Seth Godin pointed, out show your best customers you appreciate them. They’re 1) much cheaper to keep as customers by doing something like this, than spending tons of marketing dollars to get new customers, and 2) do a lot of marketing for you by telling everyone how much they love you, if you treat them right.