Cover Your Ass(ets)

About a year and a half ago, I had a problem with my telephone company. It was my fault, actually, but that’s beside the point. My dialup connection (I live in the boonies) had dialed a number that was “local long-distance”, i.e. still in my area code, but technically fell under the long distance plan. The phone line was connected for a few thousand minutes, resulting in a phone bill of $1000!

I called the phone company to try to work out something reasonable. For example, my other phone line has unlimited long-distance, so I knew that this really wasn’t costing the phone company any money to be nice to me. I finally got one guy to reduce the bill in half, but that’s still a lot of money. I wrote a letter to the President of the company, who simply sent it to Customer Service.

Now here’s the best part – I actually had two people tell me that it was their job to protect the company’s assets! At that point, I had two landlines and two cell phones with the same company, costing me around $2000 in yearly phone service, which I still think is ridiculous. However, if a company told you that they had to protect their company’s assets and you felt they weren’t being reasonable, what would you do? I felt it only right to remove myself from their asset acquirement rolls at my earliest convenience. As of now, I
have one landline left with the company – essentially removing $1400/year from that company. Now which move would have actually protected their assets better, being nice or keeping a windfall?

The moral of the story is simple: do everything in your power to keep your customers happy. Apparently this company had never heard the old adage, “The customer is always right.” Make your customers happy and you’ll keep their loyalty, make them angry and they’ll look for their first opportunity to find an alternative and leave you. I’m now getting daily calls from the Wireless portion of the company asking if I’d like to come back. Not a chance. Can you hear me now ?