T-Mobile and the cost of bad customer service
If the social media revolution has done one thing, it has made customer service critical to an enterprise. From Jeff Jarvis writing about his exploding computer to United Breaks Guitars, we don’t get mad about the act, we get mad at the customer service that surrounds the act.
Case in point: I recently moved from a city to a small town. In the small town, I don’t get service with my T-Mobile phone.
The only reason I went with T-Mobile was they had the first NEXUS Google phone. And I really wanted that. In the almost 2 years I’ve been with T-Mobile, they have been excellent. There have been a couple of times when the phone didn’t work – due to coverage issues, but for the most part, they fulfilled their part of the contract.
When I moved, they stopped fulfilling their part of the contract. So I sought to end our relationship.
The customer service guy, we’ll call him Tony, took my call. He asked me the nature of my call.
I have moved to a place that doesn’t get coverage and need to cancel my phone, I said, naively expecting that to be it.
“Can you tell me where you live?” Tony asked.
Not sure why it mattered, I asked.
“I’m here to help you continue to use your phone.” Tony said, earnestly.
“But my phone doesn’t get service. It doesn’t work.” I pointed out.
“Do you have wifi at home and work?” He asked.
I told him I did.
“So your phone works there, correct?” Tony pointed out smugly. Okay, I only picture him with a smug look on his face.
I was taken aback. Was he really telling my that my wifi enabled phone works in spite of their service because I happen to pay for Internet access at home and get it at work? Was he really making the argument that my phone was still worth paying full price at T-Mobile because of wifi?
Turns out, when I signed on with T-Mobile, I signed a piece of paper that said if I moved to a place without service – it was tough cookies for me.
In essence, I would have to pay a termination fee for breaking a contract that T-Mobile was no longer living up to.
And that’s the risk of social media. Ten years ago, you could have a policy that seems to be designed to piss off customers, because no one really cared about pissing off a few customers.
Things have changed.
If we could have split ways today on amicable terms that would be the end of it. I would even say T-Mobile is a good company.
Now they’ve created an enemy.
And for what? A $200 cancellation fee.
If I make one person think twice about T-Mobile – they lose money. If I make 2 people pick another company, they lose massive amounts of money.
Bad customer service is never worth it. Why do big companies persist in it?
Your turn. What are your horror stories? Bonus points if they are T-Mobile horror stories.
- The Demise of Customer Service (madisonsrepublic.com)
- Customer Service & Social Media (jakprpro.wordpress.com)
- Why Just Service Customers When You Can Engage Them? (community.constantcontact.com)
- The Demise of Customer Service (tipggita32.wordpress.com)
- Customer Service: Before and After (themarlincompany.com)
- What the Customer Service Industry Can Learn from the NFL (customerthink.com)