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call me

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i called bell the other day about my wireless plan. now as anyone knows, dealing with the monoliths can be trying. the call was prompted by a short conversation with one of those keeners in a wireless provider kiosk. the kind that sells all of them. as a rule, these people are more knowledgeable and motivated than all the other 3 combined.

take the people in my local bell store. they often can't be bothered to lift their heads to acknowledge people entering their store, and seem downright offended if asked a question. my own queries have garnered me erroneous or outrageous information. take this little nugget: my blackberry was down and i had discontinued the data portion of my plan while it was being repaired. when it came time to add the data back on some 6 weeks later not only did they insult me by charging me $15 to add it back, suddenly the same plan now cost $5 a month more. (hey $5 is $5.) the reason according to the indifferent clerk: the 3G network upgrades, and the iphones. well my phone isn't 3G nor is it an iphone so i certainly don't enjoy the benefits of the perks of it, and what's more i don't care.

so when the young guy from telephone booth shot me a hello as i browsed the dizzying array of shiny new phones available i stopped to talk to him. it turns out virgin is entering the marketplace aggressively with an enticing offer that is worth a look at, and there are other hungry newcomers arriving all the time, but the big three still treat their current customers as if they don't want them. it used to be that the rewards for staying with bell meant that after a couple of years meant that you could upgrade your phone to avail yourself of the new technology without being significantly out of pocket, but bit by bit they've whittled it the moderate "loyalty" award down to virtually zero. written into the contract in teenytiny fine print, is a phrase that goes something like….." we reserve the right to change this at any time without telling the customer….". the justification being they only supply a user with the service not the hardware, so they can jack around with customers until they get fed up and call to yell at them or just jump ship; a punitive charge discourages the latter.

so i get on the phone to talk to customer retention. not customer service, they just slap you in the face and make you feel bad for calling. he works on the figures of my contract to arrive miraculously at a plan that will cost me less than my old contract. when he comes back on the line i say to him consider this: how about you offer your current customers some incentive to fend off wandering eyes, as it were, by way offering imaginative upgrades; use the same stuff being employed to lure new customers. how difficult would it be to roll over minutes? it is safe to assume if treated well, most people would be renewing their contracts anyway, so it's not like the co. is going to lose any money.

it has to be acknowledged that the pace of technology is moving at such a rate that it is making any long term contract seem like a forever and the associated hardware most certainly obsolete somewhere during the course of it, if it lasts the duration. i expound for a bit and he concedes that i have a point and says they are working towards it, but you can bet it won't be for a good many years. I sigh, and ring off. i'm saving a few dollars more a month and i got my point across, so i guess it hasn't been a total loss.

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