Sunday, October 30, 2016

Disloyalty Rewards

Once upon a time, customers were rewarded with staying with a service provider be it phone or (well, this was before internet) repair or delivery services. That was presumably back in the day when you couldn't just look up a competitive price in the phone book (or online), or you could but it wasn't easy. That was when customer service really was the driving force behind a business, not flashy gimmicks or clever words. Way back when, when it mattered more to businesses how long they could keep a customer, instead how much they could manage to steal out of your wallet as quickly as possible.

Today's world is a different one. If you want to be rewarded for being a customer, you have to switch services. If you want a better deal on phone or internet or repair, you have to sign up all over again somewhere new. Even credit card companies will give you a bonus for the first few months or year, and then once you're locked in, raise the rates.

Because it's not about customer service anymore. It's about getting as much as they can before you realize how much they're taking, and it's about selling as much as they can on the books because returns go into a different book and more often than not don't count against your sales figures. It doesn't matter if they sell you something that you'll return tomorrow, because most commissions don't pay out the other way.

And they're banking on the fact that people don't like change. Even if you receive rubbish customer service, even if you get on every telemarketing list known to man, you're unlikely to change providers if (1) you have to pay a fee to get out of a contract or (b) fill out all that paperwork all over again.

(Yes, I did that on purpose.)

So they treat you badly, they sell you things you don't need and don't care if you return them later, they lock you in to a deal that only looks good as long as you don't look at the fine print or your bank statement, and hope you don't notice just long enough to recoup their losses.

Unfortunately, it works out in their favor. If it didn't, they (at least the bright ones) would stop.

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10 weeks


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