I just spent all of 45 minutes on the phone with my current cable/internet service provider, Charter Communications. I am pissed to say the least and shall be taking my business to another service provider. My current rate period expires next week and the bill I just received for the month upcoming is for the new rate they will charge me which is almost $40 month higher than what they offer as a rate to new customers. That is almost $500 year difference, and in this economy, $500 is a big chunk o change. The customer service rep and the customer retention rep that I spoke to both claimed it is now Charters policy to never ever give a promotional rate to existing customers again.....they will only be given to new customers from here on out.
Never mind that I have been a loyal customer for over 25 years, apparently that doesn't count for anything anymore. Nope, instead they prefer to "take their chances on" new customers and give them a discount for being, well, "new"! In my business, it is my long time customers that get price breaks as a token of my appreciation, not the new ones. Customer Rewards, ya know. Geesh what are they thinking! If you have a great product, a product that is better than anyone elses, you don't have to lure new business in, it will flock to you organically. However if your product is just like that of your competitors than your focus should be on customer retention.... if I can buy a vanilla cone at 2 different ice cream shops, but one shop will give me a free one after I buy 12 or a discount for being a repeat customer, well, I am going to patronize the one that gives me rewards for buying their product.
Unlike many other customers, Charter has never had to spend one red cent on me in regards to accounts receivables....never had to sic a collection agency on me, nor even have to send out a payment reminder...I have given them my hard earned money every month as fast as I got the bill. Maybe they should consider evaluating a customers time in service and payment history before they so hastily decide we don't deserve a special rate. So, in stating my longevity as a loyal customer to the Customer Retention Specialist., I felt compelled to remind them, that once other existing customers become upset at this complete disregard and unappreciative attitude then they too will leave.
At some point the customer base may consist of more NEW (promotional rate) customers than us old, existing customers which will of course ultimately result in the loss in customer base and accordingly overall revenues. I know of 3 people who have ditched Charter for another service within the past month, and I don't get out much to hear these things so in my little circle that is a big number.
And that my friend should give you pause to stop and think about this before you subscribe to or buy stock in Charter. Reduced earnings and poor customer retention outlook never loosk good at earnings report time.
Maybe it's time for Charter to re-think their policies. I am sad to see it has come to this because I found their product to work well, but I guess changing my email address and business cards is far less expensive than the increased pricing.