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The Price Wasn't Right!

Aug 17, 2007
I just got back from my local wireless store and I'm full of venom! Have you tried to buy a new phone lately? There are many different prices for every phone. First, it was $150, then $200, then $250. I thought I stumbled on the set of The Price is Right! My son, an 11-year old with a Blackberry, wanted the Pearl and had saved enough money; however, because he recently bought another phone, the carrier wanted the highest price - so my little man will have to wait until his next birthday.

Wireless carriers seem completely oblivious to the fact that their customers have choices. Companies must respect the fact that their customers have significant opportunity to change providers. Lets face it, we are bombarded with messages from wireless companies, morning, noon, and night. These companies are apparently more interested in trying to woo new customers than in keeping their existing customers happy. In fact, according to a recent poll by Telephia and Harris Interactive, 80 percent of subscribers who switched carriers in the last year had been offered no incentives to stay with the carrier they abandoned. Further, more than half of those who switched said they might have stayed put if the carrier who had their business had made them an offer. Such an offer would have shown respect and appreciation. Incredibly, carriers actually charge us to shop somewhere else (with excessive cancellation charges)!

Here are three tips for showing respect.

*Meet your customers' tangible needs. Have the right products in stock. Have enough associates on the floor to quickly help waiting customers. Waiting in a wireless store is like watching paint dry.

*Don't forget your customers' emotional needs. Never lose your customers' trust and confidence. When you say you will do something, actually do it. Remember Babe Ruth? Legend has it that he promised a sick child he would hit a home run for him, and then followed through! What a great example for corporate America! Be honest and up-front with customers.

*Respect the complainers. Most people don't complain they just shop someplace else. They vote with their feet and according to the Harris poll, it's quite costly to the carriers. When we complain we are essentially saying, "I want to be your customer, do something!" It's vital to respond, and cost efficient to take immediate action.

My son called an 800 number to ask for a discount on his new phone. No luck! They could have given him a free battery, or a sync cable, or another of all the many things such companies have available at little cost to themselves. To do so would have shown respect and concern.

Delivering great service is simple, but not easy. To deliver excellent customer service, we must respect that our customers have choices and do everything humanly possible to keep them as customers.
About the Author
Mr. Rosen served as President and Owner of Sam's Wines & Spirits, a family-owned business established in 1940. Mr. Rosen has founded Grand Slam Results, LLC, a speaking and training workshop firm. For more information, visit http://www.grslamresults.com
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