Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Different Perspective

I found this short comment from the Brisbane, Australia newspaper.  I am not sure when it was published –but it is reasonable to assume this aspect of loyalty is still around.  I doubt this has happened only once – it may be more pervasive than we want to believe.  There is a naïve perspective that perfection of loyalty programs is near – maybe not.
Be a loyal customer, be taken for a fool
I was a passive consumer, believing loyalty is virtuous and appreciated by business. Having chosen products and providers I stick with them, anticipating that long-term allegiances will have their rewards.
I have learnt, however, that a more apt description of my conduct was ''mug punter''.
For more than 15 years I have happily coughed up for cable internet that served its purpose adequately. The cost disappeared painlessly from our bank account each month and we rarely troubled our allotted usage limitation.
Then we did. On the last day of the month our internet connection slowed to a crawl. Thinking it a technical malfunction, I rang a fellow at an Indian help desk only to learn that I had been ''throttled back'' for the day, having finally burst through a 12-gigabyte glass ceiling.
After 15 years of good behavior I thought that I might have earned a little leeway. Why, even the RTA and the courts have a heart. Perhaps a small draw down from the huge bank of unused gigabytes built up over the years.
I started to look around. My limit had become minuscule with the passing of the years and technological advances. Non-customers were being tempted with gigabytes beyond imagining, at breakneck speeds, for a pittance. Whither my perceived reward for loyalty?
I spoke to another friend in India. He immediately more than quadrupled my limit, increased my speed fivefold and knocked $10 a month off my bill.
Rather than feeling a surge of gratitude, I felt cheated. They had been ripping me off, probably for years. I decided to test all the waters in which I swim. My gas and electricity tariffs dropped. My insurance renewal premium quote was instantly reduced. All goodwill I might have felt towards those I once thought of as preferred suppliers evaporated. Worse, I now have ill will towards those who took advantage of my loyalty.

I now realize one can't sit idly by and expect anyone to realize the absolute value of a lifetime customer. So I whine and moan and price check. It's a waste of my time and ultimately an expensive way for business to do business, but at least I know that if it chews up the gigabytes, I only have to blast a call center somewhere to rectify the problem.

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