Heavy Foot of Telephony Giant

June 18th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

In the simplest economic sense, I understand why communications Borg Verizon moved the large pain of software migration to its millions of customers. It was a stupid move though and one likely to be costly.

I spent much of an hour reprogramming voice mail today. It was under Verizon’s command. It was on Verizon’s schedule. There was no appeal to the Borg on any aspect of the process.

See the background on this here.

ex-verizonI think of a friend of mine from our Inc. magazine days, who wrote a book on savvy customer relations and service. Clearly this is not standard reading at the Borg.

It appears that the thinking at Verizon runs along the line of:

  • We want to switch voice-mail software to a cheaper or more capable system.
  • Doing the work behind the scenes to save customer settings, pass-codes, messages and recorded announcements would require work and, well, actual thinking and consideration of customers.
  • We can force customers to do all their own setup and customization all over again.
  • Each customer will only spend an hour or at most two figuring out what to do and performing all the tasks.
  • It’s likely that the support calls we get will cost much less than planning an automated migration.
  • It’s sensible for us to save the time and money by pushing the pain onto the customers.
  • Our customers are pretty inert and unlikely to switch phone providers over this.
  • We can have the extra fun of thanking them for choosing us.

This very 20th, really 18th, Century attitude is long-term loss for perceived short-term advantage. In this terrible recession and modestly competitive environment, Verizon could very well lose many times what it saved by flipping off the millions of customers. Moreover, its good-will losses will continue to drive away existing customers. Finally, in this technological era, admitting that they would rather force customers to do their upgrades says they are tech dolts who understand neither automation nor customer service.

Were I the head of Verizon or even manager of this migration, I would never have considered spitting on the customers. I would have insisted on 21st Century technology to keep my millions of minions happy with the easiest switchover possible.

As it is, Verizon has steadily increased our charges and decreased the local calling area. Yet, the fact is that even here in Boston, we don’t have choices in most areas of cable suppliers, but we do have in phone services, all at lower prices.

This is the final flick of the whip driving this family from the Verizon plantation. This Borg is not a full monopoly. We are not subject to its whims. It’s no way to treat those who provide your income.

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