Where Has Customer Loyalty Gone?

Where Has Customer Loyalty Gone?

Recently, I have noticed some unsettling trends in the products and businesses that I purchase as a consumer. I am just a number, a small buyer, a miniscule blip, barely on the radar of major businesses. It took me a while to realize that, but as a loyal customer of many companies, I was naïve enough to think that my continued business made me someone special in a companies’ eyes….I was way off!

A survey conducted by cobrapaydayloans.co.uk shows the true extent of this problem, this is by no means is this an all encompassing list, and maybe this is just me venting/being annoyed, but these are some big culprits that I have run in to lately.

Netflix

Much has been written about the company’s price restructuring, their splitting into separate entities and the immediate withdrawal of that plan along with an issued apology to customers. It took a huge outpouring of dissatisfaction and thousands of members canceling for that apology to happen.

I’ve been a loyal customer with Netflix since 2002, I contacted customer support, I griped, I told them how loyal I was…I received the same apology that the guy whose been a customer for two days got, and I still had to pay the price increase for a lesser service (no more “free” streaming).

What happened to the customer is always right, or at least the realization that without your loyal customers your business is going to struggle/fail?

AT T; Wireless

I’m a little late, but I just upgraded my first generation iPhone to the iPhone 4s. I’ve been a customer with AT T; since 2004, I’m an easy, loyal customer. I don’t call to bother them, and they collect my money every month. In fact I stayed with them even though I hadn’t been under contract for the past six years and could have switched providers with no penalty.

Prior to purchasing my new phone I investigated the new service contract I would have to sign and contacted customer support three different times to make sure that I was not missing any increase/change in rate plans. Well, after being assured that I could keep my original contract pricing, on three different occasions, I bought the phone and what happened? My monthly payment increased. Why? Since my previous contract didn’t exist anymore I could no longer use that pricing and despite the fact that I had been assured, on three different occasions, that my monthly costs would not change.

What recourse did I have? None, they won, I was already locked in for two years….unless I want to pay a ridiculous fee to get out of the contract.

Sounds like a giant bait and switch job to me and I’m counting down the days of my contract.

Comcast

This is probably the worst company I’ve ever done business with, and I’m currently paying more for my cable just so I don’t have to be their customer. Many of the places I have lived there was no other option for cable than Comcast, and believe me, they knew that. Their cable and internet services are decent, but not up to the standard that they should be for the price they’re charging. That isn’t the big concern though.

Their customer service or lack-thereof is absurd. I do not know how they are still in business with some of the ridiculous interactions I’ve had over the phone with some of these people. The most recent was when I was moving and cancelling my service last fall. I called, made sure my bill was paid and spoke to a “cancellation specialist” who assured me that my bill was paid in full and that I was all set. I received a bill the following month, I called again, I was assured that I was all set. The following month, two months after moving, I received another bill, this time for two months service and a late fee. The thing that I didn’t understand is that every time I spoke with someone they had record of receiving my cable equipment when it was returned. Common sense would have me believe that if a customer no longer has the equipment to utilize the service that I was providing than I probably shouldn’t be billing them for said service? Needless to say, I wasted about four hours of my life being on hold with customer service or an automated phone line, or being transferred back and forth to different departments within the Comcast Company and I will, if given a choice, never be a Comcast customer again.

The economy is bad and times are tight. As a consumer, like most, I want the best deal for my dollar. I want to be rewarded for continued loyalty. I want to be satisfied knowing that the company I’m spending money with appreciates my business and is not going to try to take advantage of my loyalty with small print policies and price increases for a diminished product. To me it just seems like no matter how smart you try to be with your money, investigating prices or providers, there is not a whole lot you can do if a company wants to take advantage of your loyalty.

I guess, like Bob Farrell says, I want the pickle.

Read More Where Has Customer Loyalty Gone?

Breakdown Cover and Electric Vehicles

Breakdown Cover and Electric Vehicles

As people gain increased awareness of how internal combustion motors add to air pollution, and as electric vehicles become more reliable, you might wonder if electric vehicles can break down and if there is breakdown cover for them. The answers are yes they can and yes there is. With that said, let’s look at what can go wrong and how likely it is that a breakdown agent can help you.

Flat Battery

Since electric cars run on battery power, a flat battery will certainly leave you sitting by the side of the road. Regenerative braking can help top up the battery on an electric car, but that will only go so far. Both AA and RAC say that they will tow owners of electric vehicles to the nearest charging point or to their destination, whichever is closer.

Fewer Parts That Can Be Repaired

Maintenance on an electric vehicle is more like working on a laptop computer or even a refrigerator than repairing a car with an internal combustion motor. This isn’t necessarily bad news. With fewer moving parts, there is a lot less to go wrong. You can still get a tire puncture, however, which is one of the most common roadside repairs for standard vehicles.

Dealer Centered Assistance Plans

The Nissan Leaf, one of the most affordable electric cars, has a very nice roadside assistance package for owners. Nissan Care includes roadside repair by a knowledgeable technician for those parts that can be repaired. If repairs are not possible at the location, your car will be towed to your home repair location or to the nearest dealership. They also offer continuation of the trip or return home if your vehicle cannot be repaired the same day.

Renault, being aware that one of the biggest drawbacks to owning an electric vehicle is “battery memory” which causes the capacity of the battery to diminish over time. Instead of selling the battery for your vehicle, they lease it to you. Let’s say that again. You buy the vehicle but lease the battery. Renault guarantees the battery to the point that it maintains at least 75% capacity.

Charging Stations, Charging Times, and Parking

One of the biggest differences between driving an electric vehicle and an internal combustion vehicle is fueling up. It takes longer to charge a vehicle, even if you are making use of a fast charger. That means planning your trip carefully. The other thing about charging your vehicle is that it is most easily done if you have an assigned parking place or garage so that you can plug your vehicle in and let it charge overnight.

You won’t go as far (yet)  on a single charge as you can on a tank of petrol. The limit on a battery charge for an electric vehicle is about 100 miles.

Advantages of Electric

Lack of pollution is the first and most obvious advantage of driving an electric car. But there are others. Acceleration is smooth and fast. You will never have a quieter ride. In fact, electric cars are so quiet that there is a discussion of creating noise so that pedestrians and animals can be more quickly made aware of an approaching vehicle.

Electric Vehicles Are Not New

Electric vehicles are not a new concept. In fact, there was an electric vehicle before the internal combustion vehicle. But modern batteries that weigh less and are more easily charged contribute to the practicality of driving an electric car.

With several cities preparing to ban internal combustion vehicles from certain areas, electric vehicles become a more practical consideration than ever before.

It is likely that as more electric cars are in use, more breakdown cover companies will hire mechanics trained in repairing them and a broader array of services will be offered.

Read More Breakdown Cover and Electric Vehicles