Here I am, writing to you from my Sidekick 1. I was hoping to be typing next to you from a brand spanking new MDA, but that was not to be.
Allow me to tell you my story.
I have been a proponent of T-Mobile for a while now. Why? Why have I tolerated a sub-par coverage plan with a half-assed signal? Very simple. Customer service.
It's amazing how little customer service it takes to instill loyalty, isn't it? Especially since customer service is a lost art. Two times T-Mobile did right by me…just little things, but they impressed me to the point that I decided to stick with them.
First, one time, out of the blue, walking into my office, my cell rang. It was T-Mobile, calling out of the blue to tell me that they reviewed my plan, and that my plan sucked and hey, here's another plan where you get everything on your present plan plus a bag of chips and it's cheaper. Did I have to renew for 12 months? Sure, but I would have overpaid them for less service anyway, so I was happy to say sure, hit me with that hot note. Thanks for calling.
Second time, I had called about something–don't even remember what–and the T-Mobile guy on the other end said hang on a second, let me take a look at your account. After a minute, he said, hey, we're charging you a la carte for a service tat you have in your plan already…here let me fix that…and…let me credit your account back to January for that (it was July)…all done. What else can I help you with today? Well, damn, when was the last time somebody did that for you? I was delighted.
So here we are. I've been a T-Mobile customer for seven years. As you all know, I have (and love) my Sidekick 1. I did not buy a SK2 because at the time, the SK1 was still working fine for what I needed. However, I've been ready for the SK3 for a while now, seeing as how my SK1 is about ready to go the way of all flesh. So I was waiting on the SK3, knowing that if I went with a SK2, exactly one week later the SK3 would be on sale, and basically it would kick the SK2's ass and take its lunch money.
So patiently I have waited, until recently, when I heard of the MDA. Basically, the MDA appears to have everything I would want in the SK3 and then some, plus it's available now. Bailey got one, so actually having one in my hands I could check out made me realize, ah, screw it, I'll go with the MDA.
So I went to a T-Mobile store, expecting to get a good deal…i.e. the same deal Bailey got. After all, we joined T-Mobile about the same time…surely my loyalty counted for something.
It did…just not as much as Bailey's did. So I find myself on the phone in the store talking to the customer care person. It seems very reasonable to me: I've been a customer for seven years, so has he, I know you call sell the phone at that price, you did it a week ago. Just give me the same deal. Nope, no dice.
I even played the Okay, Fine, I May Have to See About Dating Other Carriers Card. Made no difference. I said thanks, but no thanks, and got off the line.
So on my way to my car, that's when it hit me: seven year customer, spent in that time easily several thousand bucks on service, was standing in a store ready to sign up for two more years of service, ready to be happy with the phone I had decided I wanted. But no, sorry.
And that's when I got pissed off. Because what was the difference between happy loyal customer and disappointed customer ready to dump T-Mobile for somebody else? $50. My loyalty and what would be nine years of paying them–the closest thing to a sure thing sale you could have–wasn't worth fifty lousy dollars.
So at this point, it's not even about the $50. It's that T-Mobile thinks so little of me as a customer, they're going to, "generously," offer me the same deal they'd offer somebody walking in off the street to sign up for the first time.
And you know what? Fuck that and fuck them. I'm not bound to a contract, so if I can find a better deal elsewhere, I'll take it. Because I finally know what price tag to stick on customer loyalty.
Amazing how little it takes to make a customer happy, isn't it? And, conversely, how little it takes to piss one off.
Update: Howdy, Consumerist readers. The welcoming committee and more rant goes here.