When your service sucks, don’t punish your customers for leaving

Think about this premise for a second. You are a business owner and you continually fail to provide your customers with the type of service that you have promised them. Would you blame them for leaving and shopping at one of your competitors? Would you?

Most of us would do the right thing. We’d allow them to make the move and ask them to come back as soon as the problems had been corrected. Then we would did in deep and make the types of changes that needed to be made to improve guest satisfaction and loyalty.

Earlier this week, AT&T announced that they are raising their early termination fees in advance of the anticipated Verizon iPhone announcement. To be fair we have to acknowledge that the company has a large investment in their customers’ iPhones. They subsidize the cost of the phones when you purchase them and only recoup the cost over the full term of the contract.

However, AT&T is charging a premium price for their iPhone service and they continually fail to provide premium services. It’s no wonder that they are upping their early termination fee – they stand to lose a lot of money.

Let me conclude with a couple simple questions:

Though raising the fees might make financial sense, is it the right thing to do from the customer’s perspective?

How might consumers respond over the long term?

What could AT&T have done to retain their customers so they wouldn’t have to worry about their competitors?

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