Verizon Wireless – “We Never Started Working For You!”

January 11, 2007          Comments (3)

We’ve all seen Verizon’s commercial with the dorky actor repeating, “Can you hear me now?”

Ironically, for a telecommunications company it’s quite a challenge to get through to an individual. Obviously by design. How do they see this as a benefit to their customers and their bottom line?

Of course, they are the quintessential customer-serving and customer-oriented company.

They certainly love their customers, and definitely convey that attitude to their precious customers.

Like when I just tried to trade in my overpriced Razr for a Treo or one of their other “Blackberry” type devices.

I finally spoke to someone after ten minutes of yelling into my phone and making sure every inflection in my voice was precise for the, yup you guessed, live, human … voice system. No matter how many different scenarios I brought up or how many times I told them I was trying to pay yet even MORE money per month, they wouldn’t accommodate me.

They kept referring back to the contract that I signed about a year ago.

Apparently, I used all of my Verizon luck last year. My old cell phone screen had cracked and my two (2) year contract was going to be ending in 3 months.

I had to literally convince them that not fixing a 21 month old phone that hardly worked (and having to spend $75 to fix it) to spend $400! on a new phone was something they should gladly do for a loyal customer.

I’ve had Verizon since I first had a cell phone my junior year of high school. Apparently, they don’t break rules for great customers like me (pays their bill on time, recommends family members and friends, and isn’t a pain in the ass).

Of course, I educated them about customer retention, acquisition and reminded them of their ever growing attrition and compression rates. They did me a huge favor. I insisted they also give me the notorious $100 credit we all know and love. I told them I’d sign another two (2) year contract.

They agreed. I felt like I defeated the enemy.

John Harrobin (VP of Marketing for Verizon Wireless), I have some questions for you.

When you read that sentence in bold does that make you feel good?

John, I know you know what the lifetime value of a customer means and I’m sure you know how much I’m worth to your company. Right?

According to my LOW calculations I’ve already spent roughly $7700 in my life with you. ($80 / month x 12 x 8 ) Not counting the hundreds, probably thousands, I’ve thrown out in overages.

The (extremely conservative) lifetime value of Adam Gilbert is easily going to be $80,000!!! That’s figuring the rates stay constant and I live until 100. You and I both know only the latter can happen.

Here’s my free advice. There’s no need to hire expensive consultants, run focus groups, or conduct surveys.

Treat your customers the way you’d want someone to treat you.

Don’t make it a challenge for me to try to spend more money per month and become even more dependent on your company.

Rules mean nothing. You bend over backwards to make your customers happy; especially when it’s still highly profitable for you. Even if it’s not. Look at the LTV above. If you have to forfeit a $100, $200, $300, $400 credit to make me happy then do it.

Stop acting like a monopoly. People are starting to switch. I can keep my number.

Your competition is destroying you with much better offers. And very enticing ones. What have you done for me lately?

Offer better phones (and nice work getting the iPhone!). The ones you have are terrible. My Razr has the worst battery I’ve ever had. Fix it. For free! (Why do I have to pay more money to get a battery extender when I was promised my phone would work for countless hours?)

I can go on and on. And so can thousands of your customers.

Listen, John. I don’t want to switch. I’m a loyal a guy. And you shouldn’t want me to switch. But, why do I always have to convince your staff that I’m the loyal customer and that I can go to 5 other different companies with much better phones and prices? Why are you still the most expensive when your competition is killing your prices with better phones?

I think I’m going to switch John. I’m getting sick of this.

Hey John…

Can you hear me now?


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  1. […] Once again, can you hear me now? […]

    Pingback by Guru Gilbert » Blog Archive » Resentment and the iPhone… — June 21, 2007 @ 9:59 am

  2. You should’ve gone to a store. They are much more helpful. And they allow you to upgrade after 20 monthes. Not 24. AND they have an early upgrade program….you just would’ve lost ur $100….but most would’ve just moved up ur date.

    But, dealing face to face with a manager….any manager in the company would’ve done it for you without much trouble. (trust me…it’s in our training) Unfortunately there is a disconnect somewhere between customer service and the stores 🙁 That I have no answer for and apologize. I know how irritating it can be.

    Comment by Whoaaaa...... — September 12, 2007 @ 9:44 pm

  3. […] Once again, can you hear me now? SHARETHIS.addEntry( { title: “Resentment and the iPhone…”, url: “” } ); If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed! […]

    Pingback by Guru Gilbert » Resentment and the iPhone… — February 3, 2008 @ 1:07 pm

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