In 1999, I got my first telephone from you. We chose you after extensive research on cellphone providers because you had great customer service.
After only six months on that first phone, it started to crack into two pieces. I did not know it at the time, but it turns out that I am really hard on things. As much as I try not to break them, the act of carrying them around in my briefcase makes things break. Your customer service folks politely refused to replace the phone, but gave me another one for free in exchange for a one-year service agreement.
A word on your customer service. They were helpful, listened and came up with a reasonable solution to my problem. The lovely Nokia that I got as a result lasted for years with nothing more than a little scratch on the monitor. Sadly, it lasted longer than you did.
Shortly after this time, T-Mobile bought you, dear VoiceStream, and I hoped that they would be smart enough to keep the VoiceStream customer service model, but add T-Mobile coverage and efficiencies. Alas, it was not to be.
Within a year, customer service had gotten so bad, that when I called with my first problem, the customer service representative actually tried to give me, A GEN X FEMALE, a fatherly lecture on proper cellphone plan usage. And this was the guy you employ to try to KEEP customers. A word of advice: Gen X female professionals don't respond so well to dominating male take charge of your life attitudes. It's not that I don't respect biological differences, it's just that these differences do not translate into my ability to know what good customer service is and the value of loyalty.
That's right, loyalty. I would have stayed with you VoiceStream turned T-Mobile, had you simply shown me that you cared about my business. Now, for years, I had never gone over my minute allocation and paid my bills on time. Had you simply met me half way on that phone bill, I would have increased my minutes and stayed with you until now in spite of your crummy network. But instead, you forced me to leave you for another provider.
When you realized that my number was about to port away, you called to ask me why and I told you. At that time, you mentioned that you would have met me half way had I mentioned that I was leaving. I decided not to bother explaining to you that your own customer service guy was too busy giving me a lecture to listen to the customer's issue.
Goodbye T-Mobile, hello Verizon Wireless.
PS - I consider this experience to be the first among an increasing amount of horrible customer care experiences in an increasingly customer comes 3rd or 4th world. Anyone who knows of a cellphone provider who has excellent customer care, kindly comment below.
PPS - Read my letter to Verizon Wireless in a few days. Comcast will eventually follow, as will AT&T.