Previous articles have raised the problem of poor customer service from US mobile operators based on my own experience, with the punative charging regime that severely limits the trust customers place in operators for experimenting with new services.
I was chatting yesterday with Ed Finegold from Validas, who help consumers and companies save on their mobile bills. As a result, they have a vast repository of information about usage and charging across US operators. Their stories on the savings they’ve provided to customers are both heart warming and depressing as it is a sad indication of the lack of customer centricity in the US mobile industry. As an international example, O2 in the UK makes a point of ensuring its customers are on the best plan given their usage, and has offered business customers free of charge bill optimization services for many years.
Below is just one sample of the punative US charging regime in place on voice calls; overage minutes are billed at an exorbitant rate; nearly 2000% of the standard cost per minute, or 700% of cost per plan minute. This is nothing less than extortion, no wonder customers rapidly adopt other service providers such as Apple and Google for new services when they’re treated like this by the US mobile operators. And its not just voice, comparing the cost of data between iPhone and Blackberry users shows Blackberry users are also getting stung just based on the device they’re using.
Operators must urgently adopt a customer-centric approach, they should be offering services such as Validas to their customers; else risk loosing customers for all value added services in the future.