In the late 1970’s the folks at the Bell System, which was part (a BIG part) of AT&T, ran commercials with the theme “Reach Out And Touch Someone.” It urged consumers to be proactive – to pick up the telephone and “just say hi.” After last week I sort of wish they had followed their own advice and let me explain why.
My family and I have been on AT&T Wireless for decades. So long that two of our four accounts have unlimited data plans grandfathered in (try to buy one of those any more – you can’t!). We found, however, that sometimes one or two of us would go over the monthly data cap and have to pay additional charges while the two on the unlimited accounts rarely used much data at all (we’re often connected to WiFi). Our monthly bill was close to $300 and we’ve been thinking about finding a cheaper, better plan for us all.
The good news is that our bill is now $100 a month less and we’re still with AT&T. They have a shared data plan that will work for us all and even though two of us lost our unlimited data it won’t be an issue given our usage history. The bad news is that AT&T came very close to losing us as customers. Why?
Because we had to figure this out for ourselves. Do I think it’s reasonable for a huge company to look at its customers and figure out that someone could be paying them $1,200 a year less? Actually, I do. That’s what the digital and data revolution of the last decade has been about to a large extent. Using what you know about your customers to anticipate their needs and provide better service. I will say that once we went to the AT&T store to confirm what we were able to discern on our own about adjusting our plan they could not have been more helpful and we left quite happy.
No one can take customers for granted. While AT&T knows an awful lot more about how my family uses data and wireless services than most businesses know about their customers, it’s incumbent on all of us to take whatever it is we do know and try to put it to use in a proactive manner. That’s what I urge my clients to do. And now I’m urging you as well. You in?