I’m leaving the country and I have contracts to cancel. Contracts like those for cellular telephone and vehicle-tracking services.
The difference is that Tracker actually gives a shit about their customers (even those who are shortly to cease being their customers) while Cell C doesn’t.
For both Tracker and Cell C, I still have about 11 months remaining on my contract. Tracker magnanimously gave me a 50% discount on the settlement amount, while Cell C want to charge me a R1,000 penalty fee.
Tracker cares what I think about their brand, even if I’m not a customer of theirs. This could be because I might have cause to give a vehicle-tracking service a recommendation. “Hey, Jimmy. Tracker provided pretty good service. Why not use them?”
Even if I don’t give a recommendation, they certainly don’t want me to have anything bad to say about the company or the brand. I mean, pissed off customers typically put a lot more effort into complaining than happy customers put into complementing. Unhappy customers might bad-mouth the brand. Complain to friends. Blog about the poor service and unreasonable contract cancellation terms. Screw around with the logo. Perhaps they might tweet about it, or post it on Facebook. It could go viral. It could become the next internet meme. Tracker wouldn’t want to even risk such a thing, no matter how small the chances of it happening are, while Cell C have made it all the way to the “post it on Facebook” phase.
I received a call the other day from Ezra at Cell C [warning: site not Firefox friendly]. I greeted Ezra warmly as I considered the merits of asking him whether there might be someone better to speak to. I declined to do so assuming that either a) the joke would be old (from his perspective); or b) the joke would be too subtle — he sounded more like a hip-hop, R&B kind of guy
Ezra happily informed me that he had been assigned to assist me with my contract upgrade. How exciting!
Except, I hadn’t requested an upgrade. Was it compulsory?
No it wasn’t, but it was recommended.
Why would I want an upgrade?
Because I could get a new phone.
But I already have a working phone. Afterall, I was talking to Ezra using it.
Sure, but I could get a better phone, like a Nokia N73 (or something like that).
Are you implying that the phone I have is crap? (Wish I’d said that, but it didn’t occur to me until afterwards).
Eventually I told him that I saw what the problem was. I was on a contract that Cell C were no longer offering. It has really cheap rates, no free minutes, and no bundled in phone. It also has no monthly subscription charge. Basically, if I don’t use the phone at all, I’d pay R50 a month. If I only make R50 worth of calls, I’ll pay R50. If I make R100 worth of calls I pay R100.
Basically, Cell C aren’t making any money off me (or are making very little).
Eventually, Ezra gave up. Perhaps Cell C will try again with someone better?