It all started with a ski trip. I was up at Heavenly in the Sierra Nevada Mountains with a group of friends, getting set for a day of shredding the slopes and carving out some powder. It was snowing that day, seemingly harmless little flurries. Then we boarded the chairlift up the mountain — the flurries turned thick, coating the strands of my hair until it turned icy.
“No way other way to get down!” we said cheerily. I patted my phone, safely zipped (or so I thought) in the pocket of my coat. Pointing my skis downhill, I sped off — and promptly face-planted in a swiftly growing snowdrift. Spitting the snow from my mouth and wiping off my goggles, I tucked down the mountain, already anticipating a hot beverage.
It was there, over a much-deserved winter drink, that I realized that my phone was gone. My zipped pocket sat tauntingly half-open. “Ugh,” I thought. “Here comes another two-year contract.”
I was spot-on with that prediction. My provider at the time said that, in order to get a new phone on my current plan, I would have to sign on for another two years. Otherwise, I would have to pay an exorbitant fee to break the contract. I’d been planning on doing this as soon as my current contract had run out — until my ill-fated ski trip and my sudden need for a new phone. What’s more, I had been anticipating upgrading to a phone that was being released in about a month — this forced me to settle for the same model I had lost.
That’s where the providers get you. They know you need your phone, and they know you need it now. I sucked it up that time, but as soon as that contract ran out, I left my provider and moved on to U.S. Cellular. I’d read about the launch of their Belief Project, that allowed users to break free from the two-year contract system after signing once. Once! That’s all that was needed to prove that I was a loyal customer. My old provider had forced that new contract on me after I had been a customer for years.
U.S. Cellular makes me feel like they actually value my business; it’s a nice change from feeling forced to stay. I earn points through the Belief Project, and even used them to update to a cool, new smartphone shortly after it was released. I had a particularly heavy texting month recently, and used points to soften the overage charge. Thanks to the Belief Project, I finally feel like I have a mobile provider who’s working with me, not against me.
Oh, and my next ski trip? I’m putting my phone on the inner pocket of my jacket. The snowdrifts won’t have me beat, this time.
You Might Like:
- Customer Success Story: U.S. Cellular
- Aberdeen Research Report: Customer Loyalty 2012: Enabling Technologies for Customer Engagement, Conversion, and Retention