How Cingular views the average customer
Firstly, Welcome back readers. I’m sorry about the gap in updates but I certainly needed a little time away from the computer and had a wonderful time off for the holidays.
So let’s get down to what I cannot describe any other way than, “The
first Crock of 2007.” I have been a Cingular customer for several years now (ever since they took over AT&T Wireless) and have been on and off about the quality of their service. For quite some time I certainly had a serious amount of dropped calls (sometimes every other call). Now – this was about the time they started their raising the bar campaign. I can honestly say that my experience with dropped calls has, in fact, lessoned greatly. I would also like to point out that so far I have had surprisingly great experiences with their Customer service as well.
These positive can hardly account for the many ABSOLUTE HORSE CRAP ‘features’ and/or ‘services’ that are a mainstay of Cingular phone service (perhaps all cell services). What detractors could possibly warrant ‘Absolute Horse Crap’ you might ask? Well, let’s see – where to start:
The Speaker Buzz: The speaker buzz is that obnoxious noise that all powered speaker systems make when someone within a certain radius (of the speaker) receives a cellphone call. If you have never heard this noise then think back to the sound that an loud old dot Matrix printer makes. Next, amplify that sound to whatever volume your speakers are set to (even when no sound is playing through them). I think that’s about the most similar sounding thing I can think of. Probably the most outrageous occurrence: Say you live in an apartment and your neighbor receives a call. Suddenly you can’t hear the movie you were watching with your girlfriend over the buzzing and clicking of your neighbors
being beemed up cell conversation.
At first, I thought that this sound was caused by any cellphone interference nearby a speaker system. WRONG! Only Cingular’s network causes this annoying noise. It’s horribly annoying.
Charging for text messages: This ‘feature’ wins the worst of the worst award in my opinion. An average user is already paying $40-$50 dollars per month for cell service (I know – your plan said it was only $30, but they forgot to mention the taxes, and other unexplainable fees.) and then you get charges for text messages on top of that. Here’s the real jewel: Not only are you charged to send them – you also get charged TO RECEIVE THEM!! That’s a festering bowl of walrus crap! Especially considering you can receive messages from anyone at anytime. The fetching Mrs. Colclough and I share a family plan – So that means, If I send her a text message – we get charged TWICE! Now here’s the real facts – Why do they charge at all? Is a 3 word text message more taxing on their networks bandwidth than a live audio connection? The answer is obviously NO. The worst part is that they just RAISED the price on text messages too! Formerly $.10 per message – Now customers get a ‘Happy new year, here’s a pile driver in the crotch’ price hike to $.15 per message. So – now it costs my wife and I 30 cents just to send a little text blurb to one another. Think about that. That’s more than a quarter the price of a can of soda! You might as well toss that 30 cents into a pay phone for what you get. If anything – text messaging reduces the amount of data transfer over their networks. Instead of a 5 minute phone conversation, I can simply send a short text message. Even a message with a small photo is going to have a significantly smaller file size than even the shortest live phone call. If Cingular really wanted to ‘Raise the Bar’ for it’s customers is should add messaging features for free. Apparently they think that we are idiots though and will charge us anywhere they can.
Contracts: Now this goes for all cell services. Enough with the contracts. Contract services treat intelligent customers like 5 year olds. If I want the service – I can start it. If I don’t want it anymore – I should be able to stop it. I shouldn’t be penalized if it turns out their service sucks and I want to jump ship. It’s a Great way to treat unsatisfied customers too! “Oh, aren’t happy with your service? Pay us $125 bucks and we’ll let you cancel it for you. Would you also like your complimentary spit in the face?” In the words of Stossel, “Give Me a Break!” Stop treating your customers like pubescent morons.
So here’s the wrap up. Cingular, If you really want to ‘Raise the Bar,’ why don’t you try whipping the butts of your competition and offer service truly amazing. Rather than barely offering an advantage (with little annoying strings), Make it a drastic difference. Offer twice the features for the same price and customers will hop on your service in droves. Keep treating customers like dummies and they will keep finding more excuses to start looking elsewhere.