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Update: Verizon wrote back to me, and they were nice

Posted on Jul 24, 2012 by in Blog | 8 comments

Last week I wrote a blog post with four suggestions on how to make the Verizon Wireless in-store customer experience a better one. I also reposted this blog post on the forums on The Verge, a great technology website designed by an equally great agency!

I cheekily wrote the post in the form of a letter, starting it off with ‘Dear Verizon’. It was only a matter of days until I got a LinkedIn request from Brenda Raney, Verzion Wireless’s Executive Director of Corporate Communications. I do wonder why she reached out via LinkedIn but that doesn’t bother me in the least bit.

The letter was very nice and apologetic. She offered for me to make a return trip to a Verizon store so that they could show me that “the Verizon Wireless customer experience in which [they] take great pride, includes many of the points [I] mentioned.”

She also requested the date and time of my visit so that they could make sure the employees were properly trained and educated. To this I was hesitant, but she reassured me that my post would not be cause for reprimand:

if you observed this behavior, others may not see it but they certainly experience it which is why we would like the date and time. It may be we have some new employees who need to be mentored by more senior people so these kinds of things don’t happen again.  I assure you no one will get in trouble if you are thinking we are going to dismiss someone over what you wrote. Very few people get up in the morning and make a decision to do a bad job. They may make a mistake which is why training is always our first step unless someone has exhibited consistent bad behavior, but that doesn’t sound like the case here.

I don’t retract my advice yet (I’d have to see it to believe that this was just a bad day/store), but I do appreciate VZW’s fast, personal response to public criticism. I still plan on upgrading to a new phone soon and while initially I was just going to buy it online, maybe I will take the trip back to the Verizon store.

So thank you Brenda. I appreciate you responding, because a response I did not expect.

Related: Four pieces of advice for the Verzion Wireless store

8 Comments

  1. > She also requested the date and time of my visit so that they could make sure the employees were properly trained and educated.

    Why not focus on training your employees and making sure every customer has an outstanding experience, not just courting the favor of a single blogger. If they really took your excellent advice to heart, then they should not be concerned about when you return.

    • Caanan: I suspect they were curious when he originally visited so they could identify the employees who needed training — not when Jeff planned a return so that they could be extra sure to cater accordingly.

      • That’s correct, Tim. And they did also tell me they were considering retraining the entire store.

  2. The only behavior you witnessed that wasn’t textbook Verizon Store was the fact that you were there for 40 minutes willing to buy but not approached by anyone. This is the only thing they could possibly be concerned about.

  3. Responding to criticism is always a good thing to see from a company. But I have a hard time believing those salespeople were doing anything but exactly what they were trained to do. I was in a store in Philadelphia a few weeks ago and the “advice” regarding Apple was exactly the same and obviously rehearsed, along with dismissive comments about a “year-old phone” and so forth. My salesperson did ask me what I wanted to do with my phone but it was obvious he would have pointed me to the latest flagship Android no matter what I said. Maybe this will change once the iPhone 5/whatever comes out and works on their precious LTE network (they even had special early-upgrade offers as long as I got an LTE phone) but I doubt it. The iPhone is there for the people who demand it, but the carriers obviously prefer Android.

    For what it’s worth, I got an Android phone as well (would have preferred an iPhone but I really needed a phone and they got me with the early upgrade offer), just don’t appreciate the condescension and dishonesty.

  4. It’s very simple. The margins on Android phones are much higher for the retailer (Verizon in this case) than the margins on the iPhone. So in the higher price range the retailer is very biased on selling Android phones.

    Exact same thing happens in The Netherlands in mobile phone shops. On an iPhone sale they make something in the order of 10-20€, on an Android phone in the same price range much more. The contract kick-back and sales of accessories is what remains.

  5. There is a total disconnect between the Verizon store personnel and the phone reps. I had 3 phones and 2 MiFi’s and the phone’s contract was up. I went to the store to see what my options were so I could end up with 2 phones, 1 MiFi and a cheaper plan. According to the store I could not get rid of the extra MiFi and could only save 20 bucks on the phone plan.
    When I dialed *611 and talked to the phone reps it was a totally different story. They let me drop 2 phones and then convert a MiFi line to a phone line, and then we tweaked the plan in such a way that I’m saving about a hundred dollars a month, overall, and I have increased the MiFi plan from 8gb to 10gb. If I hadn’t mentioned it to the phone rep in passing I would have gone elsewhere never knowing it could be done!
    According to the guy on the phone, the in store reps are focused on sales and know very little about support. (Something I had already noticed on previous occasions.) If fact, the store reps can’t really do anything more than the customer is already able to do on-line. Any real problems and you’re better off just calling the phone reps.

  6. I had a horrible experience with Verizon. I was looking at upgrading to a specific advertised smartphone brand and model. The store salesperson pushed me toward a more popularly sold smartphone model. I declined and said I really wanted the model I came in for and demonstrated the features ofwhat I was looking for and why to the store salesperson using their own display models. The salesperson exclaimed that I really knew my stuff and we proceeded to the counter to complete the upgrade to the model I wanted.

    I was told the model was out of stock, but I could back order it. I asked if any of their other local stores had the model in stock. The clerk said yes, and did I want to hold one? I said yes, that I would head right over.

    I goto the other stores and was told by a clerk at the counter, I was out of luck and they had sold the last one just a few minutes ago, and had I looked at any of the other fine phones? I spoke with the store manager who said that they don’t hold phones. I explained the experience with the previous store and was directed here and he looked on a computer stating that well, the other store shows 3 in stock. As if I was making this up!

    I said it’s no big deal, I’d just go home and upgrade online. He excused himself and came back from the stock room saying that they did have one left and that it was his mistake.

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