Calling for good customer service

This one’s gonna be a little Godin-esque.

Reading the headlines this morning, an article about actions the FCC was taking caught my eye:

The Federal Communication Commission will propose rules on Thursday requiring mobile phone companies to alert customers by voice or text message when they are have reached monthly usage limits and are about to incur extra charges, the commission’s chairman said Tuesday.

This, of course, is not in response to customers who might use an extra $10/mo because they have a low txt plan.  It is in response to bills that are 10x the regular amount.  Apparently a Boston customer received a bill for $18,000.  That would shock the hell out of me.

Since cell phones have existed, customers have surpassed their usage limits and received huge invoices in surprise.  This trend is accelerating with smart phones and data downloads that are difficult to gauge during regular usage.

Since cell phones have existed, customers have had to call customer service and beg for their invoices to be awarded a credit.  This is a cost to the telecoms regardless of whether or not they collect that revenue or not.

The cell phone providers will, of course, talk about how they offer tools for the customer to check their balances.  These are light years ahead of where we were ten years ago in almost all measures, except one.  They still require the customer to act.  Regularly, so they catch an overage early and don’t continue to add to the tab.

So why not kill two birds with one stone, now that the technology to provide this service is reasonably priced.

Voluntarily give your customers a heads up.  Then it’s their choice to continue their behavior.  You’ve acted responsibly, winning additional customer good will.  You have a record of notification to refer to during the inevitable customer rant if they ignore their warning.  And maybe, just maybe, you’ve tipped the scales enough to avoid government regulation because of actual customer service being performed.

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