Another last to first customer service merger

My relaxing Sunday was disrupted by news that AT&T it is purchasing T-Mobile USA from Deutsch Telecom. Ugh.

I've been a loyal T-Mobile USA customer for a number of years after fleeing AT&T's terrible customer service. The worst part is AT&T has continued to stalk me like a psycho ex-girlfriend (see that post).

This is another example of a company whose service I despise purchasing a company I enjoy doing business with. T-Mobile currently holds the #1 spot for customer service ratings with both J.D. Power and The American Customer Satisfaction Index. AT&T, on the other hand, is tied for last in J.D. Power's rankings and holds last place by itself in the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The last example of one of a service nemisis taking over a decent company was United Airlines buying Continental Airlines last year. (See: United Airlines will get bigger, ruder, and less efficient.) When that was announced, I walked outside and looked up at the sky while shaking my fist and screaming, "Noooooooooo!" (To be fair, commercial airliners regularly fly over my house.)

So now what? Will T-Mobile's outstanding customer service somehow rub off on their new owner? Not likely. Something tells me my future involves a switch to Verizon.

T-Mobile's Ad Cost Them Money and Saved a Customer

Like many of you, I've been through my fair share of cell phone carriers.  T-Mobile has managed to keep my business for the past several years due in large part to their outstanding customer service. They don't have the latest technology, coolest phones, or even the fastest network, but everything they do seems geared towards making it easy for me to be a customer.

Their latest television commercial is a gutsy move that prompts viewers to go to an independent website which recommends the least expensive cell phone plan that fits your needs. I checked it out and immediately found a way to save $10 by switching to another T-Mobile plan. Yes, other carriers were represented, but the first three recommendations were T-Mobile plans.  Nice!

What can we learn?

Helping the customer succeed sells. And, a customer who succeeds because of your company is much more likely to remain loyal.

Some math geniuses might point out that T-Mobile just lost $120 in revenue per year by prompting me to reconsider my cell phone plan. Ah, but this is where a finance-only approach can be short-sighted. Just last week, I was on the Verizon website scouting out the latest BlackBerrys and imagining how much more productive I could be on a faster network. T-Mobile's ad didn't lose them $120 per year. It saved them nearly $1,200 per year by ensuring I stayed on-board as a customer.

Check out the commercial here: