I remember just a couple months back, when my girlfriend had to stop her Verizon cell phone service.
For some complicated reasons, she could not do it over the phone (let alone the Internet), and she had to visit one of those Verizon retail stores.
I’ve never really been into one – because I’ve never felt any reason to walk into a different carrier’s store. But wow, everytime I passed by, I always saw a lot of people in there – and even during my trip with my girfriend, there were about 9 customers wondering about the space. The fascinating thing, was, however, that only 1 customer was being helped at the time – the rest, were waiting through some electronic waiting system that a nice employee kindly entered. As I waited, I couldn’t help but realize so many employees who were coming in and out of their backdoors – and heaven knows what goes on back there, but with my visual count, I counted 12 employees in total. Of the 12, only 1 employee was helping 1 other customer, and the remaining 11 employees did not care much about the other 8 customers who were waiting. They all seemed to do something – I don’t know, at least, none of them sat down looking like an owl – but what I know is that they weren’t really into anything – I mean, I’m sure it was something they could do later, when they’ve served all customers.
Perhaps Verizon puts their employees before customers – that’s good, as long as customers don’t know about it. And maybe perhaps the many customers I’ve seen strolling around everytime I passed on of these stores were in fact a count of the numerous emloyees working there plus the small amount of customers who were waiting to no longer be ignored. All I could think was: Verizon must be pretty well off to have more employees than customers!
So while Verizon is putting aside millions of marketing dollars to promote ad campaigns to compete against other telecom providers, it needs to go back to the basics: better customer service. That doesn’t only include Verizon stores, but even customer call centers, or anything else that represents Verizon. As long as it’s not about a totally remarkable new product (or plan), I believe that a focus on customer service training is perhaps the most important thing to focus and dedicate on for brand endurance and achieving higher loyalty. Remember, as far as cell phone service is considered, loyalty probably generates more new customers than anything. It’s all about reputation for quality service in this business.