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How a $36 customer service move won long-term loyalty

In theory, business owners know the value of customer service. But in reality, sometimes the bottom line tends to get more emphasis than the respect and relationship with the customer.

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A few years ago, I was in a position to switch cell phone service providers, but a call to customer service changed everything.

I had been with a particular company for over ten years, my contract was expired, and was considering going with another company. The new company offered a lucrative promotion, including a free phone with all of the bells and whistles, no activation fee, and even free accessories to go with the new phone. It was enticing, and I went with it.

I knew my old carrier would try to keep my business, but I was determined to switch to the new company. When I called, I went straight to the cancellation department and we went through the usual rigmarole about why I was leaving, and what they could do to keep my business. While he was extremely courteous and informative, there was nothing that the representative offered that made me consider staying with this particular carrier.

Once he accepted my request, he started giving me the details of the cancellation. We determined the exact cancellation date and discussed any applicable pro-rated charges. He told me the best time to cut-off services, to avoid unnecessary charges as well. The representative then asked about the new carrier, the plan, and the promotion details.

I knew he was still interested in keeping my business, but I also felt as though he respected my decision to leave. He even went on to inform me of different avenues I could take to sell my phone to make the most profit since I wouldn’t be using it anymore.

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This customer service representative stated that because he saw I was a long-standing customer of theirs, he would give me a $36 credit on my final bill to cover the new activation fee that I’d likely incur with the new company.

That was the game-changer; I felt respected and valued as a customer.

He wasn’t looking only at their bottom line, but about the relationship that I had with this particular carrier. I was leaving his company; his job was to keep my business. Even after he saw that I would not be staying, he still gave me the utmost respect and service by covering a fee from a competing company.

As it turned out, I stayed with the new carrier for the full two-year contract. After it was up, I decided I wasn’t all that impressed by their service (both customer and cellular), and went back to the original carrier, and over a year later, I’m still there.

Business owners would be wise to realize that even if you’re losing a customer; your reputation is all about forming a relationship.

When a person feels significant, valued, and respected by your organization, they will remember you, whether they return to you or recommend you to others. While I will never be able to find that same representative, his service and respect and the company’s policy of both are what really brought me back to the company.

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Staff Writer, Taylor Leddin is a publicist and freelance writer for a number of national outlets. She was featured on Thrive Global as a successful woman in journalism, and is the editor-in-chief of The Tidbit. Taylor resides in Chicago and has a Bachelor in Communication Studies from Illinois State University.



  1. Ann Cummings

    August 10, 2022 at 7:57 am

    Sadly, that kind of service is so rare. We have stayed with the phone company we’ve been with for many years specifically for the kind of service they had always provided us with. That company was bought out by another one this past year, and the service level just hasn’t been anywhere near the customer service level from the other company. It isn’t bad, but not what we’d gotten accustomed to for a number of years. So many companies and staff don’t seem to understand the importance of that type of customer service. It would go a long way toward building great customer retention.

    • Lani Rosales, COO + News Director

      August 10, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      Isn’t it wild how much phone companies spend to acquire new customers and how often they refuse simple kindnesses that would retain them!?

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