> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Now I would think that a prepaid
> customer was the best possible customer; no credit problems for the
> company to worry about; they probably have a few million dollars in
> effect 'loaned' to them on a revolving basis each day that they do
> not yet have to account for. To add insult to injury, the cell
> phone people even route their prepaid customers through some idiot
> service bureau in an international place. PAT]
I have heard problems from people using pre-paid phones, such as
"Trac" phone (believe it's offered by Verizon). Yes, the service
offices were international and no help at all.
I don't understand either why the wireless companies treat these
ad-hoc customers so poorly. Maybe because they really want the
guaranteed $40/month customers and hope they'll spend money on premium
services to generate even more profit.
I shudder to think what people are paying for cell phone service these
days given how often and long they talk, esp teenagers. I hear my
cube neighbors yelling at their kids for overuse of txt messaging or
other premium services that drove up the bill.
Do cell phone plans still charge per call? I have an old plan that is
$19.95 a month. Even on 'free' off peak calls there is a 12c land
line fee for each call made or received. Since I don't use the phone
that much I don't mind it. Periodically some clueless salesperson
calls me to push an upgrade to a fancy new phone (that I must
purchase) and pay $40 a month for a "cheaper plan". Considering usage
charges are now about $1-3 a month it would be quite foolish for me to
switch; but they tell me I'll save money.
When I first got cellphone service I went to the wireline carrier. I
expected the same sort of treatment regular phone service got. I
quickly learned it was a very separate division with very different
practices. I thought I'd get best service by being in one of their
owned stores, not an agent or mall kiosk. Didn't matter. The
salesgirl was bored, pretty much threw the phone at me, didn't bother
explaining how it worked until I insisted she do so and still left out
a lot. She spent time on the phone making her social plans for the
When I pass the kiosks today I don't see anything different. The
sales people just push the $40 plans and fancy features. If they
realize you want very basic service they lose interest and shoo you
away. I guess they work only on commission.
I've had a few good people on customer service (one even gave me her
direct inward number so I could call her back if not resolved), but
most were clueless.
It is clear, unlike the old days when someone in the Commercial Dept
of Bell was a career worker, today's workers are just passing through.
Turnover is very high and nobody thinks that is a problem. Today some
kid (ie a 19 y/o) is selling cell phones, tomorrow he or she will be
serving pizza down the shore and the day after they'll be working for
a bank boiler room.
I do get frustrated at this world when the server of pizza at my
local joint has more knowledge of food preparation and service
then someone at phone store has about phones. The servers at my
pizzaria are young but still have been there a few years and if
you ask for a special order they will accomodate you. This is great
for getting pizza, but why can't the rest of the business world
operate this way? What is the pizzaria owner doing for his employees
so that they stick around for a few years -- in what is not the most
pleasant job in the world -- that big companies can't do for their
employees in what should be far more pleasant working surroundings?