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You can compete and beat powerful and large companies by giving fantastic customer service. Most large companies simply cannot contend with you when it comes to giving personal attention to your customers.

The worst example is AT&T. They don't get it. It is no wonder that dozens of cell phone companies and other telephone companies have gradually eaten away at their one-time monopoly.

I bought an iPhone a few months ago. I loved my iPhone. Apple did an incredible job of designing a state-of-the-art product that did everything you ever imagined you would want in a phone - and more.

The only problem with the iPhone is that you had to have AT&T as your carrier. That was OK at first. I got this "special" deal where the iPhone cost me "only $299" as long as I signed a two-year contract with AT&T. Fine. I was happy to do it.

Everything went well. I loved my iPhone. And I even liked AT&T. The best thing was that I could make calls from any country in the world, like Nicaragua, where I travel frequently for sales consulting and seminars in Spanish. I love Nicaragua, but I was not able to use my USA cell phone until I got an iPhone.

Then I took a trip to Angola in Africa to be a keynote speaker at a marketing conference. Somewhere along the way, I lost my iPhone. My beloved iPhone was gone. I was heartbroken. But I was sure AT&T would take care of me when I got back to the USA. Wrong!

I was prepared to spend another $299 to get another iPhone. But imagine my surprise when the folks at AT&T told me I would have to pay $499! Yup! They lamely told me that the price of $299 was a special introductory price, and they could not afford to give it to me twice! Can you believe it?

Now, I can't blame it on the poor AT&T store manager. He was embarrassed and pained to give me the news. But it was corporate policy and he could not change things. If he had owned the store, he would definitely have sold me another iPhone for $299.

I understand Apple is negotiating with Verizon to be an optional carrier for the iPhone. I hope they make deals with Verizon and with every other carrier on the planet. This was not Apple's fault. It was the policy of that lumbering elephant, AT&T. If you are a telecom operation that has some vision and sense of customer service, you have a huge opportunity to beat the giant.

In fact, if you are a small to medium-size company in any industry, you can beat the giants by giving amazing and astonishing customer service. Everyone talks about customer service. But most big companies don't get it. You should be out there every day, in the trenches, talking to your customers. You will beat the big guys every time!


Steve Savage, 20 West Canal Street, Suite 511, Winooski, VT 05404 Tel 802-355-8533 Fax 877-378-2230
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