Are You Locked In?

I am not delighted to tell you that we have renewed our cable and Internet package with Verizon. We now have less services, but it costs more. Go figure - less for more. Not exactly the way a frugal household likes to operate. We have had heated discussions with each other, and company representatives letting them know how undelighted we are. After the honeymoon of the being a new customer to FIOS a couple years ago, we now feel locked in. But we don't like it. And just so you know, before you get that big fancy HDTV - you're going to want to have the hundreds of cool HD channels that the big conglomerates offer for a high price. But when you get it, watch out.

In my opinion, Verizon just doesn't care about one little customer. They figure we're locked and that's that. When you believe your customers have no real choice, either because they've signed a long term contract, or the technology locks them in, or they're stranded in Okeechobee with no other options, you're likely to move away from delighting them.

This is the story of Verizon and Microsoft and Apple. When you believe that people are stuck with no options, it's not important to keep convincing them to stay there. And while you might be correct that this particular customer is locked in, it doesn't mean she doesn't have friends, colleagues or a blog. Word of mouth and recommendations don't come with a lock-in feature.

There are choices in all decisions, and it's essential to know what you're getting into when you buy that Windows computer, or HDTV, or Ipad. Getting locked in with a vendor that doesn't play well with others, or limits my choices is not going to sit well very long. Sometimes it is the low price that keeps you locked in, sometimes it is the cool, satisfying product you touch, and sometimes its because it "fits" in your system and communicates well with all your other stuff. I have found there are dissatisfiers with all my products and vendors, but usually it is not enough to seek alternatives. But sometimes it is.

So, before your contracts are up - investigate your options. Ask your neighbors and friends what service provider they utilize. Take their recommendations with a grain of salt though. Investigate reviews on the Internet, Google it and read some stuff. Find out the rules - how can you be considered a new customer again - how long do you need to stray? What will competitors offer you?
Be informed before you decided to get locked in, again.

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