Industry Insight

Does Your Promotional Pricing Punish Existing Customers in Favor of New Customers?

Do you read the entire contract when you sign up for a service? Well, my husband and I didn’t and it cost us quite a bit of money!

We had a satellite TV service for two years (regular, non-HD), and in that time period our bill went from $55 a month to $99 a month because that was in the contract we signed. We paid our bill on time each month, we were happy with their channel selection, and we even planned on keeping them up until the point when our bill doubled. At that point, we wanted to contact the company to discuss lowering our monthly cost with one of their new customer promotions. We called and talked with them about it on several occasions (which resulted in a few small credits), but they refused to help us after that. They basically told us that we signed the contract, that we weren’t new customers so we didn’t qualify for further discounts, and that it was just how their system worked.

To make an already long story short, we ended up switching to another TV provider because the company was so inflexible with the price – even though they were willing to give significant discounts to brand-new customers. And this time, before agreeing to the new company’s terms, we read through the contract closely and discussed the details with the sales rep!

So, with that, I’m left with the following questions and concerns. When will these huge companies start offering equal pricing to both new and old customers? Why aren’t there any perks for loyal customers? It really stinks to be paying $99 a month for a service that you’ve had for years when you see commercials on TV each day advertising new customers getting that same service for only $40 a month. I feel that they should offer this pricing to the old customers as long as they call in and ask for it. I would much rather have more loyal customers than ones that come and go, and until recently I considered myself a “loyal customer,” but this company’s unwillingness to work with us forced us to take action and find a company that wanted our business.

It seems to me that companies are offering all kinds of sweet deals to new customers—but nothing for their current and loyal customers. I just can’t figure this one out. Isn’t a good customer worth anything to these huge companies? I feel like that is one advantage smaller companies will always have over their larger competition: great customer service! Customers want to feel acknowledged and appreciated—and they should—without customers, there is no business to speak of, right?

I’m not sure when these policies will change, or if they ever will. It seems like the good old days of excellent customer service are gone, especially when it comes to the huge companies. But I just think it’s really silly for companies to continue losing and gaining customers over promotional pricing. Why not keep your old customers and gain the new ones? One is silver and the other gold, right? As one of our previous bloggers pointed out, Netflix may soon be taking over the TV world, so “regular” TV providers need to get their act together before they lose all of their customers!