- My two year contract with Verizon ended, which meant I could finally try out the iPhone.
- Verizon didn't offer me much to stay with them (just a "new every two" $50 discount on a new phone), so I switched to AT&T in May.
- For the next 20 days, I tried the iPhone and AT&T's service. In that short span of time I had more dropped calls than I have had with Verizon in nearly two years. Seriously. It was beyond annoying. As glorious as the iPhone is--and it's a thing of beauty--I'm still using the phone as a phone and absolutely hate having my calls dropped. They also released the iPhone 4 just after I'd purchased the 3GS, which is particularly annoying. Why didn't they tell me to wait for the new one? Also, the iPhone doesn't play well with Google Voice, which I've been relying on for a while. Finally, the coverage plan meant that I was paying more per month than I would at Verizon. That's more strikes than you get in baseball. I was done with it.
- Before the 30-day cancellation period ended, I called Verizon to ask about coming back to them. Through a series of several conversations with several reps, I was finally put in touch with someone in their Win Back Department, and offered a deal too good to turn down. The rep I talked to there was very kind and helpful. Three cheers for great customer service!
- AT&T reps, on the other hand, were beyond frustrating throughout the whole process. I ended up with a bill that was three times higher than it should have been. It took nearly four and a half hours, five or more reps, and several days to resolve the problem. One fellow, in particular, was so rude that I was nearly in tears by the time the problem was finally resolved. Really, AT&T, you should be ashamed. I think big companies like that end up with a lot of inefficiencies and the customer ends up paying for the resulting overhead. There were a lot of steps that could have been taken to prevent these problems. Now I have had such a bad experience with AT&T that I was almost hostile to the door-to-door AT&T salesman who tried to convince me to give the company another chance. No thanks. That definitely won't happen any time soon. Every time I see their commercials and logo, I cringe because of the frustrations I went through recently.
- After the switch back to Verizon, I thought everything was finally in order. Then I got mail from Verizon about my contract and plan that was contrary to what the rep on the phone told me. I called Verizon again, and the problem was solved in half an hour by one very kind person. Dear Verizon, keep up that great customer service and you'll continue to have my loyalty.
- The latest chapter involves a battle between Droids. I came back to Verizon knowing I would get a good deal towards a phone that is Verizon's closest comparison to the iPhone. They recommended the Droid Incredible, but it was on back order. Then the Droid X came out before my Incredible arrived. So, in another series of phone calls to Verizon, this issue was also resolved.
- FedEx delivered the Incredible and the X at the same time, but thanks to help from my roommate I was able to catch her before she got back in her truck. I signed for the X and sent the Incredible back to Verizon. And now I finally have a new phone!
Here are some things I wish I had known months ago. Enjoy.
- Putting a note on your account.
Phone reps won't believe most of what you say, even if you're being honest. If a store rep makes a promise, be sure they put a note on your account about it. That way, when the company messes it up later, and you have to call their phone center to have it corrected, there's a note telling the phone center representative about that promise. (Making a film about broken promises, I find this lesson in dealing with AT&T's madness hugely ironic.)
- Buy what you need. And have confidence in that.
When I bought my car, the salesman kept trying to "put me in" a sedan or an SUV. All I wanted was a cute little thing to get me from Point A to Point B, with the utmost fuel economy in a certain price range. Similarly, cell phones and usage plans can easily be much more than I need (and even more than what I want). This implies that you have to figure out what you need/want before you start shopping, which is obviously a good step. I'm now confident that I have a cell phone and plan that is exactly what I need and want. Win!
- The latest and greatest will be outdated in five minutes.
Minutes (ok, it's probably more like days) after I bought my new iPhone, a newer version went on the market. Days after I ordered my new Droid, a new one went out on the market. I can handle not having the latest and greatest, but only when it doesn't come out immediately after I've made an investment. It's kind of insulting, really, when it comes out so immediately. Perhaps I'm just stuck somewhere in between being an average consumer and a tech girl. While shopping, it's better to lean towards the tech geek side so you don't get jerked around. Or just get what you get, and be happy with that.
- Read forums and reviews.
During the past few months I have read countless reviews, comparisons and forums about cell phones. They really gave me great information about what to expect, and explained a lot of things I didn't understand. Read as many trust-worthy product reviews as you can, then go into a store to test it for yourself. Keep in mind, though, some of the reviews will be incredibly helpful, but they are opinion-heavy and you have to filter out what's right for you. After getting my phone, I was so grateful to read the forum conversation about that dumb pull tab! Of all the things I learned about the X before it arrived, this wasn't even on my radar. None of the tech geeks covered this in their reviews and videos, but all of them took the time to show the box it came in. I knew about what to expect thanks to these reviewers, but this silly little pull tab left me confused.
- Talk to the Win Back Department.
If you leave a company and want to come back, be sure you're talking to the right person in the right department. No one was really willing to help me until I got to the right department. Finally someone in Verizon's Win Back Department was a wonderful help. She was very kind and helped me make sure I have what I need to be happy with the company's service.