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Virgin don’t value their existing customers as much as new customers

It’s such a pity we don’t take control, if we all stuck together a said we would leave Virgin would have to listen. If they stopped discounting the new customers so much and stopped hammering their existing customers so much to subsidise the discounts we would maybe stay. I am leaving, I vote with my feet.

 

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Alessandro Volta
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Re: Virgin don’t value their existing customers as much as new customers

... To join another company that treats new customers better than existing customers

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Re: Virgin don’t value their existing customers as much as new customers


@Gregwilson wrote:

It’s such a pity we don’t take control, if we all stuck together a said we would leave Virgin would have to listen. If they stopped discounting the new customers so much and stopped hammering their existing customers so much to subsidise the discounts we would maybe stay. I am leaving, I vote with my feet.

 


What you have to remember is what you want & what your elected representitives want are two different things. They want competiton in the market & measure this by the number of people switching providers. The regulators OFCOM are tasked with making sure this happens. But what is the best way to get people to switch? Make the grass greener on the other side of the fence. Big deals for new customers, & then hammer them so they move on again. So you have the situation you are in, indirectly encouraged by the regulators who take in your complaints & then conveniently forget about them.

The culture is on the change now, but expect the big incentives to switch to slowly dissapear, as many were loss leaders & uneconomic to offer to existing customers.

As a Very Insightful Person, I'm here to share my knowledge. I don't work for Virgin Media.

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Re: Virgin don’t value their existing customers as much as new customers

Great insight from nodgrod, although I'm not sure that much will change - although loss leaders are HUGELY uneconomic, in all industries that customers treat as "commodity" services, the only proven way of recruiting new customers is on price.  And because even a perfect company always loses a proportion of customers each year (around 4% is the minimum), it always needs to acquire customers just to stay around, and it has to do that on price.  In commodity markets like ISPs, insurance, utilities, then the annual churn is 15-25%.  I've worked in a similar sector for a good few years, and it is all very well saying "we'll provide better customer service at a fair price", but ultimately MOST customers will go for the cheapest first year offer.  There's a few, usually smaller companies that do offer better service (in the ISP market, people like AAISP, uno, IDnet, Aquiss, Zen Internet), but they can't offer the deeply discounted year one deals.  If you're running a smaller company, you can make "higher price, better quality" numbers work because you don't need to recruit so many new customers.  If you're in the mass market, then nope, it hasn't ever worked, doesn't work now, and it won't work in future. 

I have worked for a big company (whose name you'd instantly recognise) and the CEO ran a strategy to have better pricing through superior customer service.  Despite a lot of measures to change things to serve customers better, and that (at point of service) the customers rated more highly, our PUBLIC reputation remained as grim as it had always been, and it didn't stop the company losing customers hand over fist.  The CEO in question got the boot.  So discounting for new punters isn't going away, no matter what idiot politicians might desire (arguably politicians offer the same approach of give-aways and over-promise and in the longer term under-deliver). 

Could VM do better for loyal customers even within this market?  Yes.  BT have brought all customer contact to UK call centres, the lazy igts of VM's senior managers need to do the same, and they can take any additional cost out of the mendacious marketing budget.   They could also reward long term loyal customers, by re-instating the retentions discount approach they used to have.  All my original connection costs are long paid off, my share of the upstream infrastructure is long depreciated, I don't give a tinker's cuss about VM's £150m a year new customer marketing, there's no referral or onboarding costs to pay so actually, I don't need or want gigabit internet, so YES, you toerags can and should reward my loyalty.

Behind all of this, though, is the slow and relentless march of Openreach FTTP.  VM have decided that competing on an equal footing isn't some they like or will ever be good at, and as Openreach connect an additional 0.5 per cent of the country to FTTP each month, VM's best hope is simply to fleece customers for as much money as possible before they have the option of Openreach gigabit service (or other private network).  Personally I think that's short term, because people remember the bitterness of poor treatment.  But VM's management think short term around their personal bonus structures, so what we see is all we'll get.  VM could be such a better company than it is, it could have a glowing future, excellent customer service, and the limitations of the DOCSIS technology wouldn't matter.  As it is, the senior management are selling out their own UK employees, their customers, the brand for short term financial advantage.  The Virgin brand is out of the rail business, on current trajectory it will also and deservedly be out of the telecoms business in about five years - for a company that as UK only operation ought to have a market value of around £1.5 billion, that's a shameful reflection on an inadequate management.