Call me old fashioned, but I have always been trained do everything in my power, within the bounds of sanity and cost, to enhance customer relationships.  So it came as a bit of a shock when I spoke recently to O2.  We had had truly awful service for some time and the monthly deal was poor value compared with others on offer.  We were out of contract, so had already made the decision to move to another provider.

I called to cancel the contract and get a PAC number.  Having spoken at some length to the first helpline person, I was transferred to the contract termination line.  Already irritated by the unnecessary waste of time, I was then told that this person could offer me a much better deal and certainly better than anything I would get from other parts of O2 or from a retailer.

So the strategy appears to be something like this.  Allow existing loyal customers to pay over the odds and treat them like dirt, until they become so brassed off that they want to cancel the contract.  Then, at the last moment, offer the best possible deal available to attract them back and lock them in.

My response to this was to say that they could offer it for free and I wouldn’t accept a deal on those terms.

How about an alternative strategy?  Track your customers and call them up when they are just about to run out of contract.  Analyse their usage and give them an outstanding deal that not only provides better value than before, but also thanks them for their loyalty.  Would this lead to more satisfied customers?  Would it build a solid, long-term relationship?  Would it produce word of mouth recommendations?  I think so.