Making concessions

If you knew you could keep a customer’s business by doing something outside your normal business practices — something that would not take additional time or expense — would you do it?

That opportunity presented itself to my cable television and cable modem provider, and the company chose not to go out of its way for me, a customer of several years paying for a complete package of services.

The situation started when my cable modem went down. I waited a few hours, and when service was not restored, I called the company to see whether I was part of an outage. I was not.

The technician asked me to reset the modem, which didn’t work. He told me it would be six days before a service person could repair it.

That was unacceptable because I need access to the Internet for my work, but I felt maybe there was something we could do to get up and running.

My husband spent several hours that night trying different things (he’s a computer guy by profession) with no success. We tried resetting the modem several times. Finally he decided the modem itself was not working.

I had an idea: Maybe the cable company would allow me to bring my old modem in and get a new one. That would save it the time and expense of a service call, and I would have my service restored much sooner.

When I called the company, the service representative said the modems were not stored at that location, but in the service technician’s vehicles. I asked if a technician could drop off a new modem — saving the company the time and expense of a service call — but again I was told I had to wait six days.

I felt a manager could arrange something better, and asked to have a manager call me. I was told he or she would call me as soon as possible. When several hours passed and the manager did not call me back, I called a competitor and was pleased to learn that not only could it install new service in two days, but the same services we had been getting from the first company were $20 a month cheaper from the second.

I disconnected the old service and have had no trouble since the new service was installed. Yet the other company could’ve saved our business had it taken action outside normal business policies.