Everything's Relative

I don't think it's just me. I don't believe I am the only person in New Zealand who won't deal with Telecom unless there is no other choice - and quite often, there is no other choice - they have had a monopoly for years, and in some areas they still hold all the strings.

But one thing they are really good at is having terrible Public Relations.

Stories such as the widow who had to pay $45 to have her late husband's initials removed from the white pages listings because Telecom "couldn't have a contract with a dead person" are not unusual for this hulking great corporation.

Their advertising schemes seem to do nothing for their image either. Recall when they first introduced capped national and international phone calls - amazing to be able to telephone Australia for $5 and the USA/UK/Canada for $10 talk all you want!! Oh yes, and we did. We got into the habit of making International telephone calls off peak and talked for_ever. Then, after they felt the habit had been established, they tried to yank the deal, quietly, after 3 or 4 months. Customers began to realise they had huge toll charges, not having realised the offer had ended and complained. (If i remember correctly - and Lord knows I couldn't remember my way out of a paper bag even if MegaMemory was on the *inside*) Telecom tried to enforce the bills but the Commerce Commission said Telecom had offered the deal for so long, it was no longer a "deal" but a "rate" and Telecom had to abide by it until the end of the year. So they did, and continued until the end of the year and then changed it to "talk for up to 2 hours".

So it's no real surprise that Telecom's inititive to woo the lucrative txting market to their dark side has had them adjust their offer. Last year, Telecom offered a $10 per month txt-all-you-want deal to their 025 and 027 customers, luring txt-crazy customers away from Vodafone, who's smart media campaigns and clever business model was taking more and more of the cellular/prepay market by the day.

And it worked for Telecom. Lots of people switched. Hung up their 021's and went for the txting capped rate and started exercising their thumbs like never before. So much so, in fact, that now Telecom is saying "whoa" and capping the number of txts you can send per month to 500.

Now, I'm not a txt'r. I don't txt naturally. I can't abbreviate my "are"s and "you"s to "r"s and "u"s and I need to use all the punctuation available. Everyone of my txts is a hand crafted message that takes me between 20 and 30 minutes to make because I am a hardened chatter and txting's just *too slow*. So to me, the idea of 500 txts, (16 per day) is plenty. But to your average txting teen/twentysomething, 500 is only enough for a couple of days MAXIMUM - and when they've used their 500 they will be to spending .20 cents per message like they used to before the special rate - and that works out extremely expensive for your average non-working habitual-txting student. As you can well imagine, this news did not go down well to those who changed services lured by the $10/month special.

Last night, on the news, two young teenaged girls were interviewed over the change in Telecom's offer. When asked what they thought of the change one said "I was so mad, I had to txt people. Lots of people" she went on to say something like "We're gonna find out where these people are and go and get angry and chain ourselves to stuff.. and stuff".

Kevin Kenrick, of Telecom was also interviewed and had some interesting statistics that spun the reasons for the change. He said 5 % of the $10 txting customers were txt bombing those ones without the $10 rate. He also said that last month's highest user sent around 27,000 txts. That's a lot of txts - and it's also a lot of money Telecom's missing out on.

I'm thinking it has less to do with txt bombing or bullying or anything else other than the Marketing Department was charged with getting as many people as possible away from Vodafone - they came up with a scheme that did just that - then the Accounts Department saw how much money *wasn't* coming in from txting, and they also saw an huge increase in the amount of paper they had to buy in for the detailed accounts and said _cut_it_out_. I think the techies might have been up in arms about the pressure to the networks that service texting, but no one really cares about techies when accountants are about.

So folks, let this be a lesson for you - when Telecom come a-woo'n, remember they have a track record of thinking they're smarter than you, so stick with the service providers who treat you like the valued customers you are, no matter what temporary gilded carrot Telecom dangles in front of your nose.

(I find stories about companies I don't like by reading an online news service I don't like.. heh.. this is mostly due to the fact I'm not getting out into the world much at the moment)

Reporting yesterday that Lana Coc-Kroft was "feeling better" had me thinking she was awake, and speaking, and still poorly but visibly improved. Today's report in the Herald reminds me that everything is relative - she's breathing on her own again but still in a coma, and that's an improvement. I hope she keeps improving.