The price of loyalty

In my case, $6.95 per month.

And the increase of my home broadband from 1,500Kb/sec to 20,000Kb/sec. THAT’s worth alot more to me. The saving of $6.95 per month was just a bonus.

I’ve been a home broadband user since 2000, when I first signed up to Primus Telecoms with a very humble 256Kb/sec ADSL1 Broadband connection which cost me (back than) $49.95 month. Circa 2001, I switched over to the new kid on the block – iiNET, mostly because they offered me 512kB/sec at the same price – still $49.95/month.

Over the course of the next 8 years 11 years, I moved 2 houses and ported successfully with no problems. iiNet were great. In this time, they upgraded me to the shiny new “high speed ADSL1″ at a very rapid 8,000Kb/sec in 2006 and again upgraded me to ADSL2 in 2008 which cruised along at a very nice 24,000Kb/sec. Service across this time period was also excellent. We had a few speed bumps along the way, but they sorted it out and offered credits to my account and so forth as time progressed. It’s nothing that was unexpected and the business was always interested in helping me out.

So earlier this year, when we moved to the country, I rung up iiNet and ported across our home phone and home broadband, having to go through the process of downgrading the internet speed we were on from 24,000Kb/sec back to 1500Kb/sec. I hadn’t realised what a monumental pain that would actually be – not the downgrade and arranging for the port, but the actual reality of living with 1500Kb/sec after being used to downloading a 400Mb episode of True Blood in 10 minutes, as opposed to the 4 to 5 hours – if we were lucky – with our now default speed.

I don’t even watch True Blood – my wife does – but I quickly found out the importance of these Vampire chronicles to her existence when suddenly she couldn’t get her weekly fix and resorted to Facebook to vent her fury at our “slow internet connection”. Suffice to say, you can’t even watch YouTube properly at 1080p HD 1500Kb/sec, so our 3.5 year old son was saying the “internet was broken” when trying to watch Thomas the Tank Engine episodes on the “puter” (read: iPad)

So, not being in a “contract”, it was now high time to upgrade our broadband speed, for our sanity.

Today I had a look at Telstra, Optus, iiNet contacted them all to check what I could do. Telstra could offer me at ADSL2+ at $6.95 month cheaper. I rung iiNet to see if they would match this deal, with their inferior offering of ADSL1+ at 8,000Kb/sec as opposed to Telstra’s enticing ADSL2+ at 24,000Kb/sec. The response I got, after being put on hold for an extended period of time, was no, they wouldn’t match it, not withstanding my 8 years 11 years loyalty, paying my bill on time (and often early) and ringing up on my own time to give them the opportunity.

Bad move. I’ve rung Telstra and sorted out my home broadband and landline, all in 20 minutes and they’ll be doing a rapid churn early next week.

iiNet in reaching #2 nationally for ADSL broadband services and getting to a 2,000+ staff capacity appears to have lost that agile hunger for customer satisfaction. For the sake of matching a $6.95 difference and upgrading my service to match a market leading competitor, they declined.

So iiNet has forfeited some $1,200 per year from me. A regularly paying, loyal customer.

I wonder what the cost of acquisition per customer for them is?

And I’m still paying $49.95 per month for my new ADSL2 + connection with Telstra. Result.

Bad luck iiNet, you had your chance. And blew it.

*** Update: 25/10/11 – iiNet rung be back again today – nice of them to do so and confirmed that I had actually been with them as a customer for not 4.5 years (on the account I had registered with them) but 11 years. Ouch. That’s a long time. They also rung to confirm that they couldn’t move on the pricing set out in stone on their website. Shame. Good customer service, good feedback, but poor adapting to the market.