Mediacom's recent 4-page glossy mailing is a great example of a company communicating solely within their own echo-chamber. And when their message slips out into the public, well, you just have to laugh and say:
Their unintended comedy began with their offer:
- Lock-In Great Rates for the Next Two Years...(Ask ATT customer's how that 2-year service lock works for them.)
- the rates for this special offer were 25% higher than what we pay now
- their bandwidth speeds were 6-7 times slower than what we receive now.
Our town is fortunate to have FIOS provided by LISCO.
That's right. We have fiber to the home. That gives us speeds of 80-90 megs up/down. I've seen them higher.
And Lisco offers great customer service, too.
But, Mediacom doesn't know that? Or do they think we don't know that?
But their offer's fine print is what made me burst our laughing. Here's a few lines:
A 24 month contract is required for the new customer.
A company who can deliver great service to customers doesn't need to lock them in. You lock customers into 2-year contracts because you have not been able to serve them...are not ready to serve them (see ATT) and you know rates will continue to drop, bandwidth speeds will continue to rise, and you still won't be able to keep up. And the customers will find out.
Our Fios is a month-to-month contract. And they installed it on-time, arriving when they said they would unlike needing to spend a whole day waiting for your installers to arrive.
The package prices for Digital Cable, Mediacom Online and phone for new customers will increase $25.00 per month after 12 months.
No, seriously. That's the exact wording. You're already overpriced and under-delivered. And now, after locking your customers into over-priced and under-delivered services you want to increase those rates...
Here's where the spin in the offer became well, planetary, and their believability began to spin-out:
During the term of your promotional offer, if Mediacom raises the rates for our product offerings Mediacom also reserves the right to pass along the same rate increase to you.
Whoa. Give that PR agency a bonus for that spin. Does your head spin, too? Mine did. That's a company referring to itself in the 3rd party to justify raising its prices to itself in order to raise its rates to...you.
A termination fee applies for early cancellation.
Any word on what that termination fee might be? Or has Mediacom not notified Mediacom of the penalties for Mediacom's service to be cancelled by Mediacom?
If you are not 100% satisfied with any Mediacom service, disconnect during the first 30 days, we will provide a full refund of your monthly service fee upon request....
So...we can cancel after the first 30 days and receive a full refund of that month's charges but we face an unknown termination fee for that same early cancellation?
That Mediacom continues to stay in business is nearing the definition for an Act of God clause. There is no explanation and no protection for their customers, either.
But other companies can learn from their mistake. Here's some very basic and obvious steps:
Ask your customers. Assume your customers know as much if not more about your industry than you do. They have no vested interests other than their needs being met.
Ask them if they what they think your contract terms mean. Ask them if they want these terms. Ask them what terms do they want? Ask them why they leave, why they stay. Use the Net Promoter Score. It's a simple, 3-question survey answered in the customer's words why they recommend you or why they refuse. There's your marketing plan in their language.
Ask your employees. They hear from the customers.
Ask them if they can explain your service terms to each other and their customers.
Ask them what customers want, what they don't want, why they leave. There's your marketing plan in language that they hear customers use.
Ask your partners. That's tricky with Mediacom. Mediacom sees Mediacom as an almost adversarial partner with Mediacom. And, that might explain many things. But, with you, ask them if your terms of service make sense to them. Ask them if they can provide what your employees and customers tell you they want. If they can't....find new partners. Mediacom might have this conversation:
Mediacom: I said to myself, Self I need a new partner.
Mediacom: No, you can't say that without prior permission. I reserved the right to say the same thing to myself.
Bottomline, ask somebody outside your echo chamber. They'll know. They'll believe you when you include them in your conversations.