This should be obvious, right?

[Insert BIG SIGH here.]

 

There’s a lot of talk these days about “empowered consumers” and what this means for companies. It’s an issue for  pricing and sales, and for what consumers want and expect from the brands we interact with.

We have more information than ever a mouse click, search term, or social scroll away.

There’s a big gap between the empowered consumer and many sales and customer service teams.

Case in point. I was shopping around the other day for information on Internet service providers. Mine has been very reliable–but the price has gone up astronomically. So here’s how the conversations went.

1. Existing provider said they felt my pain. Customer service agent put me on hold for a couple of minutes while he (maybe) went off to see if he could give me a different service or a better price point on this one. Came back and spouted a company line about having only one speed of service and that I was paying the standard rate for that. I told him I was going to cancel. Said he would be sorry to see me go.

The rate I was paying was $7 over the highest rate listed on the company’s Web site. The base rate was 40% lower than what I was paying.

2. Prospective company’s sales guy wants to know what I’m paying now. Not relevant, I reply, I want to know what options you offer. Sales guy asked what provider I have now. (Nice try, same answer.) Then he starts talking about bundled new services–which I say is not what I’m asking about either. Finally, he quotes me a price.

The price he quotes me is 25% higher than the rate listed on the company’s Web site. And it’s for completely unbundled service–and I already have one service through this company.

They must think we’re morons.

Clearly, companies have a long way to go in understanding how the Internet–let alone social platforms–impacts the business/customer relationship.

Photo by macinate (Flickr).