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Replying to:  In your opinion, why hasn't US Cellular had the growth in customers? by yourvoiceofreason   Sep 12, 2011, 2:53 PM

Re: In your opinion, why hasn't US Cellular had the growth in customers?

by Anonymously    Oct 1, 2011, 10:11 PM

U.S. Cellular's state of mind has and always will be, "We're NOT a nationwide carrier and we have no interest in being one." Those words came out of Jack Rooney's mouth on more than one occasion.

Fast forward a few years and you'll see the U.S. Cellular of today. Having stumbled backwards through the past five years of rushing lackluster phones to market and undertaking a branding scheme that confused its associates more than its customers, U.S. Cellular's customer base sits at or below the level it did in the years prior.

If you think that the loss of customers and constant defeat from more powerful competition is not weighing heavily on everyone from frontline reps to senior leaders, you're gravely mistaken. Nearly every conversation consists of backtracking on promises from the past and pounding associates about ever increasing quotas and dwindling traffic in stores.

The average retail consultant is now responsible for: converting EVERYONE to the new Belief Plans, making sure every eligible customer is renewing (even though the pay levels are severely lower), looking at EVERY account they come in contact with (today and in the past 6-12 months) to try to upsell them on plans/features they've already turned down, "taking care" of every customer whether it be bill credits or free early upgrades/phones (i.e. BEG them to stay), manage a rolodex of local businesses and cold call/visit the hell out of them every day, contact customers over the phone who've had recent upgrades or new service and once again attack them for additional business, sell a data package to every customer although the plans are tailored to offer only two options, wear logo wear outside of work hours and beg people to take your business card when you're in line at the grocery store, etc. All of this while everyone from the area sales managers up to Mary Dillon sit back and scheme up new ways to convince associates that "working a little bit harder" will pay off in the end, and convince customers that "paying a little bit more" shows enough value to jump from $99/mo. to $149/mo.

Why has U.S. Cellular had little to no growth over the past few years? Simple. It was and always will be a customer service company. They didn't provide an actual product until recently. Now, it's too late to get into the game. I don't care how many "cutting edge" phones you bring out or how many times you brainwash your associates into believing in "something better", it's too late.

When the Belief Project launched, conversations went from, "Our competition? Well, we just have to show the customers how we take better care of them..." to, "What competition? We're the only wireless carrier that matters!" Then, people stopped walking in the door and it was the burden of the retail associate to bring them back in, sell them overpriced plans, and get them into phones that had more software issues than the actual amount of units sold.

At this point, the company would typically be swallowed by another massive carrier but as you already know, it's not desirable enough to net a sale. So you will hear a bunch more failed attempts at relevancy by U.S. Cellular in the future and then it will become just another stepping stone that was skipped by most consumers in the United States.

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