I said last week that I would take advantage of my amazing Alexa rank of 400 in Guatemala to write a big rant about my internet provider, Tigo, and will do that in Spanish this week, not only to spare my dear readers but also so that everyone here knows what a bunch of crooked thieves they are. But as I just made my yearly phone call to my UK internet provider to keep me on a 50% discount, I realized what a gap there is between the two companies and how you can learn how to run your business… or not.
The very best: O2 Broadband UK
O2 belongs to Telefónica, a Spanish group that overs telecommunications all over Europe. I have had a blissful relationship with them for the past 4 years, since I bought my flat in the UK. Every year, I call them and ask them to keep my broadband package at half price, in exchange for my loyalty for the next 12 months. Apart from a beginner once, every operator has smoothly obliged. If they don’t, hang up and call back, the next person will.
With O2, I pay £17.75, or close to $30 for unlimited high speed broadband, and a landline. The cost is about half and half for each item. If you have an O2 mobile, you can get a further £5 discount. If you join using a cashback site like Quidco, you will get some of your money back on top! At the moment there is a promotion for £40 cashback, or just over 2 months free.
The full price broadband is not competitive, Talk Talk or Tesco are much cheaper but as I said earlier, they happily renew the 50% discount every year.
O2 has on top of that one of the best customer service. And a super witty Twitter account. I have not had to deal with customer service a great deal, since they have always provided me with a great connection. But when I upgraded to a better package, they had to send me a router that never got there. No sweat, the sent a new one. They also have a little live chat that you can use to help you setup your internet. And calling them is free, so you can take your time.
One more thing I like with O2 is how simple everything is. There is no jargon, emails and bills are clear to understand, and you can manage everything online easily.
By making it so simple, they make it hard to leave them. Every year I think I should change provider to get a better new customer deal and some cashback, and then I feel so good with them I don’t mind the little extra on my bill. On the other hand, I change my electric supplier almost every year.
Now, on to the worst provider ever, Tigo Guatemala
From day 1, I knew getting internet access with Tigo would be no picnic in the park. I bought a 3G modem, with 2 weeks access included. Good thing we tried it in the shop, because it didn’t activate the promotion. The girl who attended me told me to go home, wait 24 hours and try again. Yeah, sure. I live one hour away, go to town every 10 days, and will go home with a broken USB modem. I told her no one would buy a faulty item and leave, so it took another hour of raising my voice and talking to the manager to eventually go home with another modem.
Then the two weeks ran out, and I bought a $20 monthly package that came with 1Go of “high speed” data, and according to their very own website “when you reach the limit, you will be able to navigate for the remainder of time at a slower speed”. After 7 days, my monthly package was blocked, and no slower speed to be seen. The “high speed” was pretty much nonexistent for the first week too.
All my attempts to communicate with customer services were vain, they said they are changing their packages, and there is no more surfing once you used up your allowance. Fine, but one month later, their website is still saying the contrary. It must be illegal in so many ways, and they are coning you into buying something that is not what they will give you. To make things worse, their data count is not reliable, if I download 150Mo of data, and do nothing else in the meanwhile, their meter says I used about 50% more.
They take advantage of the fact that in Guatemala, very few people really know about those things, and just assume a bad service is the norm. All their customer team employees have one word in their mouth “sorry, what you ask for is impossible”. Impossible to ask to get what I paid for? They have an army of sheep saying that all day to customers so people give up and keep paying for their lousy services.
Now I buy weekly packages that are $10, making my monthly charge over $40 for a slow, unreliable internet connection. I plan on changing provider as soon as possible.
It applies to any business
Here are two examples of how you could run the exact same business. You should remember all the time that your boss is not your boss, it is your customers, because the day you have no customers, no one will pay your salaries. O2 does everything to make the experience as pleasant as possible for its customer, and can even charge above market for that privilege. Tigo Guatemala is just trying to rip off people, until the day another company starts providing good service and they will be left with nothing.
Are you happy to pay a premium for a product with stellar customer service?
This post was featured on the Outlier Model, thank you!