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Dropping the ball and losing a customer

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Well, Verizon...

I wish I could say that I'm surprised that I can't contact your customer service through email, or that I'm surprised that contacting your customer service by phone is increasingly difficult.  But considering the general downward spiral of Verizon Wireless customer service, I am, sadly, not surprised at all.

Just over a month ago, with six weeks remaining in my contract, I went to a Verizon store with an increasingly inoperative Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.  Every update the phone received over the two years I'd had it had rendered it more and more of a brick.  It was agonizingly slow, prone to freezing, unresponsive, and no longer reliable at all.  It couldn't hold on to a WiFi signal, shut down randomly, and often simply wouldn't do what I asked it to - including answering or making phone calls.  The associate at the store with whom I spoke took my phone and tried several things on it - she expressed surprise at how slow it was and that it was not reading the store's WiFi.  She checked the apps and said there was nothing on the phone that should be causing an issue, that the phone apparently was just malfunctioning.  I told her that my husband and daughter would be traveling a considerable distance, due to a health crisis his mother was going through.  An unreliable phone was not acceptable, as I was unable to travel with them, but needed to be available to them at a moment's notice.  Having a phone that refused to pick up or place a call simply would not work.   I inquired about an early upgrade, as I was incredibly close to my renewal date.  I was ready to sign a new 2 year contract, willing to pay any upgrade fees, and to keep my upgrade date as the future date for my next upgrade.  She told me "We stopped doing that several years ago."  No, you didn't - my cousin and a friend of mine got early upgrades last year and this year, both of them further from renewal than I was.  She offered me the Verizon Edge program, which I have no interest in as it's not a better deal (in fact, it's actually worse) for me.  That was it - that was all she could tell me.  She offered to replace my phone, as I'd been paying the insurance on it.  With no other option, I agreed.  While I did receive the replacement phone quickly, it was *not* an improvement.  And that's putting it mildly.  The new phone was even worse, almost straight out of the box. It takes multiple minutes for email or a browser to open.  Texting is virtually impossible.  Updating an app causes the entire system to bog down and stop responding to anything.  It freezes. It refuses to move past the lock screen. It refuses to turn on.  It says there's no internet connection, when there clearly is. Apps constantly just "stop responding."  The amount of data I lost because certain apps couldn't communicate with this phone is astonishing.  This, clearly, has gone from a flagship phone to one that has been abandoned by developers, the maker, and carrier.  When I was sent a Verizon survey, I answered honestly and said I was incredibly disappointed.  I received an email and a voice mail from the store manager, asking me to get back to her so that she could discuss an upgrade plan for which I was eligible.  I called the store, but she wasn't in when I did. I left a message with the person who answered the phone, asking them to thank her for responding to me, but that I wasn't interested in the Verizon Edge program, as I'd already stated. I didn't hear anything else - which isn't exactly a complaint, as there clearly wasn't anything else to tell me.  I understand that everyone I dealt with was simply following corporate policy, and didn't really have a choice in the matter.
You had an opportunity here, Verizon. I've been a loyal customer for 10 years.  I was ready to continue to be a loyal customer, even though your prices have risen to the point where I now pay almost twice as much for Verizon as I would for another service provider.  You could have not only kept a customer, but had that customer be one of the most powerful things available to any company - a positive word of mouth advertiser.  Instead, I walked out of that store disgruntled and stressed.  As I've dealt with a lousy phone over the past 6 weeks, through various times when a functional, reliable phone would have been a wonderful thing to have and would have earned you even more positive feedback, I've gotten more and more disgusted.  Needless to say, my word of mouth has not been positive.  Once, your prices were fairly reasonable, your cell service was great and your customer service unbeatable.  No longer.  And once, I was a loyal Verizon customer.  No longer.  My contract is up, and I am narrowing down which carrier I will be switching to soon.  I am sad to go, Verizon, and sorry this didn't work out, but honestly - it's not me, it's you.

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