Issue 21, April 2011
In This Issue
- Dialing In by CEO John Marick »
- Rate Plan Enhancements – Get More, Same Price »
- Feature Focus: Usage Alerts Reach 1-Year Anniversary! »
- The Return of Grandparenting Quotes »
- Customer Star: Stephanie & Scott Shuey »
- Your Questions Answered »
- Refer a Friend: An easy $10 for you »
- Consumer Cellular Recognized as 13th Best in Oregon. Read More »
- Consumer Cellular Celebrates Earth Day – Every Day. Read More »
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Put $10 in your pocket! That's what you'll do every time you refer someone who signs up with Consumer Cellular. They'll be happy, too. Not only will they get fantastic cell service at great rates, they'll also get a $10 credit on their first bill. Don’t wait to share the wealth! The best gifts don’t require contracts.
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by John Marick
One of the most famous poems in the English language begins by saying, “April is the cruelest month.” My experience tells me otherwise. April, for me, has always been a delightful month full of promise, change and the newness of things. So, it pleases me to open this issue by telling you about a fantastic change in our rate plans and tell you about something new: We’re giving you more minutes and more Web surfing for the same price. That’s right. You get more but pay the same. We’re also introducing Anywhere 100, a new plan with a low rate that includes minutes. For details, read the story later in this issue or check out our Plans page.
I also want to take this opportunity to recognize three special accomplishments. First, this month marks the one-year anniversary of the introduction of our free Usage Alerts service. We talk more about this unique and very popular customer service later in this issue. I am especially proud of our Usage Alerts program because it is a free service, customers love it, and our alerts ultimately save our customers time and money. Our business analysts estimate in its first year alone Usage Alerts saved customers collectively more than $5 million by enabling them to avoid overage fees. For more information on this service, please visit the Usage Alerts page.
Second, I want to congratulate our wonderful employees. Consumer Cellular was recently honored as the 13th best large company to work for in the state of Oregon. Companies were ranked by Oregon Business Magazine based on employer and employee job satisfaction scores, as well as the results of a survey describing company benefits and workplace policies. We’re one of the best because of the people we hire and the caring culture we foster. I may be biased but I think we have the best employees and the best customers.
Lastly, I’d like to remind everyone that April 22 is Earth Day. We’re pleased to be part of an on-going effort to reduce our carbon footprint and help save this planet. We recycle almost all of our shipping by-products, and have substantially reduced our paper billing. For more on our green effort, please read the article later in this issue.
Here at Consumer Cellular, we like to say we’re “Simply Different” — and I believe we are — but I also believe that motto applies to how we treat our customers and each other. In whatever we do, we seek to be responsible partners. We really do care.
For more comments and industry insights from John, read his latest blog.
Web surfing’s up, Dude! We’re adding more Web surfing to every Connect! plan for the same low price. If you’re paying $2.50 a month for data and getting 2 megabytes of memory, we’re doubling your data limit and giving you 4 megabytes. Whoa, gnarly. This means you can do more Web browsing. We also pumped up our 15 megabytes plan to 20, our 30 to 40, and our 75 to 100! Best of all, we’re not increasing our price.
That’s not all. We’re giving all of our existing $20 and up voice plans more minutes. Our $20 voice plans now include 300 minutes instead of 250, our $30 voice plans jump from 500 minutes to 700, and so on. We’re giving you more minutes for the same price you’ve been paying. More for the same… how cool is that?
And, we’re introducing a new plan option called the Anywhere 100 plan. For just $15 a month, you will get our regular, superior service and 100 anytime-any day minutes each month. This means if you are currently on our basic $10 plan, for a mere $5 more a month you’ll get 100 minutes of call time.
To check out our new plan and rate enhancements visit the Plans page.
Usage Alerts Reach 1-Year Anniversary!
We rolled out Usage Alerts, our innovative and free opt-in service designed to help our customers avoid unnecessary overage fees, in April of 2010. So, how did our first year go? To find out, we had our business analysts look at the impact of our Usage Alerts program over its initial 11-month period and the results even surpassed our expectations. Nearly 100 percent of our customers have Usage Alerts enabled, and about half of those received alerts notifying them they were approaching their plan’s minutes at one time or another during the year. And, 82 percent of those customers changed plans within 24 hours of receiving an alert.
However, the number we are most proud of is the amount of money our customers saved when they received an alert and changed their plan or service. Are you ready for this? We projected our customers collectively saved… $5,275,348! That is a huge savings, especially for a free service. Please note, the number is a close estimate and is based on available invoice and usage data.
It is not just the numbers that spoke so loudly about our program’s success. We also heard from many of you during the year, specifically giving a shout-out to the service. Perhaps Patricia B., from Tempe, Arizona, summarized it best when she said: “LOVING this phone, the service, and the usage alerts! Keep up the good work!”
Unlike most other cellular companies, we’ll let you change your rate plan retroactively up to the last day of your billing cycle. This means you can lock in the best pricing for the month, even when the month is almost over. You can change your plan as often as you like and we won’t charge you a change fee. Now that’s a service worth celebrating, every day of the year!
For more details on this free service, please visit the Usage Alerts page.
Here are just 5 more of our favorite comments from last year’s Grandparent’s Day essays:
I wouldn't trade the joys of grandparenting for anything in the world.
My grandfather is 89 years old and a WWII veteran. He served in the United States Army. He was a huge influence in my life and helped to build the morals, ethics and values in me that I still live by today.
As a grandparent, I embody the family's collective memory, sharing stories that reveal the nature of their parents' lives and of my own.
I hope that my life will be as much of a testament to others as the life of my grandfather has been to me.
Life restarts when you become a grandparent.
Our Grandparenting 2011 contest opens in August, so stay tuned for details. To read last year’s entries, go to Grandparents Gallery.
Stephanie & Scott Shuey
For the Shueys, Stephanie and Scott, the expression “If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t” has new meaning. Since discovering and joining Consumer Cellular in September 2009, they’ve learned that even unbelievably good things can be true.
They both crunch numbers at work, Scott as a Credit Analyst and Stephanie as a Payroll Administrator, and pay close attention to what things cost. Cell phone users since 1999, they also don’t need or want to spend a lot on their wireless service at this time. That’s why with their previous carrier they subscribed to the least expensive plan, lowest number of allowed minutes, and cheapest texting package — and yet they were still paying nearly $100 a month.
“Consumer Cellular's lower plan prices really caught my eye,” said Stephanie. “Plus, I love how you can change your plan to fit your needs — whenever you want! Consumer Cellular saves us over $50 a month with no strings and no contracts.”
The couple began service with Consumer Cellular’s 250 minute plan but after Stephanie started an Avon business in her spare time, they upgraded to the 500 minute plan. Scott opted for the free Motorola phone, while Stephanie, attracted to the Samsung’s computer-like keyboard, selected the Samsung A177.
But it’s not all about an affordable price tag with the Shueys; they also expect and deserve good customer service.
“With our old cellular service, I'd be on hold for 30 minutes before I spoke to someone (who I couldn't understand anyway), and then I'd be transferred another three times (and have to wait on hold a lot longer) before the issue was resolved (if at all),” said Stephanie.
Now every time she emails Consumer Cellular, she receives a quick, to-the-point response. And, whenever she calls, the company representatives are always polite and efficient. Best of all, she never has to wait on hold.
“I've told all of my friends how happy I am with Consumer Cellular. I brag about you all the time, actually. =) I tell them about how friendly and efficient your customer service is. And, I go on and on about how wonderful it is that I can change the plan whenever I want, without penalties or contracts,” summarized Stephanie.
Sound too good to be true? Just ask the Shueys of Pennsylvania.
How do I enable Usage Alerts to manage my usage?
It is very easy to set up. Just log in to My Account and click “Manage Usage Alerts Settings.” Choose your alert type (email, text message, or both). That’s all there is to it. And you can change them anytime. The alerts are free — we won’t even charge you for the text messages. Not only that, unlike other cell phone companies, we let you change your plan retroactively to the start of your current bill period so you can get the best possible pricing.
Remember, we are here to help you learn how to get the most value out of your phone and plan. Just call us at 1-888-345-5509 or visit us online and view our How-To Videos or see the answers to our most frequently asked questions.
Consumer Cellular Recognized as 13th Best Company to Work For in Oregon
Oregon Business Magazine’s annual list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in Oregon ranked Consumer Cellular as the 13th best large company in the state, the highest ranking of any wireless service provider and 12 spots ahead of T-Mobile. The survey placed us in good company. In just the past eight years, 190,000 employees from 936 companies have taken the free, anonymous survey that ranks their satisfaction with their workplaces.
Our final ranking was based on employer and employee job satisfaction scores, as well as the results of a survey describing company benefits and workplace policies. While the survey was only completed by Oregon employees, we think the results apply to the entire company since we offer the same benefits, culture and working environment.
Earth Day 2011, celebrated on April 22, recognizes the positive impact of millions of individual actions, such as recycling cell phones and batteries. This year they’re calling it “A Billion Acts of Green®” and the goal is to inspire and reward simple acts that further the goal of supporting sustainability.
Since inception in 2007, our Phone Recycling Program has received over 83,000 phones. The proceeds from our phone recycling effort resulted in $83,340 donated to Doernbecher Children's Hospital/Children’s Miracle Network!
And, we continue to reduce our corporate carbon footprint in other ways. In fact, 99 percent of our shipping by-products are recycled and 59 percent of our customers are on email or standard billing, which either eliminates or significantly reduces paper consumption. What’s next? We’ll be installing additional motion sensor lights throughout our Portland facility, which will also help lower our energy consumption.