It now appears — though we continue to wait for “official” word — that Verizon Wireless will be offering its own version of the iPhone as early as Feb. 3.
But when it comes, whenever that is, I hope Verizon will consider a serious proposal.
We know you’re getting the iPhone. We know it’s only a matter of time. For some places, you can expect a lot of people to make the switch from that other company that previously held exclusivity with the iPhone.
But there’s a little problem among your existing customers; in particular, I’m referring to a group of newer Verizon customers who had every intention of waiting out your version of the iPhone, but found themselves unable to because of a growing number of missed calls and voicemails from a faulty system that made the iPhone, as great a phone as it is, little more than a fancy mp3 player.
We made the switch to Verizon before you had the iPhone because we found ourselves without an alternative: it’s amazing how intolerant some bosses can be when it comes to not being able to reach their employees in a pinch.
Some of us are still getting used to the concept of being able to pick up our Verizon-powered phone and being able to immediately make a call without having to walk outside. What a concept it is. We’d forgotten what that was like. We like it.
But at the same time, we’re sort of stuck.
We’re new customers who loved our iPhones, but were forced to go with something else we don’t like nearly as much so that we had something. And we’re told, at least at the moment, that it’ll be some time in 2012 before we’re eligible to get a new phone at the same discounted price you’ll no doubt offer to customers buying your new iPhone.
Here’s my proposal: offer those customers who’ve made the switch to Verizon within the past nine months or so — or maybe within the past year — a special deal: let us buy the iPhone at the same discounted price you’ll be offering new customers, but with one simple catch: give us the same “New in Two” feature on the contract so we can upgrade to the next great iPhone two years from now, but then add an extra year to our existing contract.
Hypothetically: Let’s say that a customer made the switch last September, and has a two-year contract that ends in September 2012. You get your version of the iPhone this month. The customer gets to buy the iPhone for the same discount a new Verizon customer would, they are eligible for a new phone the same time a new Verizon customer would be. But his new agreement locks him in through September of 2013.
(That’s assuming, of course, that the world actually doesn’t end in December of 2012. I don’t think it will.)
Those of us who really miss our little iPhones won’t mind the extra year of commitment. And we get our preferred mobile device back, and with it, all of the options and convenience we were used to, that is either not completely available on other devices or that involve too many cumbersome steps by comparison.
Plus, you are assured longer-lasting customers (or a higher early termination fee) for those who had to make the switch sooner than they’d have liked.
Those of us who were forced into making the switch don’t forget lousy service. But what we are more likely to remember even longer is service that goes above and beyond.
You stand on the edge of new opportunity to lock in satisfied customers for even longer than they’ve already agreed to be locked in. In this economy, you shouldn’t ignore such a chance.