• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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The saga of a phantom U-Verse deal

Just yesterday, I found myself calling the AT&T customer service number. The reason for that? The day prior, I was paying the U-Verse (AT&T’s internet option) bill and noticed that AT&T was offering a deal for the 1GB GigaPower network option — for just a dollar more than I was paying for basic internet service.

This is what the link took me to. As the U-Verse link showed, that deal was plain as day. Right?

This U-Verse deal looks legit, right?

The deal seemed like a no brainer. For 36 months, I could relish in the quickest internet option AT&T has to offer. As is my style, I had to have it.

So I called customer service attempting to upgrade the U-Verse service. Forty-five minutes later, I was hanging up up on the sales rep, angry and resentful over all the time I wasted.

Clearly, AT&T was ignorant of the U-Verse deal.

I wasted the first five or so minutes of my call attempting to figure who I needed to speak with by way of a puzzling automated service. My safest best was with U-Verse “customer service.” There, a foreign voice greeted me. She knew nothing of the deal I was speaking of and, after putting me on hold twice, elected to send me over to “technical support.”

The fellow on the other end of “technical support “ knew nothing of the U-Verse deal as well. He asked a ton of questions, to which I continually replied: I just want the deal that’s on the website. After placing me on hold, he prodded me along to “sales.”

My new phone companion could barely audible — interesting, considering it was a phone company I was connected to. That and he seemed as coherent as David Crosby circa Woodstock. The sales rep asked me to explain to him the U-Verse deal I was referring to, all the while insisting there was no such thing in a half baked kind of way. To which I assured him, it was on the website, plain as day.

Time dragged on and, while I was not finding any luck with the Internet, I was offered a discounted rate on TV twice and a more expensive internet with lesser GB – to which I responded by hanging up the phone. Probably not the nicest move, but I was heated.

At this juncture, a thought raced through my hot head: “I should just cancel and go with Time Warner.”

But then, “Time Warner is more expensive than what I have with AT&T.”

So I stayed put. Interesting, huh?

Despite the problems with U-Verse call, I stayed with AT&T.

Switching triggers are important in influencing purchases but they can only be effective if barriers are reduced. With my Internet, the only emotion driving me is price. Even though I was pushed around and made angry for an hour by an inept group of customer service reps, I decided to do nothing about. The idea of cancelling services to join another just seemed worse than what I just went through.

The factors that are driving my Internet choice are primal. My basic needs overshadow any willingness to affiliate with a brand. That’s because none of them hold any deep meaning with me.

Which leads me to this. Internet providers take heed: all you need do to steal share is make your brand emotionally worthwhile to the consumer and reduce barriers, and they’ll find the reasons to switch.

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