Verizon, which has once again shown us what large corporations should not be doing when it comes to customer service.It is easier to seek forgiveness than it is to get permission according to
David Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto and the more recent Everything is Miscellaneous received a letter today from Verizon. A "legalistic pamphlet" that informed him he has 45 days to opt out of 'agreeing' to let Verizon share his personal information.
Weinberger, unlike the majority of us who rarely read the associated paraphernalia that arrives with bills and the like, noticed that Verizon's modus operandi was to share Customer Proprietary Network Information - the data created as a result of your relationship with Verizon Wireless - unless you ask them to stop.
This information includes "services purchased (including specific calls you make and receive), billing info, technical info and location info. They promise to only share this with 'affiliates, agents and parent companies.' It will definitely not be shared with 'unrelated third parties' ... unless, perhaps that third party pays Verizon to become an affiliate, whatever the heck 'affiliate' means," Wienberger wrote.
While getting this in the mail is great, what about those people who only receive electronic copies from Verizon? Did they too receive a message? I didn't, so I decided to investigate, and sure enough, after logging into my Verizon Wireless account I couldn't find a mention of the CPNI. As Weinberger pointed out, there is a link to it in my messages, but alas, as he also mentions, the link is "not available."
Verizon has not been having a great run recently. Sure, in January Microsoft opened its wallet to Verizon and struck a five year partnership with the wireless carrier in hopes of getting access to its more than 80 million subscribers, but what if those subscribers begin to slowly dwindle away?
Verizon was dealt a blow last month when the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied the company's request to overturn a decision by the Federal Communications Commission regarding its marketing tactics. Earlier this month the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission decided Verizon's customer service "stinks" and sought a settlement to improve customer service. Next week, Delaware customers with complaints about their telecommunications service will have the opportunity to air them during the states Public Service Commission hearings.
Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell, in discussing next week's public forum said the company still does not believe the hearings are necessary. "There were some issues we did have, but we worked through those, in collaboration with the commission staff, and made great improvements," he said.
While they may have fixed the problems associated with gripes about their old copper pipes in Delaware, they clearly haven't yet addressed their customer service issues.
For a company that prides itself on operating the nation's most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, and spends an absolute fortune on creating masterful ads (YouTube link) to entertain us, it clearly still has a way to go. Perhaps it's time the company started putting some of its energy into the Twitter account it set up, and got up close and personal to its community and their needs.
Note: David Weinberger's post walks you through the process of opting out of Verizon's 'share your information' default setting. If you haven't done it yet, we highly recommend you do.