Do You Love Your Phone Company?
A few years ago I wrote an article that started with these words: “Everyone hates the phone company.” But every time I write on the topic of mobile phone providers, the feedback from AskBob readers is loud and clear: “We Love Consumer Cellular!” I've been a Verizon customer for 20 years, so I decided to take a closer look at Consumer Cellular and find out why folks think it's so great. Read on to see what this mobile phone company does that others do not...
Consumer Cellular Review
Consumer Cellular has taken the road less traveled, and it has led to great success for this mobile communications provider. Revenues reached $1 billion in 2016, and the company now employs over 1,000 people. Even more impressive is Consumer Cellular’s wall full of customer service awards from the like of Consumer Reports and J. D. Powers & Associates.
The company pioneered the no-contract business model, in which customers are free to change their plans or terminate service at any time without penalties. That meant Consumer Cellular had to keep customers by satisfying them, not by threatening them. From its founding, the company has focused on providing low-cost, high quality phone service and excellent personalized customer services. What a concept!
Rather than compete for high-value business customers and others who use their phones constantly, Consumer Cellular tailors its offerings to casual users. It has plans that include voice service only, starting at $15/month for 250 minutes, or $20 for unlimited minutes. Its text-and-data add-ons start at $25/month for 500 MB of data and unlimited texts, and range up to 15 GB for $50. An "unlimited shared data" is offered for $60/month. Those prices are for a single line, and there are significant discounts for households with 2 or 3 lines. Currently they are offering a promotion: if you sign up by the end of September 2020, your first month is free.
It’s no accident that all Consumer Cellular customer service agents are based in the USA. The sound of a familiar voice speaking one’s native tongue builds trust immediately, and prevents many miscommunications that have frustrated customers who deal with foreign call centers.
Business really took off in 2008, when Consumer Cellular became the AARP’s preferred wireless service provider. AARP members get 5% off their monthly service bills and accessories. Today, more than 85% of Consumer Cellular’s customers are age 50 or older. The company had 3.5 million customers at the end of 2019.
According to BestMVNO.com, Consumer Cellular is a MVNO, a reseller of mobile service from both AT&T and T-Mobile, which gives them excellent coverage and reliable high-speed LTE data in most areas. (MVNO stands for "Mobile Virtual Network Operator," a mobile provider that buys wholesale minutes, data and text from AT&T, Verizon, or T-mobile, to resell to consumers.)
What About the Phones?
Flip phones with big pushbuttons are very popular among Consumer Cellular customers. But that doesn’t mean that all Consumer Cellular offers is “grandparent phones.” You can choose from a range of phones, from the $30 Consumer Cellular Link, to the latest iPhone 11 Pro. The latter costs $1000, but you only need $80 down; the rest is spread over 24 months, interest-free. A credit check is required, payments are automatically charged to a credit/debit card, and if service is terminated early the balance due for the phone is charged to the card. Smartphones from Samsung, Motorola, ZTE, and Doro are also available.
Other hardware includes the Grandpad, a simple tablet aimed at seniors, and a wireless home phone base that works with standard wired phones, no wall jack required (but a power outlet is needed). This allows you to put a phone almost anywhere in the house, including the garage; you can even take your home phone on vacaction.
I checked out Consumer Cellular's rating at the Better Business Bureau website, and at first I was surprised that only 20% of the reviews there were positive. But then I remembered that BBB is a place where unhappy customers go to complain and get satisfaction. The good news is that Consumer Cellular has earned an A+ rating with BBB after 25 years in business. That means that at least 97% of the time, the company was able to resolve customer issues in timely manner, or make a good faith effort to do so.
Consumer Cellular’s dominance of customer-satisfaction surveys is well establshed. The company has won Consumer Reports’ top rating among no-contract carriers in six of the past seven years. PC Magazine readers rated Consumer Cellular the best carrier from 2014 to 2020. J. D. Power surveys have rated Consumer Cellular first in customer satisfaction among cellular carriers for the past nine years.
If you are unhappy in your relationship with your mobile service provider, maybe it's time to break up with them. You just might fall in love with Consumer Cellular. I have no relationship with the company, just thought you'd like to know. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 3 Sep 2020
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Do You Love Your Phone Company? (Posted: 3 Sep 2020)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved