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Little Positive About AT&T Plus Promotion

07/19/2012

AT&T introduced a new loyalty program in March. Known as AT&T Plus, the program would offer a “preferential” customer support number, waived upgrade fees, waived activation fees on a second line, and 25 percent off non-Apple accessories. The service was rolled out to customers in Colorado, Minnesota, and Texas that met unknown criteria. The launch promotion I received stated AT&T would also “provide access to special events and exclusive product announcements.”

I believe I met the criteria for two reasons…I have a couple of lines so my monthly bill is higher than average and at that time I was out of contract. For phone companies the contract is king. With no contract holding me hostage I could defect at any moment and my steady income stream would evaporate.

I haven’t seen many perks or value in my Plus status until this week. I received an email invitation to attend horse racing at Canterbury Downs Park in the VIP room. I’ve heard that it’s a great way to watch horse racing (which I secretly love). I signed up immediately. I was invited to request from 1 to 4 tickets. I was stoked but didn’t tell anyone as I didn’t know how many tickets I’d receive.

Turns out I’m getting zero. Zilch. Nada. Instead I received this little note.

Wait a second. I thought membership has rewards. I thought I was a preferred customer. I responded instantly. I did what they asked me to do. Instead AT&T will let me know about other events in my area. What good will that do?

At the risk of spewing sour grapes (I will survive this snub) I see this as a major lost opportunity for AT&T. Clearly the brain trust at the Plus department had to expect demand would exceed supply. Wouldn’t they have planned for that with a “second place” offer for those who missed out on the event? A discount for product, a coupon from another retailer in the area or even $10 off next month’s bill? Apparently not.

Promotions can be tricky. To run them successfully it is important to envision all aspects of how your customers will perceive your brand as a result of the promotion. In this situation AT&T did nothing positive for brand perception. Instead the promotion tilted the needle towards the “hate” side of the love/hate relationship for me.

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