No coverage, big problem – Verizon has poor customer experiences in Calabasas and San Fernando Valley

No cellular service is a customer experience issue


I recently moved from the Bay Area to Los Angeles – the San Fernando Valley – Calabasas, to be precise.

My new home and neighborhood may be nice, but they have a glaring problem that I didn’t know was that bad.

No cellular service.

I am a busy, entrepreneurial mother. I rely on my phone for my business, my children, and emergencies, and without good wireless communications, my family is vulnerable.

Between the many errands of unpacking our new house, moving the children to their new schools, and getting used to life in a new city, I made an uncomfortable discovery: I had no telephone service. I knew the “valley” had poor service, but living here is a different story.

I own Verizon and I can’t believe the customer experience here is accepted by the company.

And as much as modern consumers use their smartphones, spotty service in a densely populated area is simply unacceptable. With two young children living in a mountainous area that is sometimes exposed to natural disasters, Verizon customers like me have been left in the lurch.

Unreliable service

While superficial research shows that Verizon has excellent voice and 4G coverage in my new hometown of Calabasas, California, a little deeper research reveals countless reviews from dissatisfied customers. My experience was similar to the endless stream of negative reviews – abandoned calls, terrible cell service, and slow load times.

In the mountains of Calabasas, unreliable cellular service is not only inconvenient but also dangerous. If there was an emergency or my family was in danger, I may not be able to send a message to get the help I need. Add to that the fact that a lot of my work relies on a strong connection – as is the case with many other people.

The daunting fact is that my experience is far from unique. The wireless industry has a poor customer satisfaction rating of 74 on ACSI, well below many other industries. And while customer satisfaction has increased over the years, that progress has stalled and has left countless dissatisfied customers.

Pay for broken promises

Another insult to injury is the fact that I pay as much for a blotchy connection as I do for an amazing connection. In any other industry, paying for something the customer didn’t receive would be unacceptable – can you imagine paying for food that you didn’t get in a restaurant or a rental car that never showed up? Still, Verizon and other providers considered below average cellular coverage to be unacceptable.

When consumers choose or switch their wireless service provider, cost is the most important factor. But close behind is better internet or mobile data quality. Only 14% of Americans who switched providers in the last 12 months did so because of poor customer service, showing that price and reliability are more important than service. Many people are willing to accept poor customer service as long as they have reliable coverage at a good price.

Why don’t companies like Verizon keep their promises to customers? They obviously don’t see any incentive to do so. Even if the coverage isn’t that good, I’m still a paying customer. There is also the cost of upgrading infrastructure to improve coverage, especially in a hilly area like Calabasas.

This frustrating problem shows that so much customers have grown in power over the past few years, some companies still have the cards in hand. I try as best I can to improve my reporting, my only option is to either deal with it or to hear my voice on my wallet and move my business elsewhere. But that puts more responsibility on consumers and adds another task to my to-do list. Instead of making customers’ lives easier and better, wireless carriers are making life difficult and frustrating.

Until the coverage problem is fixed and companies keep their promises, customers are left with unreliable wireless carriers.

Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and author of the bestselling book The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for your newsletter here.

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