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Word of mouth strategy: Don’t be an ass

Vonage is a company that could have been great. They are an Internet-based phone service that is taking millions of customer from the big phone companies. Of course, the big phone companies are fighting back with every dirty trick in the book.

Here is what the story should be:

Vonage is the hero of the people, freeing them from bad service and oppressive policies of the phone monopolies. They have won the hearts of millions of customers with great products and friendly service. They have freed the masses by giving us a better alternative – just like beloved eBay, Amazon, and Southwest.  When the phone companies came after Vonage, millions of die-hard customers rallied to defend them.

Here’s what the story actually is:

Vonage alienated every possible friend and supporter with abusive policies, horrific service, and genuine rudeness. They achieved a miracle: Vonage is actually worse than the phone and cable companies. The only reason we’re still customers is that there really isn’t a decent alternative.  We hate them with a passion, we’re stuck with them, and we’re sure as hell not going to lift a finger to help them.

Vonage is the lamer of two evils.  It’s amazing that any company could provide worse service than Comcast or Verizon, but Vonage pulled it off. Instead of mobilizing an army of loyal customers committed to fighting for a better world, they have no friends left.

This is what inspired this post: In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Vonage’s Charles Sahner brags that, "We helped put (SunRocket) out of business. They
had a cheap product and they couldn’t compete."  This from a company who is desperate to defend themselves from Verizon’s attempt to crush them out of business.

So, batting 1000, once again Vonage blows it by telling the world that they too can be just as evil as a real phone company. 

Charming.

(Read my previous Vonage post here.)

(Thanks to Alec Saunders and Andy Abramson)

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