New Prospect VS. Loyal Customer

Watch any ad for the cell phone companies, and they give away new phones, TVs, and cars if you sign one of their plans – but that’s only for new customers.  If you’ve been a loyal customer for years and years, you’re out of luck – too bad.  The reasoning is simple – they want to attract new customers. And you, Mr.  or Mrs. Loyal Customer for years and years, you’re not new, you’re old.    And sure enough, if you complain, you’ll probably get that new TV as well.

Have you noticed the same thinking applies in other businesses?  I’ve been dealing with the same accounting firm for years and years – close to 15 years to be precise.  They handle my personal tax returns, family trust returns, and holding company returns.   Recently, I asked an acquaintance who works at another accounting firm to ballpark the price to handle all my stuff.  According to him, I was overpaying by about 30%-40%.

When I questioned the Managing Partner on this, he rightfully defended his firm’s position by saying that “We’re not the cheapest and we provide excellent value for the rates you’re paying.”  While that may be true – I’m paying 100% full rates, so I expect nothing less than excellent value.  In other words, there’s no deal for loyalty here – I pay full price and I get full value.  Call me a whiner, but I want better than that.  I refer business to this firm, and I give them new business when I can – where’s my new TV? Where’s my free phone?  Where’s my discount for being a loyal customer for 15 years?

So now I’m looking around and getting quotes.  It’s ridiculous that I’m doing this because the discount I would have been happy with would have been less than a few thousand dollars – and if I slowly move all my business away, it’s easily low six figures over the next 3-4 years.  You would think in a firm full of accountants, someone can do a quick mental ROI calculation and figure it out.  Maybe I should check my tax returns?

~ by lschwartz on March 29, 2011.

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