An end of holiday rant!

I have had a very pleasant holiday in France and Italy – albeit feeling the pain of the weak pound. And to think I moaned at UK petrol prices!

Since I am not yet fully back in work mode and whilst I am on the subject of money I hope you’ll forgive a personal rant. I used to travel a fair bit and it always struck me as odd how much hotels marked up phone charges. It simply encouraged guests to use phonecards or mobile phones. Once wireless and 3g cards became cheap and commonplace, services such as Skype became easy alternatives. Surely the hotels would have made more money through having a modest mark-up and this way encouraging far greater usage? Overall a small profit from each of very many many customers would add up to more than a large profit from a handful.

Last year was my first holiday since losing the benefit of a corporate mobile phone tariff and I learnt the hard way just how expensive a couple of weeks of calls and push email could be. It appears that the same ill-considered model seems to apply to mobile phones and international travel. In most countries one can now buy pay as you go sim cards for mobile phones and 3g data for not very much. Yet with the honourable exception of Vodafone, UK operators charge massively more for roaming calls and data. Knowing this one feels ripped off when contrasting the local cost versus the one levied by the UK suppler. Not only does this do damage to the customer relationship, one has to wonder whether it really does generate that much extra profit. Surely the vast majority of customers will either limit their usage or purchase a local pay as you go solution; in either case avoiding spending large sums with their UK telecoms supplier. Don’t the companies know that stinging their customers in this way just creates resentment and erodes brand loyalty?

When it comes to reputation and trust people have long memories. Over the years I have always tried to conduct my business affairs in an honourable and fair manner. I have made far more money through long term relationships and repeat business than would have been the case ripping people off and churning through customers. This applies just as much to and as it does to my previous company. O2 are you listening?

Rant over!

Have a great Bank Holiday. Back to business next week.

All the best