Upgrading at the Price of Customer Service

How does a company balance upgrading their existing product line/service offerings versus maintaining their current service levels?

It’s a question that Verizon is asking itself right now. The company – which is in the midst of a costly, well-publicized push to bring high-speed Internet, video and other services to the home over a new, fiber-optic network – is coming under increasing criticism over mounting delays for basic home phone line repairs.

Current customers who are relying on the company’s existing copper network are waiting days, even weeks in certain cases, for repairs. As a result, many customer advocacy groups and telecom regulators are questioning the company’s commitment to its current customers running on its older infrastructure.

Which begs the aforementioned question, how does a company upgrade their existing offerings without annoying their old-school customers?

Whether it’s the automotive, consumer technology, or telecom industry, there’s no right answer to this, but I think companies sometimes make the mistake of putting all their eggs in one basket; in the case of Verizon, the fiber-optic basket. Upgrading customers to the latest and greatest technologies is great, but not when it comes at the detriment of providing acceptable service, especially when the acceptance and uptake of these technologies is never as fast as the industries often say they are.