I mentioned this is another blog post, but I will probably be dropping Boost Mobile as my back-up cell phone plan. Paying $10/billing cycle (base plan is $35/billing cycle, minus $5 for auto-pay and up to $20 credit earned through Boost Dealz app) for unlimited talk and text and 3 GB LTE data (with unlimited slower data) at a cost of 20 – 30 hours/billing cycle with occasional 40 hours to earn the $20 credit was something I was willing to put up with. However, spending 40 hours to earn a single 500 point survey credit just isn’t worth it to me. After another 2 hours (42 hours total), I managed to snag 2 completed 500 point surveys, but that’s 14 hours/completed survey. As an update, I was able to eventually earn $18.29 (18,290 points) before the last billing cycle ended, but almost half of those points were earned before the downgrade went into effect. Also, I easily spent well over 100 hours earning the points. I did have one day where I completed 6 surveys after the downgrade, but many days I didn’t complete any surveys or spent 4 – 8+ hours before I was able to complete one. That’s a lot more time than I am willing to spend for so little reward and considering how many hours it took to earn the last $10, it wasn’t worth it. I did it mainly to see how long it would take to reach as many points as I could. My hope was the rewards program would improve to where I could earn enough points without a huge time commitment. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be the case. If I thought Boost Mobile would address the issue, I would stay with them. However, after several talks with them, their attitude came across as customers are stuck with the new system. What they forget is the availability of cheaper cell plan options from their competition and at least CellNUVO has a much better rewards program right now; don’t know about Cricket’s reward program as they keep changing it. I went ahead and spent the $11 and change to cover the next billing cycle. They have temporarily doubled the videos from 5 to 10 points until the end of March, but they dropped the number of videos available to view down to a handful/day. Not enough videos to make a huge dent in your bill even if you manage to see every video for the entire billing cycle.
This applies to any company, but Boost Mobile should take a suggestion on how they should have handled this scenario before they implemented this huge downgrade. Alienating existing customers who are benefiting from a rewards program that was working great isn’t a good customer service strategy for any company. Especially when you gut the rewards program as much as Boost Mobile did with Boost Dealz.
First thing a company should do is to research if other companies have done a major downgrade and what were the results? This is easy enough as CellNUVO made a similar downgrade to its rewards system a while back. It lost many customers and most of the remaining customers didn’t bother watching the ads or doing other reward things that would generate revenue for CellNUVO. The company could have ignored the results. Instead, they chose to realize they made a mistake and figure out ways to fix it before they went out of business or suffered worse losses. End result – points were raised and they made a way to let you use the points on any of several other cell phone providers to pay for service. Not only that, but you can potentially earn full credit so you have no out of pocket cost except for the time spent earning the points.
Next, if your company is going to significantly reduce reward points, make up for it by offering more point-earning opportunities. For example, Boost Dealz cut videos by 2/3 (15 credits down to 5 points; temporarily back up to 10 points through the end of March 2018) and substantially reduced the number of videos available. What they should have done is triple the number of videos available to earn points. In theory, I could meet the point reduction by earning the 3,000 bonus points (150 points/day with a maximum of 3,000 points if you do it 20 days during the 30-day billing cycle) for watching videos AND watching 140 or so videos/day. That works out to about an hour/day which is preferable to spending an equal amount of time trying to complete surveys and regularly not being able to find one that I can finish. The problem here is simple – before the downgrade in points, you needed to watch around 38 videos/day to reach the $20 credit if you only did videos and the daily bonus. Unfortunately, I rarely saw that many videos available on a regular basis. After the change-over, they appeared to reduce the number of videos by a large amount so watching 140 videos isn’t an option. If I get 5 to 7 videos/day, that’s a great day compared to getting 2 to 3 times as many before the change.
For the Surprise Me surveys, downgrading from 295 credits to 200 points, Boost Mobile should have doubled the number of these surveys. They were almost as rare as hen’s teeth before the change-over and appear to have almost disappeared for me after the downgrade.
Moving onto the I Want to Choose Surveys, they downgraded them from 925 credits to 500 points. They are about the same amount of surveys, but I went from taking 20 – 40 surveys/day and completing 1 or 2 out of that number to taking days to complete one and easily going through 80 – 100 or more surveys to get one completion. I spent 40 hours over an intermediate period and only achieved one completed survey. In another 2 hours, I was able to complete 2 surveys, but that appears to be a fluke instead of an actual improvement. I finally managed to get 6 completed in one day, but it took a lot of time to reach that accomplishment. It doesn’t help that many of these surveys take 10, 20, 30, or even 59 minutes to complete and a lot of them either hang when you go to submit (so no points earned) or give a late disqualification.
Before the recent lowering of points this last billing cycle, I had achieved over 8,000 credits/points. After the change, I had managed to only gain around 2,000 points, bringing my total for 22 days to 10,775 points, out of 20,000 points needed to maximize the $20 credit. Eventually, I was able to get 18,290 points by the last day, but it took way too much time for so little reward.
One thing most cell phone companies doesn’t get: customer loyalty is worth holding onto, and there are too many competing cell phone companies out there willing to undercut your price or offer something your company doesn’t. Another point most cell phone companies haven’t figured out is the need to call a plan what it is. Calling a 30 day plan a monthly plan is only begging for the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to hit them with huge fines since 30 days is not a monthly plan. If you are going to offer a 30-day billing cycle, call it a 30-day billing cycle. May take a bit more server space for the extra letters, but it saves you getting a nasty notice from the FTC for advertising a monthly plan that isn’t a monthly plan. In a worse case scenario for a 31 day month, you could get hit with a bill on the 1st and a second bill on the 31st.
Update March 17, 2018: Another positive addition recently was the addition of earning points by adding apps. You have to be careful as some of the apps have warnings about malware – always read the reviews by people who have installed the app before installing it. The points for adding an app generally require you open the app after installing it and the malware ones frequently won’t let you open them. Once you get the points, you can always uninstall the app. Without this option, I probably wouldn’t have earned as many points this billing cycle as I earned after the change last month. So far, I am averaging close to 1,000 points/day thanks to this addition. Without it, I would be hard-pressed to hit 500 points every other day.
To add to the customer loyalty comment above, it’s cheaper for a company to keep you as a regular customer than it is to recruit a non-customer to being a customer. Yet, very few companies reward existing customers. I can easily get a huge selection of free or reduced price phones for being a new customer with most cell phone companies out there. Many will also offer me a better deal than I can get as an existing customer. Some companies do get it. For example, BillionGraves regularly offers sale prices to their free members. A while back, they added a great incentive. as long as you renew without a lapse, the sale price will be your renewal price.
Addit: including the #BoostMobile and @BoostMobile tags in case people are looking for one or the other.