Frontier has acknowledged that it has certainly lost customers due to the botched integration of acquired Verizon customers in Florida, Texas and California. Company CEO Dan McCarthy told attendees of the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that the company lost 40,000 customers alone just among users who signed up with Verizon before the April 1 transition took place — but then cancelled the installation after hearing about Frontier’s problems in the media — or because Frontier couldn’t meet the promised installation date.
“Where we did probably lose some customers, who really weren’t our customers yet, was as we came out of conversion we had 40,000 service orders in the backlog,” said McCarthy. “Those are customers that have bought the service and Verizon has given them a due date in April and during that time frame customers did not want to wait any longer and wound up going to a competitor.”
The CEO admitted that some customers have bought out of the contract via ETF because of problems, but didn’t specifically provide a count.
“We have seen some early termination fee promotions where people buy out contracts, but by and large we haven’t seen a major uptick in churn associated with that,” McCarthy said.
While conceding some possible defections, by and large the company has downplayed the transition problems’ impact on the company’s overall userbase. McCarthy also noted that the company put all marketing on hold during the transition — effectively because it knew that competitors would be using migration problems to their own marketing advantage. Companies like Bright House had been promising discounts to angry customers.
“We certainly have had competitors targeting us,” McCarthy said. “(It’s) one of the reasons why we guided on our first quarter earnings call that we would not be doing marketing during this period. We did not say that earlier because we did not want people to start targeting us right out of the gate.”
As it stands Frontier’s first impression for many of these users wasn’t a good one, and it’s going to take a lot more than a ramp up in marketing to fix consumer perceptions that this is a company incapable of handling its current incredible rate of growth.