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|Articles - May 2011|
|Wednesday, April 20, 2011|
Tech companies created by and for the young aren’t the only businesses racking up impressive growth numbers as the economy recovers. One of the state’s fastest growing companies has doubled its revenues and employees since 2008 by paying attention to older folks.
The founders of Consumer Cellular did not set out to build a mobile phone service for senior citizens when they launched the business in 1995. Their goal was to make cell phones affordable and easy to use for everyone. Once they realized that their message resonated most clearly with mobile phone users over 50, they honed their business to serve customers who are often overlooked in the rush to get in on the latest and greatest. “It was a matter of listening to our customers and seeing who they were,” says CEO John Marick. “The mature market is a natural fit for us.”
The company has developed a formal relationship with the American Association of Retired People as the group’s exclusive wireless provider, with marketing access to AARP members. They’ve also imported a cell phone specifically designed for seniors, with big, raised buttons, a large, bright screen and an easy-to-use interface. The European manufacturer, Doro, sells the handset exclusively through Consumer Cellular in the U.S. market.
Marick says the company’s service policies are designed with the customer in mind. There are no confusing contracts that lock in customers for years at a time. Rather than outsource service calls to India, Consumer Cellular runs call centers in Portland and Phoenix, with no time limit for helping customers solve their problems. As for billing, customers receive alerts when they are approaching their monthly limits, with one-button solutions to avoid high charges. “We make sure the customer gets the lowest possible bill,” says Marick. He acknowledges that in the short term, the company loses out on revenues by warning customers in advance, but in the long term, “we’re going to make much more money if we can give a customer a reason to stay with us.”
Consumer Reports recently named Consumer Cellular the best no-contract mobile provider in the nation. The business ended 2010 with $135 million in revenues and 300 employees. “We always have people out looking for good employees,” Marick says.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
BY GARY THILL | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
A storied institution climbs down from the ivory tower.
Friday, August 21, 2015
Renee Spears, founder and owner of Portland-based Rose City Mortgage, is hot to trot to sell pot.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN
Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
BY DAN COOK
The state’s angel investing fund gets hammered in Salem.
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CAMILLE GRIGSBY-ROCCA
Can the brave new world of neurotechnology help an OHSU surgeon find a cure for obesity?
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Holding a Power Lunch at Veritable Quandary in downtown Portland.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER
A new co-working model disrupts office sharing, child care and work-life balance as we know it.
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Transforming the culture of Oregon’s educational leadership.
The Board dismissed a petition related to efforts to unionize the Northwestern University football team.
Every once in a while we receive a letter in the (fictional) mailbag that is tough to describe and quite compelling. This week, Isabel, the new HR manager at LabCo (and someone who is new to HR), wants to know whether she may fire the owner’s son for having an Oregon medical marijuana card. In passing, Isabel also makes a number of alarming admissions about her motivation. Here is Isabel’s nerve-racking question and our response to it.
Oregon Sick Leave is here, and changes to the federal white-collar worker regulations are on the way. This workshop will prepare you for both. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to start planning now for the future impact on your operations and finances.
Presented by OEN + CENTRL + YESpdx.
This Roundtable will cover numerous issues under the employer "shared responsibility" rules of the Affordable Care Act, including how to track the "full-time" status of variable-hour employees, temporary or seasonal employees, and employees who experience a change in status or a break in service. Additionally, we will provide a brief overview of Code sections 6055 and 6056, which require most mid-sized and large employers to submit their first information reports to the IRS in early 2016 regarding the health insurance coverage being offered to employees. We invite you to participate in an interactive discussion on how to prepare for the future impact of the shared responsibility rules on your operations and finances.