What's The Diff?

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Hey Sprint – This isn’t What We Call Customer Service

Sprint Gives Bad Customers the AxBy Stephanie Powel

Nearly 1,200 Sprint subscribers got the ax June 29 when the nation’s third-largest wireless service provider deemed this group’s 40,000 monthly customer service calls, "excessive."   Some may see reason for such harsh consequences, but enacting mass contract terminations sends a clear message to their remaining 53 million Sprint customers and to the world at large, "We don’t want your business!"

The termination letters read as follows:

Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information.  While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs.

Service is an intangible good that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured.  It is created through time and effort. 

If Sprint, a "service company" and industry giant, isn’t focused on
interacting with people and serving customers, what are they focused on
and what does this mean for the consumer?

Editor’s
Note: Not everyone will agree that this is a bad thing. The DIFF offers
a news story that started our discussion, along with a dissenting
opinion for consideration:

http://www.gadgetell.com

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2007/07/treating-differ.html

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Comments

  1. Given their poor service/network record, I can understand why they get a lot of service calls. Here is an idea Sprint, fix your network and your complaint volume will decrease accordingly.

    Posted by: Sprint Stinks | July 11, 2007
  2. Everything I’ve seen from Sprint was extremely vague describing what constituted excessive calling.
    On several occasions, I’ve had 2 or 3 calls with their Customer Service that have lasted more than 1 hour for the same issue. Most of the time was spend either on hold or re-telling my story to 4 or 5 different people in their customer service department.
    The message they are sending here is that they know their customer service is lousy and they are trying to minimize the usage of this bad service.
    Here is a link showing an example of their poor service. http://www.thecustomervoices.com/2006/11/29/sprint-customer-service-worst-of-the-worst/
    Does this mean I’m at risk of being booted because their customer service department was inefficient resolving my problem?

    Posted by: Sean Cheyney | July 11, 2007
  3. I don’t have Sprint…but is thier service really bad enough to call them 40 times in one month? That sounds like a spamming jam to me. Or just 1,200 very lonely Sprint customers. This is how I’m imagining one of these calls:
    Sprint: “Hello, You have reached Sprint Customer Service. How may I help you?”
    [soon to be former]Customer: “No one loves me.”
    Sprint: “Do you have a phone related problem?”
    [soon to be former]Customer: “Why must you be so very cold.”

    Posted by: Mark | July 11, 2007
  4. According to a poll recently conducted by MSN, 40% of respondents rated Sprint’s customer service as “poor.” Tied for second was Bank of America and Comcast at 30%.
    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/SavingandDebt/Advice/TheCustomerServiceHallOfShame.aspx?page=1

    Posted by: Dave Rigotti | July 12, 2007
  5. Mark, you’re way off. Not even close. After having experienced Charter’s customer service, I can imagine that call going much differently. The Sprint person would probably accuse the person of having an overdue bill, not feign concern for the phone service.
    And, yes, there’s much more evidence coming out now about just how bad the service itself is, along with the customer service staff.
    1) Product is broken
    2) Service approach is broken
    Just my $0.02.

    Posted by: Christy | July 12, 2007
  6. Is this philosophy really any different than the insurance company that cancels your policy due to too many claims or hurricanes? Perhaps we as consumers have been complacent far too long. Is it time to start talking by keeping our money in our wallets?

    Posted by: No Soup For You! | July 12, 2007
  7. “No Soup For You!” is absolutely right, although this isn’t a new concept. The cost of switching is totally bearable with most services. I just changed my phone and internet access service providers simply because of their utter lack of skills on the phone.
    Yes, cell phones have nasty contracts. But, this is going to prove that a company CAN perform so badly that people will throw away tons of money just to not be associated with Sprint anymore.
    Money is just a tool, and, yes, we can use it as a tool to support whatever values/beliefs/treatment we want.

    Posted by: Christy | July 12, 2007
  8. Exactly!

    Posted by: No Soup For You! | July 12, 2007
  9. Consumerist is reporting that the people “fired” were scamming the company, and that they had literally thousands of dollars in credit and haven’t paid their bills for years.

    Posted by: George Hotelling | July 12, 2007
  10. Here is the link to the article George was referencing:
    http://consumerist.com/consumer/top/sprint-customers-terminated-for-complaining-too-much-were-scamming-sprint-for-free-service-277026.php

    Posted by: Dave Rigotti | July 12, 2007
  11. A well placed “Sprint Insider” quoted on a Web story…hmmm, seems very credible to me.

    Posted by: Sprint Stinks | July 12, 2007
  12. Oh, yeah, and check out the rest of the articles on “the consumerist.” Totally alarmist crap.

    Posted by: Wunderkind | July 12, 2007
  13. Recently at a car dealership which will remain nameless (Saturn of Troy, Michigan in the Suburban Collection Motor Mall near Maple and Crooks) I had a similar experience:
    After taking my brand new Saturn Ion in for the SAME THING for the THIRD TIME in the short 5 months we’ve had it I got a “satisfaction survey”. Since I was not satisfied with the repairs or the service I received I made a lot of negative, but fair statements in the survey.
    When my car had the same issue for the FOURTH time I called the dealership to let them know I was coming in and would like a rental car arranged. This is the conversation I had:
    Service Manager: “Why did you trash us in the Satisfaction Survey?”
    Me: I wasn’t satisfied. You had my car for 9 days, only called me once to update me on it, and the repair didn’t work. Need I say anymore?
    Service Manager: If you aren’t satisfied, then why do you keep taking it back here?
    Me: Is the satisfaction survey used to improve your service or to weed out customers that want to be treated with respect?
    The conversation went downhill, way downhill.
    His “then why come back here” comment made me think of Sprint weeding out its picky customers.

    Posted by: Scott | July 16, 2007
  14. As a longtime Sprint customer, and a mostly satisfied one, I can attest to a real frustration with their follow-up (non-existent) when real problems need to be addressed.

    Posted by: T. Dills | July 24, 2007
  15. Read your post about Saturn of Troy. We’ve had awful experiences with that dealership. Every time you take the car in for service, within a few weeks something else is wrong.
    We took our Saturn in for its last warranty check and recall service. Three weeks later it had not one, but 3 engine leaks – oil, coolant, and power steering fluid. $1600 later, they forgot to put one of the engine bolts on.
    No one likes to work on Saturns and most of the parts are dealer only – so they’ve got you between the proverbial rock and the hard place.
    Last time I got my car back from an engine repair – it was leaking trans fluid. Someone had loosened the trans pan seal.
    I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER SATURN!

    Posted by: teresa | April 4, 2008

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Monday, August 21, 2017