Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Spurning Sprint, Nixing Nextel

It is amazing to me the extent to which some companies in the business of serving the public will go to avoid dealing with the public.

I received a lovely letter from Sprint-Nextel in my personal e-mail box last night. They want money from me. I will be paying it in due time, but have very little remorse in making this company wait for payment because of the shoddy manner in which I have been treated and ill-served lately.

I called the toll-free number in the note, and for the next half hour (as if I had nothing better to do) played telephone voice-mail tree roulette. After two hang ups by Sprint-Nextel’s phone system, and multiple instances of their automated system failing to register my phone number, I finally got on the line with a human being.

When you have an issue with a company--and they're asking you to respond--they'd better make it easy to reach them. Sprint-Nextel seems to go in the opposite direction, making it as difficult as possible to resolve issues by avoiding direct, personal contact with customers.

Sprint-Nextel has provided the worst connection and most dropped calls in the past six months I have ever experienced—and I’ve been using a cell phone since the days when those putty-colored bricks were in vogue. I’ve been a loyal Nextel customer for at least a dozen years. At one time, everyone in our family was on their system, plus many of my co-workers. I generated a lot of business for Nextel within my sphere of influence.

I’m not sure what happened to Nextel.
Perhaps the blending with Sprint was the un-doing of both companies. Sometimes bigger isn’t better. Perhaps it was the outsourcing of their euphemistically-named customer care division. I’ve had wonderful conversations with Indians and Canadians over recent years, dealing with outages or phones that wouldn’t operate or cooperate.

We forged a bond, a band of brothers with a common goal: Get the calls to go through. I kept punching in the digits…Sprint-Nextel kept dropping the ball and the calls.

Last week I wrote Sprint a letter and fired them. Told them their service was horrible, and I was fed up, and I cancelled my contract.
Like it says on the screen: I'm Done.

So now they want their money.
I’ll pay it.
Maybe phone it in.

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