Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sprint's Flottsam and Jettsom

Yesterday we mentioned on the show Sprint’s jettisoning of some "problem customers" who the carrier felt were calling into its customer service centers a little too often. Last month, the company sent a letter was to 1,000 customers notifying them that their contracts would be terminated because "the number of inquiries you have made to us ... has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs."

It gets worse.

Sprint is also “excommunicating” people who roam out of network too often to suit the company... Apparently when you’re home on the range, the deer and the buffalo can range a little too far. Problem is, Sprint’s cutting the cord on about 200 soldiers who’ve just returned stateside from Iraq.

When one unit returned from Iraq, and were redeployed at West Point to train cadets, about one-third of the unit, who were Sprint customers, discovered they were roaming off-network, nevermind the fact they were told by the carrier that West Point was in an area of "best coverage."

They received letters from Sprint notifying them that their contracts would be cancelled because of the excessive roaming they were doing. West Point is a temporary stopover for these guys before they return to their home stations, where they'd use Sprint regularly, on the network, with no problems. Now they're returning home without a cell phone provider.

I smell a huge PR gaffe here, because the soldier also says that many of his unit members shelled out to buy new Sprint phones when they returned. Apparently, while they were away in Iraq, and their phones fell behind the technological advances.
What a way to reward loyalty. Some soldiers actually received their cancellation letters from Sprint the very same day Sprint sold them new phones.

I am told Sprint lost 220,000 customers in the first quarter of this year. Guess it didn't take long to figure out how easy it is to get out of your Sprint contract if you're unhappy--and bonus: you don't have to pay a cancellation fee.
Simply nag the customer service lines and you’re dumped in no time!


Kevin said...

There are two sides to most stories.

I used to be a Sprint customer, and actually found that they would bend over backwards to accommodate customer requests. Calling Customer Retention and asking for goodies is something that is well documented on, and I actually liked the fact that customer service agents were empowered to help customers with problems.

Apparently, some customers figured out how to take advantage. Yes, Sprint COULD cut back on its excellent overall customer service and retention policies, and make life more miserable for the vast majority of people who don't abuse the system. Or they could ditch the truly problematic customers.

As someone who's looking to move back to Sprint because of their excellent SERO plans, I'm kind of happy they're ditching the problematic customers rather than cutting back on the flexibility customer service has to help the majority of customers.

Like I said, two sides to this story....

Brent Clanton said...

Thanks for the balance on the story, Kevin.
I am an ex-Sprint/Nextel customer, as well. I fired them because of their lousy service in my area of Texas.
I found their reponses to my complaints (which no-way approached a fraction of the level described above)to be timely enough, but technically lacking.

At the end of the day, I needed a cellular service provider I could depend upon to deliver a dial tone.
Sadly, Sprint wasn't it.