Sprint Says, "You're Fired!"

By
Mortgage and Lending with Bank of England (NMLS#418481) NMLS# 1046286

Sprint LogoI read online last night that Sprint PCS just "fired" something like 1000 of it's customers for being too big a pain in the axx.  When I heard this I had to ask my girlfriend, who doubles as my assistant, if I had gotten any letters from Sprint!

After thinking about it for a bit, I could actually see Sprint's point of view.  I still think that it's a dumb idea, but I do see where they are coming from and have to admit, I've fired a couple of customers before myself.  From what I understand, these customers were the worst of the worst with an average of calling in to customer service as many as 40 times in one month.

The thing that I think is ironic about it though was the thought of why didn't these folks switch to a different carrier if they were so unhappy.  Believe me, I can understand being unhappy with Sprint.  Last month was the first time in 6 months that they got my bill right.  I would guess that I averaged 5 or 6 calls a month to customer service during the past 6 months, but all of my calls were made to correct errors that Sprint had made.  Sprint says, "You're fired!"

It also seems to me that Sprint could have gotten rid of these 1000 people a lot easier with a lot less negative press if they had done it during one of the calls that these people had made to them.  I know for one, I would have jumped ship if I hadn't been under contract to them.  All they would have had to do was to offer me the same deal that they imposed upon these 1000 people and I would have gladly taken it. 

So, what lessons can we learn from Sprint's actions here?  First, if you value your relationship with your cell phone carrier, don't call them too often!  Secondly, I think that you can take a page out of their book in that some customers simply aren't worth the time and effort that they take.  Your time is better spent on higher margin, more cooperative customers.  Lastly, that while it might be alright to "fire" a customer, that it does matter how you do so.

Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

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Rainmaker
227,639
Debi Braulik
www.roundrealestate.com - Maple Valley, WA
Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale

Bob- Wow!  I hadn't heard that. 40 times a month!?! Holy cow. My time is way too valuable to waste it with a customer service department more than once a day! I maybe call my provider 3 times a year! I have fired a few customers. The increase in positive energy after doing so was amazing. I didn't realize how much of a negative draw they were until they were gone.

Jul 26, 2007 04:07 AM #1
Rainmaker
243,695
Highland Beach Condos David Serle
RE/MAX Services - Highland Beach, FL
Boca Raton Agent David Serle
That is all I have to do to get out of my contract I am in.  Starting to be a problem customer now!!!
Jul 26, 2007 04:10 AM #2
Rainer
3,211
Delete Profile Delete Profile
Delete My Active Rain Profile - Riverside, CA
Great post.  I hadn't heard that Sprint did that but I have to say it's a little humorous.  I can't imagine calling on average more than once per day like those people were calling in to complain.  They should have done it in a better way, to avoid the press, but from a business standpoint sometimes you DO need to FIRE THAT CUSTOMER!
Jul 26, 2007 04:30 AM #3
Rainer
22,489
Jonathan Vetter
Mercury Lending - San Francisco, CA

Bob, great  post.  I don't think I call my wife more than 40 times a month let alone have the time to call a customer service number.  ugh.  How does this happen?  Great post!

Jon

Jul 26, 2007 04:46 AM #4
Rainer
68,945
Kris Krajecki
Kris Krajecki - FOX VALLEY MORTGAGE - Huntley, IL - Huntley, IL
Mortgage Broker Huntley, IL

It's probably just for 1 problem, but they keep getting put on hold or Sprint just can't handle the problem so the customer calls back!

Any other carrier would be glad to have em!!

:-a

Jul 26, 2007 05:37 AM #5
Rainer
155,621
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

I can testify personally that what Kris said is correct.  I got my bill about 8 months ago and it was twice what it should have been.  I called them up and they told me that I hadn't paid my bill from the previous month.  I got online and saw where I had and that the check had cleared, so I called them back.  They assured me that it would be taken care of.

I then got online to download some pictures that I had uploaded to the Sprint site and there was a big note on my home page saying that I was past due.  I called again and they told me that I still owed for the previous month.  I pointed out my previous call and the lady checked the notes and apologized.  That she saw where the matter had been corrected.

I then got a text message saying that my account was past due!  Hence, another call/same routine.

The next month they put a charge on my bill for a phone that was supposed to have an instant rebate - so it was supposed to net out to zero.  I called on that and the same routine.  It took several calls to get that matter resolved.  

The following month the billing amount from the first month was back on my account!  

The funny part was that last month they got it right, but I gaped off and forgot to mail them my check! Whoops!  I'm pretty sure that everything is fixed now though...that is unless they end up firing me!

 

Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Jul 26, 2007 10:39 AM #6
Rainer
83,422
Rey Gallegos
Supreme Lending (NMLS ID #2129) - Las Vegas, NV
FHA, VA, Home Loans Las Vegas, NV
Bob,  On the general Real Estate industry difficult customer I can see your point BUT Sprints customer servoce is TERRIBLE and instead of fixing it they are cutting out the people that are most vocal about their complaints.  I have been with Spint for 10 years and can't leave now because my plan is very cheap and discontinued but I hate calleing them because its an hour process everytime.  I think they should fix their problems not 86 customers.  by the way, my phone still works so I am assuming I am not on that list either.
Jul 27, 2007 05:02 AM #7
Rainer
155,621
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

Rey, I feel your pain.  I'm a charter subscriber myself and have one of the bigger plans that they offer.  You would think that they would treat me better, but they don't.  They are a very dysfunctional company!  Thanks for the comment.

 

Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Jul 27, 2007 06:34 AM #8
Rainmaker
541,071
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

One of the beautiful things about being an independent contractor is the ability to say "no thanks" to a potential client if you think they are going to be a problem for you.

However, I read this somewhere (I don't remember where, so if the originator of this idea reads this, know that I am grateful but forgot who you were...lol):  Don't just tell a client to get lost.  Before the relationship goes south, come up with a couple other agents in your area to refer these people to.  Give them a list and say "You know, I don't think this is going to work out, perhaps one of these agents will be able to help you.."

You then can still make money on these people if they close on a sale with another agent - (referral fees).  This was suggested to use when you have a listing ready to expire and you sense that your seller is going to jump ship. 

This will make you look good to the seller, rather than a loser they left behind...

Jul 30, 2007 04:18 AM #9
Rainer
155,621
R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham
Bank of England (NMLS#418481) - Raleigh, NC
Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)

Excellent point Karen!

 

Bob Mitchell

ValueList Real Estate Services, Inc. 

Aug 01, 2007 02:54 AM #10
Rainer
24,192
Vicki Bishop GRI - Alabama Real Estate
Coldwell Banker United Realtors® - Bay Minette, AL
I'm glad I am with Alltel.... I cant even remember the last time we had to call them and we have had them for 10 years.
Aug 01, 2007 03:02 AM #11
Rainmaker
96,314
Fran White
North Kansas City Real Estate, Reece and Nichols Residential - Kansas City North, MO
Kansas City North Real Estate, 816-682-3897

Bob:

Being from St. Louis you probably wouldn't know first hand just how MANY family lives Sprint has ruined in the Greater Kansas City area.  It's tragic.  But yet they have their name on the new Sprint Center downtown.

I think it's totally SAD.  But that's just my opinion. 

Their service in town here has been traditionally beLOW standard.  If you can't get a call or make a call in the companies hometown....... what's that say?

Aug 08, 2007 12:35 PM #12
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Rainer
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R. B. "Bob" Mitchell - Loan Officer Raleigh/Durham

Bob Mitchell (NMLS#1046286)
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