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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default Sprint ditches customers who complain too much

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sprint Nextel Corp, which recently launched an advertising campaign to attract new customers, is disconnecting more than 1,000 subscribers for calling its customer service lines too often and making what the company called unreasonable requests.

    The No. 3 U.S. wireless provider with 53 million customers said on Monday it started sending service termination letters on June 25. Sprint said the cancellations involved 1,000 to 1,200 customers who had called the company about 40,000 times a month in total.

    "These customers were calling to a degree that we felt was excessive," said Sprint spokeswoman Roni Singleton, adding the company needed to cull its customer base to improve services.

    "In some cases they were calling customer care hundreds of times a month for a period of six to 12 months on the same issues even after we felt those issues had been resolved," she said.

    Singleton, noting that mass cancellation letters were not routine, said this call volume was 40 to 50 times more than average customer monthly calls. She would not say how often customers can call before being deemed too demanding.

    The company also declined to say what percentage of monthly service calls the 40,000 figure represented.

    Singleton said some of the cancellations involved customers who repeatedly asked for information about other people's accounts.

    Sprint waived final balances on canceled accounts and gave customers 30 days to transfer their phone numbers to other wireless providers, she said.

    "We're working very hard to improve customer service. That's our number one priority," Singleton said.

    The termination letters started going out days before Sprint kicked off a nationwide "Sprint Ahead" ad campaign on July 1. Sprint's customer growth has disappointed investors for several quarters after its marketing message was criticized as being confusing and it had network problems after its 2005 purchase of Nextel.

    Providers AT&T Inc and Verizon Wireless, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc and Vodafone Group Plc, were quick to point out differences between their policies and Sprint's, saying they very rarely cancel services.

    AT&T, the U.S. wireless service with the greatest number of subscribers, sometimes cancels or restricts services for customers for "excessive data or voice roaming on other carriers' networks," according to spokesman Mark Siegel, who said competitors had similar policies.

    Tom Pica, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless which is second to AT&T by number of customers, said his company sometimes cancels services for callers who are "extremely abusive" to its customer service representatives. But, he said, this would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

    Sprint shares were down 32 cents at $21.55 on the New York Stock Exchange early Monday afternoon.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack. -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Eruption 5150's Avatar
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    Dang, I put this in funny photos because I thought it was photoshopped. Whoops.
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk Menlow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiftyoneFtfty View Post
    Dang, I put this in funny photos because I thought it was photoshopped. Whoops.
    I received one of those letters but I didn't quite understand it. I must of called Sprint 700 times last week trying to get an explanation but I still don't know why I'm being booted.

  4. #4
    Hang 'Em High jetguy5150's Avatar
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    The company I work for has recently started "firing" customers. I don't know all the details with Sprint but from my end, it was a long time coming. We have maybe 1/2 % of customers that are taking up nearly 30% of our customer service departments time with ridiculous requests, things that they have no reason to ask them. It is one of my jobs to meet with these clients and explain that we have done all we can to meet their needs but it is obvious that we cannot continue to disappoint them as we have so it is best that we part company. It is quite amazing to see how they change their tune. Anyway..the point is that our good, long term customers can never get service because our customer service team is tied up by the whackos.
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  5. #5
    Atomic Punk MikeL's Avatar
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    Yeah, I used to see that same sort of thing happen when I worked in the TV weather business. Some customers were so over-bearing, and some product managers so overly-concerned about them, that those few customers often drove the products.

    I think it's perfectly reasonable for a company to tell a customer that they no longer wish to do business with them.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk ZeoBandit's Avatar
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    I'm glad Sprint did this. Get the pain in the asses out of their hair.
    "What we are dealing with here, is a complete lack of respect for the law" - Jackie Gleason, Smokey and the Bandit

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  7. #7
    Damage your reputation seenbad's Avatar
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    12.15.17 @ 10:48 AM
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeL View Post

    I think it's perfectly reasonable for a company to tell a customer that they no longer wish to do business with them.
    Absolutely. I think every business has room to streamline....yes, even their customer base. I've been in the position before where I've had to identify a business as "bad business" and cut them loose. There is a point where the relationship does much more harm than good, and probably for both sides.
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  8. #8
    Good Enough Vince G.'s Avatar
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    If I was a Sprint customer, and received one of those letters, I'd be doing a major Happy Dance.

    I signed up with Sprint after my family & I returned from being stationed overseas in 2001, and they were the absolute WORST cellphone service we'd had to date. Each and every month there was a discrepancy with my billing statement, dropped calls left and right (even though we didn't live in a dead zone), being misinformed by one Sprint rep after another, and calling their customer service line was a major pain in the ass. I was either placed on perma-hold, until someone finally decided to answer, or they never answered at all.

    Thank God for the second Gulf War. I say that because once that happened, I used the military card to get out of my contract and avoid the early termination fees. I immediately signed up with Verizon, and not once, ever, did we have any problems with them in any capacity.
    "Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that."

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    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately."

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  9. #9
    Eruption
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    Hey VinceG. I have almost the exact opposite experience with Sprint vs. Verizon. I guess it could just be where you are. Always had good luck with Sprint, but then again, I didn't bitch about anything (i.e. them not "firing" me).

    Verizon has been really good to deal with in the issues that I've had, though.

  10. #10
    Atomic Punk
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    I'm not a big fan of Sprint but I like this call.

    There are some people that you can never please, there are some people who have unreasonable expectations and then there are people who just game the system knowing that if they complain that they'll get a couple of bucks knocked off of their bill.

    The problem is that normal customers like Vince have to suffer because of those people because after dealing with the sad-sacks for a couple of hours by the time they get to his call the service rep has a headache.

    Booting those people just makes things better for everyone else ... in theory.
    "Nothing is ever what it seems but everything is exactly what it is." - B. Banzai


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  11. #11
    Atomic Punk chefcraig's Avatar
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    To contact customer service "40-50 times per month" points out one glaring truth: Either the service totally blows and the customers are boneheads for keeping the service or the customers are clueless dolts incapable of using a cell phone in the first place, making them...err... boneheads.
    "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
    George Bernard Shaw

 

 

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