Filed Under (Business, Life) by Sean on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:24 pm

I can certainly identify with this Business Week story about Sprint’s business troubles, largely stemming from customer service woes. I was a customer of Sprint’s for 3 years, relatively happy with the service. The trouble came when I decided to switch service plans to reduce my minutes since I was taking time off work and no longer needed the huge pool of minutes I previously required. Using the Sprint website, I modified my plan. I had my online banking configured to pay Sprint automatically the same amount every month. After confirming the service plan change, I modified my online payments to reflect the new amount. I got a service disconnect notice about 3 months later (I never really paid much attention to the online bills and opted out of receiving paper bills) with a bill attached for nearly $300! Upon calling customer service (this is in 2004), I learned that my service plan in fact never was changed. Of course they had no record of the change I made and it was my dumb luck I didn’t write down the confirmation number the website had given me (nor saved the website – I always do this now). The customer representative said she would be happy to change my plan once I paid the amount due. Explaining my story resulted in nothing more than, “well I’m very sorry.” I had her escalate me to the manager on duty. Again I explained my story and said I would even prepay or renew my contract (I was month to month since my initial contract had expired) if they would simply give me the benefit of the doubt. I thought I had some leverage since I had been spending a decent chunk of change with them and even kept the phone active when I was living in Europe in 2001! Nada. Zip.

Needless to say I was quite exasperated by this point and simply wasn’t going to tolerate it any longer. I told her something to the effect that they could shove my account and balance where the sun didn’t shine and they would never get another penny from me, ever. After going through 3 other providers, including Cingular (another customer service nightmare), I landed with T-Mobile and have never looked back. The mobile phone service providers really need to use T-Mobile as a case study on how to run a customer service organization.

I still haven’t paid Sprint and never will.

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Comments
Brent Williams on February 22nd, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

Had a completely different response with them this past month! I went to cancel because I found a better deal on Tmobile, and they rushed to give me a MUCH better deal than I had before and a nearly free (nice) phone to boot! If anything, from a business standpoint, I was thinking at the time that they were giving me TOO much, too quickly. So maybe this is them overcompensating for prior mistakes?

Sean on February 22nd, 2008 at 3:12 pm #

Brent,

That’s a good sign I suppose. They’re stock price has certainly taken a bath over poor customer service. The article talks about how customer service wasn’t even a stated concept at the company! Now that’s obviously changing. They still won’t ever get my $300 though. :)

BK on February 25th, 2008 at 8:58 pm #

Sean, I think that all phone companies are kissin cousins of sort. I had Verizon basically piss away about 9 years of my business when my phone broke during a flight to Memphis. The only way they would give me a phone to use on while on my trip, was to have me sign a new 2 year agreement. I, like you, have moved on, and never looked back. You and I ought to get him and her together on the phone and let them have it. Peace…

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