Hooray for Sprint

Sprint has been mostly negative press, as a result of their bold move to essentially fire about 1,000 customers. I get the sense however, that most of the writers attacking Sprint for such a move, haven’t spent much time in a job that consists of dealing with the general public. Until my first job in retail I had no idea just how stupid and rude so many people can be.

Most of the customers Sprint dropped were those it claimed were calling their customer service line excessively. Some of the subscribers they ditched reportedly made an average of 40-50 calls per month.

Really, if I thought that my phone service was so bad that I felt the need to call them at least once every single day, I would have switched providers long ago. I mean, if calling every day for a week or two doesn’t resolve whatever issue you have, wouldn’t you at least change your tactics? Is calling that next time afterwards going to produce a different result? This leads me to think that Sprint has dumped roughly a thousand extremely stupid people.

Granted, Sprint doesn’t tend to rate highly on customer service surveys. But as anyone who’s ever worked in customer service knows, there are some people who are never satisfied no matter what you do to try to appease them (sometimes it only makes it worse), and there are usually only a handful of bad customers who make life miserable for customer service reps – vastly out of proportion to the amount of revenue they might bring in. When staff have to spend a lot of time dealing with chronic complainers service to everyone else is also negatively impacted.

Perhaps by eliminating the most difficult customers, stressed out cs reps will have less aggravation to deal with and will be better able to provide their remaining customers with better service. In addition, this move indicates that the upper management are paying attention to those on the front lines of the company. Customer service reps that work somewhere where management occasionally takes their side are more likely to be loyal.

Sprint isn’t the first company to do such a thing, but it’s possibly the most publicized and dramatic example. I have a friend who works as a manager for a large North American distribution company, which I shall not name, that has for years maintained customer blacklists – there are certain people who’ve been so problematic that they take up more in company resources than any amount of revenue they would ever bring in.

Presumably the thousand people who’ve been dropped by Sprint are going to continue using phones. What I think makes this move particularly brilliant is that essentially Sprint’s competitors will now be saddled with all these difficult customers.

Further reading:

How much is a customer worth to a company?

Kansas City Star Comments

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