I've been a Sprint customer for years. While I don't think any of the current cell phone providers have what I would call good customer service or a good customer experience, but Sprint has finally gotten around to really pissing me off.
It all started a few weeks ago. My cell rings and a guy announces that he's with Sprint and that my contract is about to expire and if it would be a good time to discuss my plan, phone, etc. It was approximately 12:15. Right in the middle of lunch. I told him it wasn't a good time and that I was planning on getting a new Treo phone, with PalmOS, in a few months as mine is getting older and I'd review my plan at that point. Sprint Guy thanked me. So far not too bad.
About a week later I received essentially the same call and gave the same response hoping this Sprint Girl would mark me off as Contacted, Handled or whatever they needed to do so I wouldn't be bothered again.
I guess Sprint isn't interested in the fact that I'm disinterested in them, as they have responded by increasing the frequency of their calls. It started with a couple of calls the next week, but this week has been ridiculous. They have called me with THE TWO EXACT SAME OFFERS 5 times since last Saturday. Each time telling them I wasn't interested at this time and secret hoping this would be the last call I had to endure.
When I was called again earlier today I asked to be put on their internal "do not call list" after I explained the issue. Sprint Girl apologized and then said she would put me on the list, but that I should know it can take several weeks before that request would filter through the proper channels.
So why does this piss me off? It isn't that they called in the first place or that the person on the other ends sounds so beaten down and bored reading their little scripts. It pisses me off because it proves that they do not care about me as a customer. Why do I know they don't care? Let me count the ways...
- Calling during lunch. Sorry if it hurts your calls per hour numbers, but you shouldn't bug your customers first thing in the morning, during their lunch, during dinner, or late at night. Please remember that you are calling AN EXISTING customer and the last thing you want to do is actively annoy them.
- The first call did not stop the subsequent calls. This is just plain laziness on Sprint's part. It's extra sad when you consider that they are wasting their own money re-calling people with the same offer they weren't interested in last week ( or yesterday ).
- They have no process to ensure they aren't calling their customers too much. I don't mean from the same list/telemarketing plan ( which should have been covered if they did #2 ), but company wide. How hard it to put together a near real-time database of who has been called and stop any and all subsequent calls for a time period? Well I'm a software developer and I can tell you it isn't hard at all.
- The fact that it takes several weeks for my request to not be called to be processed. What are they doing chiseling it into a granite wall at the call center? Do they need to get signed approval in triplicate from some paper pushing manager? You're a technology company, start to act like it.
Sprint always seems to be having money troubles and laying off staff. What they probably don't realize is that it's marketing/customer service mistakes like this that are going to kill them in the end.
Cell phone providers are all basically the same. Coverage seems about the same from what I've read, same with dropped call numbers, and all of the usual issues. You can't really do much with stats like "We have 1.7% more coverage area" as no one cares. Every competing product works basically like yours. So what does a cell phone provider need to do, they need to make EVERYTHING about the customer experience as easy and painless as possible.
And you don't do that by having the only real contact I've had with your business in years be ridiculously annoying. Hopefully some Sprint folks will run across this post and change their ways before customers like myself who care more about the ease of use and customer experience than they do about brands, phones, features, or even price.
UPDATE: Looks like the amazing Seth Godin agrees with me that Sprint needs to start caring more about their customers before someone else does