The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 July 2007

Finally, something to like about Sprint

It is said that 20 percent of the customers cause 80 percent of the work, and where I work it's more like 13/87. There is, of course, nothing that can be done about it.

Or is there?

Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information. While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs.

Therefore, after careful consideration, the decision has been made to terminate your wireless service agreement effective July 30, 2007. This will allow you to pursue and engage with another wireless carrier.

There's a simulated buckpass here, in the form of the passive voice — "the decision has been made" rather than "we have decided" — but otherwise this is the sort of thing I would love to do to certain of our stragglers: "You are causing us more trouble than you are worth. Go away."

I expect Sprint will be reviled for this action, if only because it's shown up on Consumerist, where denouncing Evil Corporations is a way of life, but in my capacity as a person who (1) doesn't make incessant demands of the firms from whom I buy service and (2) has to put up with an amazing number of people who do, I'm giving them somewhere around 2.25 cheers.

Posted at 1:31 PM to Dyssynergy

I'll admit that in my pizza management days there were a few (5-10) people I told to go elsewhere because they were constantly trying to chisel free food, either with the bad-service route (including accusing a vegetarian driver of eating their Meatzza pizza) or fake discounts ("Now check this out, I gotta coupon for buy 1 get 2 free.").

I guess some bean-counter took my idea and applied an algorithm to it, and spewed forth several customers names.

Posted by: Dan B at 2:21 PM on 5 July 2007

I was once dropped by my car insurance company. But that was because I ran into too many things. I couldn't really blame them, but man... it sure hurt my feelings. I don't think I'm quite over it yet *sniffle*

Posted by: GreenCanary at 3:59 PM on 5 July 2007

Hey wait.... shouldn't Sprint have to pay a $200 early termination fee??

Posted by: Deb at 4:52 PM on 5 July 2007

I can't support this in any way. Companies treat consumers like they're doing US a favor when WE CHOOSE do do business with THEM! But now apparently only if we're not too much trouble. Customer service has dropped to such a level that if you actually require it, you're a bother. If I got a letter like that, I would gladly switch providers as they obviously have zero skills in dealing with people. To Hell with 'em.

Posted by: MikeSwi... at 4:53 PM on 5 July 2007

I'd be more sympathetic, perhaps, were it not for the fact that at the very end of the day I discovered that an individual who has been on a cash-only basis for over a year — her checks and her credit cards invariably bounce — sneaked in under a variation of her name that was not caught. I don't want her to go somewhere else; I want her to die a horrible death, and I want ringside seats when she does.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:08 PM on 5 July 2007

I think it's a brilliant tactic. At my firm, we actively "fire" clients if we discover that our differences will likely lead to adversarial terms instead of progressive thinking. It's one of the many thousand things I like about where I work.

Posted by: Jennifer at 5:21 PM on 5 July 2007

I think "firing" troublesome customers is sometimes necessary, but when it's someone who catches a lot of errors and simply wants them fixed, it seems to me those responsible for making the errors are the ones who need to be dropped.

The question is whether all of this particular customer's "fix this" errors are legitimate.

Posted by: McGehee at 6:52 PM on 5 July 2007

Ultimately, however, the message is that "We provide customer service. We just don't want you to use it."

Posted by: Venomous Kate at 2:47 PM on 6 July 2007

I've often suggested that we convert our customer-service line to a 900 number, so at least it could contribute something positive to the bottom line.

And, well, if you've got problems, we'll help. But if your problems are self-inflicted, we'll be ever so slightly resentful while we're helping. We won't say so, of course. (Unless, of course, you accidentally ring in on my line, in which case you will be accused of taking unspeakable liberties with the residents of the petting zoo.)

Posted by: CGHill at 7:52 PM on 6 July 2007

Strikingly similar to a note I once handed an (about to be) ex-girlfriend. I too worked to resolve her issues and questions to the best of my ability, and the number of inquiries she made to me during our time together led me to determine that I was unable to meet her current dating needs.

Posted by: Rob "Flack" O'Hara at 3:09 AM on 7 July 2007