back to article Sprint boots 1,000 phone customers for talking too much

Sprint-Nextel has terminated the accounts of its 1,000 most-annoying customers. After a recent internal review, the U.S. wireless carrier gave at least 1,000 people the boot because they've been making far too many calls to the company's customer care centers. Of course, the real shocker is that the company has agreed to waIve …

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Dammit.

Where's my termination notice? I'll have to call them more often instead of just showing up at the offices.

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Dan

Hear, Hear

Finally... Having spent time as a Sprint/Nextel customer care rep, where I had to deal with callers cursing both at the company and at me, personally; callers trying to commit various forms of fraud; and callers who were, apparently, disgruntled ex-technicians because they would order repetitive changes which would often crash the database.

When customer care agents are able to recognize by name and voice individual customers over a months-long period, then those customers are a problem, and are no longer profitable to Sprint. Cutting costs in customer service does not always mean giving jobs to India- I applaud Sprint/Nextel for finally doing something that might be interperted as caring about their customer service.

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Lets be fair

There are some customers out there who simply are unreasonable. Ive been in service long enough to know this and there is a point beyond which its better for the company to cut free the problem cases so they can devote those resources to customers who there is at least some hope of actually helping.

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Anonymous Coward

Is That Serious?!

So the message given out is, have a problem with your account and keep calling up to resolve it and your simply told you get stuffed!!

Maybe if they got their fingers out and resolved customers issues fully first time these people would not feel the need to keep calling up again and again to try and get things resolved...

Got if that was true in the UK, some companies would have no customers as their services are riddled with problems that are not resolved. Look at British Gas and the billing issues thousands of customers face weekly!

Next they will have a recorded message on the IVR 'thank you for your call, you have now been placed in a queue and your call will be answered shortly... Please be aware, we operate a strict quota system, if ypu have called us previously on a number of occasions your quota maybe exhausted, therefore we will no longer require your custom... Have a nice day!

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COMPLAINING too much! Misleading Headline by author.

I have Sprint / Nextel (thank god not shit AT&T) and I've found that their customer support people are the best if you're courteous with them (the service is the best sounding and most reliable of the big four here in the US too).

That said, I don't blame them the least in dumping jerk customers that on average call them and complain ON AVERAGE 100 times per quarter (which your lousy writer failed to mention!).

The Reg, your reporter and reporting leaves a great lot to be desired, that's my first bitch this quarter.

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News Flash! Sprint Nextel stock on the rise!

Sprint Nextel announced that their customer satisfaction ratings went up tremendously this afternoon!

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Anonymous Coward

English as she is mangled

Why do Americans keep saying "impact" when they mean "affect"? Just asking...

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sprints side

according to spring these were people that were calling in 90 times a in 6 month period to get free credits. THey were terminating people that had $5k credit balance. People that due to credits have not paid a bill since 2005

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Sprint Nextel customer base

so, 2/10000th of 1% is 1,000 people. Which makes their customer based (hang on, carry the two...) 50,000,000 customers.

Shit! 50 million customers... that's over twice the estimated population of Australia as of the start of June 2007.

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customer care support people are limited by the unethical policies of the company

My experience with Sprint revealed to me that from the top they set up the whole system so that the customer care people simply cannot resolve many problems. The only people you can contact are discouraged from helping you get refunds by being penalized if they give too much money back to customers. What is more is that each employee in the company has a limit to how much they can return total to customers each month. So, when they overcharged me by $550, I called customer care and no matter how I dealt with the person on the other end of the phone or how nice they sounded, they eventually put me on hold (sometimes for an hour) and everytime I would get cut off. This happened with the managers as well as with the first tier of support. The problem was that they simply could not refund my money and even if they refunded a small portion of it, they would max out their monthly allowance and be penalized for that. I found this out by walking into a Sprint store and talking to the reasonable people I found there. They were also not empowered to give me my money back, but they got to the bottom of it for me (i got a credit instead of the money, so i ended up married to them for another 9 unhappy months). Hey-ho for making a personal connection.

So, if they overcharged many customers many dollars through some clerical or technical error, they cannot refund all of the money based on the policies of the company. It works out in their favor, eh? Do I want to sign up for this system? No way!

This is unethical. I prefer to give my business to Catherine Zeta Jones.

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Anonymous Coward

We've done that before....

One particular user's calls to the helpdesk get routed straight to /dev/null

She kept having "problems" every 10 minutes or so for MONTHS on end. Eventually we actually stuck an intern in her office. But she still CALLED.... To complain about how he was patronizing her (actually, he was trying to teach her how to use bloody Windows). Eventually she got so annoying that we pulled her personal technician, we rerouted her calls on the PBX, and we replaced her desktop with the oldest, cruddiest one we could find. She can't badge into our building, so we're safe from physical visits. We've spoken to HR about her, and it turns out she's a bloody fvcking contractor, and we're stuck with her until her 2 year contract is up.

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Anonymous Coward

Has Rufus got a new job?

Sprint do not have to server you.

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Canadian "reps"

Most of their customer service reps are up in Canada, more specifically, TIMMINS, ONTARIO.

Cant say how I know... but do check out a map, it's really REALLY remote.

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Anonymous Coward

Sprints over-billing practices lead to cancelation for those who won't take their #!@&

I was a customer with Sprint years ago, and my relationship with them ended because they made a mistake in their billing, and despite repeatedly hearing that "the problem will be fixed", it never was. After 5 months of trying to get it right, I had had enough. I would bet that the avid complainers have a legit complaint about their billing being incorrect (similar to mine), and Sprint refused to make good and fix it, although I'm sure they promised to. Even though the final balances for those canceled customers was wiped out, it sends a message to others that they are willing to cut off your service if you don't like being ripped off, and too much to say about it.

Terrible company, with horrible accounting. They'll wait you out with their overcharging, knowing that they can destroy your credit if you don't cave in to their BS.

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2/1000 not 2/10000

Re-read the paragraph!! Sheesh...

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Sacking the Customers

It's a contract, not a moral obligation. If Sprint aren't making money, and they can stand the PR downside, and the contract allows them, they should cease it.

I once sacked a customer for vexing my Ops Manager. They could never just pay a bill -- everything had to be challenged, and the profit on the business didn't justify the hassle.

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Silver badge

I wouldn't mind . .

. . having CZJ take care of _my_ "business".

Euh, like they say : I'll get my coat.

Oh, and Mr. Phreaky, while I agree with you that jerk customers deserve getting the boot, I also happen to have a similar opinion on people who don't bother to read before they comment. If you had actually read the article you flame the author for, you might have noticed that the author specifically states : "each of these account holders has been phoning customer care 'hundreds of times a month' for a '6 to 12 month' period"

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Anonymous Coward

Topslicing

...and why not? It sounds like this fraction of a percent were a waste of space, resources, and making the customer service experience significantly worse for everyone else.

I let the staff nominate one customer a quarter for termination at one (small) place I worked years ago. There was one particular fat, bearded, litigous, foul-mouthed, pain in the ass who I took great pleasure in telling that his business was no longer welcome.

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They need to learn from some well known UK ISPs

There is an easier method to deal with such pesky customers. It is rumoured to be in use by one well known UK ISP. It is to use callerID matching to process the support call center queue. Advance "known troublemakers" in the queue only if the support center staff got nothing better to do. Works a treat apparently. After spending 48 hours in a week queueing the customer gives up and puts up with whatever he did not want to put up with.

P.S. I bet that everyone have guessed which ISP I am talking about by now.

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2/1000ths?

1/500th, surely?

Yours etc.,

Outraged of Lyme Regis

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what another ISP do

Another large British ISP match the caller ID of flagged callers and divert them to people who can just brush off the flack and completely ignore them....

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Anonymous Coward

"Customers annoying the 'help'?

Oh spare me. I asked Nextel "support" people for clues to which phones supported Bluetooth (not just earphones mind you) and was told parenthetically that no Nextel phone did. I suggested that the absence of this might cause me to seek out an new phone company. The response was "well you'll have to do what you have to do. Now is there ANYTHING ELSE I can help you with? No? Have a nice day". I searched their website for several days and found a way to get to their technical support. Who told me the website was indeed confusing and that there were no less than two phones that did what I was looking for. Perhaps if they had customer reps that actually knew something they'd A: stop loosing market share and B: stop getting repetitive calls. -sigh-

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Good for them!

Ok, if you have ever worked support, you know that some people are never happy unless everything is free and done for them.

I applaud Sprint for kicking them to the curb.

As far as phone customer support goes, I've found that pretty much, if you have a problem, all of them suck. If something goes wrong, it's a battle to try and get it fixed. I have had problems with Sprint, but they have also been better than the others I have messed with.

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Anonymous Coward

Sprint - will kill you!

I was dropping 5 calls a day in Sprint's home town. After about 6 months straight of this I just kept calling them for credit's - which you're allowed to do.

Problem was, I was getting so annoyed with crappy service - I tried to cancel on the basis of their failure to perform. They fought me for 3 months - agreed with me for 3 more months and overcharged me the whole time. I was given verbal promises by 3-4 different managers who all empathized. Said it would be taken care of, but lo and behold - a month later my bill was 350 again...

It wasn't until I said I want to take your manager to every single person I spoke to that I finally got to a canadian rep - who said, I see this bullshnicky all the time. I'll handle this right now. And HE DID!!!!

I wasn't going to stop until I spoke to Gary Forsee himself. Second to that - ever notice when you call them about successive issues, they act like there aren't any notes???????????????????????????????

You have to re-explain the problem!!! oh and if you call thier main support number for 30 seconds they broadcast an annoying squelch tone...EVERYTIME to get you to hang up. SPRINT SUCKS. Cingular works for me.

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This isnt the full story...

Actually... According to Sprint the official number is someone who calls in 15 times in one month... Not just over a duration of 6 months, ect...

Also, each "call" to Sprint can be recorded as many many more than just 1 call... Each time you get transfered to a different department its counted as 1 call, each time you speak to a supervisor thats another call, ect ect... So if you have an issue and that rep passes you off to another rep, you essentially called sprint 2 times, even though you didnt.

Also, its not just the people calling in for free credits... There are a few that were canceled because of Sprint's incompitence. They were overcharging this person for a long time (about 6 months IIRC). Each time they would call in and attempt to get the issue resolved, they would get transfered a number of times (each time counting as another call, which they werent aware of), eventually they would get the issue resolved, but the next month, Sprint screwed it up again... They ended up sending her a letter telling her that she called in too much and was a problem, find another provider.

Also, if you let your friend use your phone to call Sprint, it counts against YOUR calls (while this makes sense in some respects, every call to Sprint they ask you for your number, which SHOULD mean that the call should count towards the number your calling in about, not the number your calling from)...

So as for this article, it holds some truth, but it doesnt tell the full story, and it doesnt tell about the legitimate problems people have with Sprint and how they are getting screwed because of Sprints inability to unscrew themselves...

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Anonymous Coward

Indeed Sprint will Kill you!

I had exactly the same problem. I was a loyal customer for many many years. One day I thought "this is going so well i'm tired of writing them a check each month so i'll autopay the bill".... since the bill was exactly the same every month (with a few $$ here and there) I was not concerned. Three months later Sprint charged my bank account $674!!!!! They said that, when they added another phone to my contract (I got married) they accidentally set the new phone to be the main phone on the account, and then set that phone in a different "home region" (with the same Area Code).. Not until someone called to tell us they had had to pay long distance fees to call my wife did I know something was weird. When I had them check they said "no problem it's all fixed right now sir". It turns out that the second person wiped the plans out entirely so we were paying PER MINUTE for long distance calls for about a month and a half. After 2 months on the phone (without my money back by the way) they fixed it and said that they felt SO BAD they would COMP me a new phone at no cost (as mine was old at the time).. this was offered out of the blue, without me asking.

Guess what?? Next month they charged me a setup fee + $595 for the new phone... It took two more months, and asking to be given the phone number of their legal counsels office.. they credited me the money back.

At the end, Sprint overcharged my account by almost $1500 in four months. Then they wanted their Quit money when I quit because "when we gave you the new phone we renewed your contract"....

Everything anyone says about Sprint overcharging is true their have been class action lawsuits against them that showed that they overcharge almost every customer at some time because "most people won't call for a credit"... I believe they said at one point that they make millions in profits each month from false or over charging.

Nice eh? Bastards.... I live near Sprint and have a dozens of friends and employees that worked for them... they really are the most crooked mess of a company ever seen. I hope Nextel (which I hear is running the joint now) clears a lot of this up.

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Anonymous Coward

Sprint/Nextel customer base -v- Australia

> Shit! 50 million customers... that's over twice the estimated population of Australia as of the start of June 2007

So, you can see why it's high-time they adopted John Howard's care policy ..

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Anonymous Coward

Mangled English

In the US, "impact" is sometimes said to mean "to have an effect upon."

Actually, if you visit http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/impact one of the definitions of impact is "to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter"

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Rob

"There are some customers out there who simply are unreasonable"

If you work in IT support role, that would be everyone then (BOFH taught me everything I know)

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