Skip to comments.The Customer Ain't Always Right
Posted on 07/11/2007 9:45:02 AM PDT by Kaslin
Hundreds of cell phone customers are being given the boot, accused of being too high maintenance.
Sprint-Nextel is disconnecting more than 1,000 subscribers on grounds the clients call customer service too often and make "unreasonable requests."
The 1,200 people getting dropped will have to find a new carrier by the end of the month.
A Sprint representative said the average customer calls customer service less than once a month, but the 1,200 clients getting the boot call 40-50 times as often.
Sprint said whatever the complaint, it has worked to resolve it but due to the volume of calls it's obvious customers involved are not happy.
In a statement, the company said: "Rather than continue to operate in a situation that was unsatisfactory for Sprint and our subscribers, we chose to terminate our relationship with those customers to allow them to pursue other options."
In my work, I do get plenty of time to deal with customers who, to say the least, have unrealistic expectations - people who want things which are impossible and/or who get amazingly rude when not instantly given what they demand. More than once I've wished I could just say, "ok, I've had it; I've closed your account, we don't want your business, please go annoy some other company".
On the flip side, companies can also be more reasonable - I've often wished I could just forgive something in an account because it was a one-time thing, or the customer was in a jam and just needed a kindness...I guess my plea is for everyone to just remember that we're all people on each end of the line, and all of us can use a break from time to time.
In all my years, I have always preached the constant re-evaluation of the most problematic customers, and refusing their patronage when necessary. All that wasted energy could be used on new and existing “good” customers.
I wish more companies would have the guts to do what Sprint did. Based on what I read the booted customers deserved it.
My business’s corproate motto is ‘The customer is seldom right.”
I know a few people who have Sprint and they have to constantly call them b/c of mis-billings.
If I was one of those customers and was getting “booted”, I’d be happy, no penalty for breaking the contract.
What is your business!
I have definitely fired clients in the past. When they demand beyond their business level, run extremely late in their payments, and abuse the staff..they are gone.
Shoot, there are websites devoted to this principle.
I have been in a Cingular store when customers come in to complain...and more than once, have seen the problem solved by simply showing the customer what THEY did wrong...like being idiots.
“The customer is always right” works when the average person is considerate and makes good-faith efforts to do right. Unfortunately, our society is not like that. Far too many consider themselves “victims” and completely refuse to take ANY responsibility or to make any real effort. Many of those same customers want something for nothing.
Business owners simply cannot afford to give away the business for those who complain all the time.
Anyone ever been to a restaurant and witnessed someone go out of their way to come up with a complaint, then try to con the manager into comping their meal? Happens very regularly. When I have had a legitimate complaint in the past - comping the meal was common. Now it is rare - and only if it is a BIG screw up on the part of the business, which is understandable. All I want is the problem to be fixed - I’m not looking for a freebie.
Back to the cell phone business. I have known folks who would get a new phone, then decide that they don’t like it (actually just want a different phone) and so they complain and come up with all sorts of excuses - calling the provider repeatedly to bug them into a different replacement phone. The phone the customer has is perfectly fine/functional. It just isn’t what they want (and it’s after the legal window to be able to get out).
Folks play the system - so the system has to change.
Anytime I call a company, any company, with am issue I try to remember that it is another human being on the other end.
If I cannot get my issue resolved with the lower tier I ask, do not demand, to speak to someone higher on the chain of command than the person I'm speaking to.
If I cannot get my issue resolved, after going as high as I can on the call, I send an e-mail to the highest ranking person in the company that I can scrounge an e-mail address for.
I never yell, I never curse, I never demand.
It seems to work for me. I am rarely refused and even in my e-mails I am concise, consistent, and polite.
For example, I used to frequent a sushi bar in town for my lunch breaks. The server just got off the phone with an angry customer. The customer was angry because he wanted to place a to-go order for the lunch specials because the last time he was there the order took a long time (45+ minutes). The server promptly told him no he couldn't do that, then started complaining to me about him. "Some people! You give them a hand and they want to take your arm, He should know that we are busy during our lunch specials and should have come earlier!" and other things said that led me to believe that the server thought he was doing his customers a favor by serving them.
IMHO the server should be thankful that I am there to patronize his business because there are literally hundreds of eateries for me to choose from. That attitude put me off, and I haven't eaten there since. People are demanding with their hard earned money, and their money will go to whoever meets their needs. That has been a prevailing attitude with a lot of employees I've seen, that customers should be thankful they are there to serve them, I believe the business OWNER would have a different attitude and be thankful for every customer he gets. Just a little business epiphany now that I have gone from employee to owner.
Sorry for the rambling....
We opened our company in November of 1997. I’ve routinely ‘fired clients’ in the years since. Its just not worth it to have crank customers taking up the staffs time with ‘small ball’ stuff, or outright ridiculous claims/requests.
I have many, many clients (insurance), who don’t pay their bills on time and then they get their next billing which includes a late charge and they call up screaming that the company is ripping them off by charging a late charge. I gently ask when they paid their bill and then explain that since they paid 10-12 AFTER the due date, the company added the late charge. They bitch and complain but I basically show no mercy. They ask what they can do to avoid the late charge, and I tell them directly, “pay your bill on time”.
‘I have definitely fired clients in the past. When they demand beyond their business level, run extremely late in their payments, and abuse the staff..they are gone.’
Same here. Its amazing how many clients seem to think they have a God Given Right to pay us net 60.
Screw that, I’m not a bank, nor a loan shark.
Hah, you and me both. I packed up their files, copied any data to disk and charged them for the time and shipping in my last invoice.
I agree. I’ll take quite a bit from people, but when a customer becomes abusive, it’s time for them to walk. As long as a person is respectful then they can continue to do business.
Wow! Sprint must have some very big problems if their average customer calls less than once a month! Does that mean their average customer calls at least once in 2 months, 6 or even in a year?
The problem with this is that Sprint does not explain why these customers were calling them so much!
I am of two minds-—deliberate harrassment of the service is one thing. I would love to fire some of the people I have to deal with because they are just plain jerks, ignorant or crazy.
But, for example, when the company messes up and it takes an enormous amount of calls to get them to fix their mistakes is different. A couple of years ago, my health insurance tried to deny me coverage for something that was supposed to be covered. I was e-mailing, faxing, and calling them for weeks. I finally had to go to the Insurance regulatory board to get them to finally pay up. It was horrible....one of the most stressful periods in my life because I was very sick