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2 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2012 4:44 AM by sprint9149 RSS

Good riddance Premier!  But why nothing to entice stable customers?

l_hummel Newbie
Currently Being Moderated

No offence to frequent upgraders, but if it weren't for all the PR dollars, I wouldn't have noticed S|P's coming nor its going.

It's easy to see that carriers who have to pay phone subsidies too often face a significant financial hit.  Yes, the thousand-plus dollars a year in revenue per customer has room to offer some "pay-back", but annual or even biennial smart-device upgrades probably represent a concession that is unsustainably far into the double-digits.  And that's not counting the costs when customers trade phones they were relatively happy with for buggy new ones that create dissatisfaction and/or a support burden.  What's more, those of us who make purchases at a more deliberate pace, rewarding the carrier more than the equipment manufacturers, have gotten and continue to get the short end of the stick.

As a customer who has been a Sprint (PCS) customer in some way for around twenty years across two states - Sprint currently gets a very large but incomplete fraction of our wireless budget, here's what I'm trying to find:

  • On occasions when I do update, share at least some of the extra money you saved by not having to subsidize new phones as often as you allow.  Especially when my update would boost your ARPU sooner rather than later (if ever) due to things like adding a data plan.  I'd gladly forego an upgrade on my phone that lets me apply my $150 plus a chunk of Sprint's savings to my wife's upgrade credit.  Subsidize two bottom-rung iPhones or one that's just a little more expensive?  I'd love to know why Sprint's finance people wouldn't prefer the latter.
  • A $5 service credit that I like many others have trouble finding?  Pffpt!  That's less than the typical, annoying overage charge in months when such things happen.  Token discounts on overpriced accessories?  If your market is value-conscious consumers, that'll get you polite snickers at best.  Try scaling credits significantly based on years, monthly subscription charge, equipment update opportunities not taken, stuff that you'd like to encourage more of, and then you'd be getting some sincere appreciation.
  • If G-d forbid my Treo 755p falls in the toilet, that four-year-old smartphone I can replace used for something like $50 or a new "old" Pre for around $90 on eBay (but would be paying $96 per year plus a $100 deductible to keep it under the TEP/ERP), if I need to swap ESNs, don't make me go re-think my carrier choices by forcing me to drop my existing plan just because of a measly ESN swap to roughly comparable hardware.  If you're not enticing long-tenure customers with something really new that we value, let us keep our existing plans.  It's clear Sprint can do it because there are cases like TEP replacements when it does do it.  If not for legal reasons, then out of the good sense to increase revenue by pleasing, rather than antagonizing your customers.  Never make your customers fight their way through customer service to do what most reasonable people would consider fair.  Even long-term customers who stick around when off-contract will re-evaluate now and then where the dollars are going, especially when faced with an unfavorable change.  That least of all is a time to make us angry.
  • Why am I not seeing an easy way to talk to a rep who is knowlegeable, candid, reliable, and fully authorized to tweak Sprint's offerings to fit the circumstances?  I always dread the thought of playing rep roulette until I get a CSR who doesn't push too hard or parrot the information on Sprint's web site before they've figured out what research I've already done and what I care about.  Now there's a way to make use of data ... route customers to CSRs they rate highly or who "similar" customers rate highly.  It might be an investment, but it's pretty clear that when CSRs have to keep asking because they can't seem to see the answers we handed over while trying to reach them, customer service needs better support.

Bottom line, Sprint needs to show more signs it can think like the kinds of customers they want to attract, retain, and enlist as advocates.

< Lionel

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