My Letter To Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse…
3/3/2012 5:34 PM
Dear Sir -
I write this letter today to bring awareness to a real problem with Sprint’s retention of long term customers, as well as a failures in customer service both in Sprint branches and on the phone.
Let me preface that I’ve been a Sprint customer for eight years and would rate my satisfaction as high during the timeframe. Compared to others in my area, Sprint’s service has been stellar with no drop calls and great voice quality in North Dallas. During all that time, I can remember only one event where I experienced two days of shaky service when a lightning bolt hit a water tower in my neighborhood.
The problem with retention seems to be centered around the lack of incentives to stay and how existing customers are treated by Sprint staff members.
Once my contract expired in 2011, I received a phone call from Sprint Customer service advising I was close to coming to term on my contract and was told to renew. I asked why I should renew. Specifically, do the terms of the Everything Plan change if not under contract. I was told there are no differences in price, but being under contract locks in terms in the event that the plan cost changes. During the contract term from 2010 to 2011, that statement was false as I was told in email that the plan was going up $10 due to having a smartphone on the plan. Since I was basically a happy customer, I overlooked this slight and another by removing Premier/Gold status, sun setting that program. Net-net, I declined to renew my contract and told customer service I would go month to month.
In February 2011, as I was walking to my car, my HTC Arrive broke when it fell out of my pocket. This was my fourth phone and I decided, after having insurance on the first 3 and having horrible luck getting replacements, to decline purchasing insurance as the cost of the plan didn’t equate to the value being provided. During the one time I tapped the insurance, I had a run of bad phones as most were reconditioned/refurbished phones that were DOA on arrival.
I decided to immediately visit a Sprint store to see what my options were. I was presented with two. First, I could buy another HTC Arrive phone for $450. Second, I could buy a refurbished phone for as low as $69, but it would have to be online and take 3-4 days to ship. The $69 phone was literally a flip-type phone that would normally be free to new customers. There was no options that would have me leaving the store with a phone. After explaining I was a long term customer with Sprint, that changed nothing. The store personnel looked up my account and noticed I was 3 months away from a “upgrade” and advised I should wait and something could probably be done.
He also mentioned I was in contract and couldn’t leave Sprint without a contract termination fee. When I told him I explicitly told Sprint Customer Service I did not want to be in contract, I was told that there was verbiage in the contract that would auto-renew and is done as a convenience!
What a frustrating situation. Did Sprint sales staff actually expect me to wait for 3 months and pay for service with no phone? Auto-renewing a contract after the customer told Customer Service not to do it? The fact I couldn’t even get a commodity low end phone in the store was completely unacceptable, especially as a long term customer.
This week, I terminated my contract and switched to T-Mobile. I was able to secure a Nokia Lumia 710 for free and the onboarding process was great. Although I know I am getting inferior service compared to Sprint, your leadership gave me no incentive to stay.
I am disappointed in Sprint. Although I am one former customer out of the hundreds of thousands of customers, please hear this message: Sprint’s current retention strategy isn’t working. The lack of options and double-speak during interactions with sales people underscore the problem with Sprint’s business practice. You didn’t earn my continued business and tarnished the trust that was built.