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Sprint Drops Customers Over Excessive Inquiries 386

Posted by Zonk
from the just-a-bit-harsh dept.
theodp writes "The WSJ confirms earlier reports that Sprint Nextel is terminating the contracts of subscribers who call customer service too much (registration required). The 1,000 or so terminated subscribers called an average of 25 times a month — 40x times higher than average — according to a company spokeswoman, who also noted that a large number of calls from these customers were related to billing issues."
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Sprint Drops Customers Over Excessive Inquiries

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  • wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:17AM (#19777733)
    guess its one way to get out of a crappy contract with a crappy company...

    wait... am i first to post! hell yes sppp
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pionzypher (886253)
      If only I'd know that a month ago... I'd have saved $200. Still worth the money though. Text messages taking over a day to arrive? Most incoming calls sent direct to voice mail? No thanks.

      Disclaimer: Yes, I'm aware my experience may not be typical. But it WAS my experience.
    • Before you laugh, this action was the result of intense research by the managers of Sprint. They thought, "How can we get ourselves on Reddit and Digg and Slashdot as a mean, ugly company, without paying advertising costs?" And they found an answer!
    • by DutchSter (150891) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:58PM (#19781305)
      This is precisely why I left Sprint early this year. Doing simple math, if they say that people who call 25 times a month are doing so 40 times more than usual, that works out to 0.625 times per month, or about eight times a year. EIGHT times a year. I'm sorry, but that's crappy service if your customers have a 67% chance of calling about a given bill. Not once have I ever called about my DSL bill, or my cable bill. I've only called my credit card company once. Yet, calling Sprint was an almost monthly affair.

      Granted I know there's assholes who have nothing better to do but call customer support all day long. You get these people in any industry. However, I would consider myself an "average" Sprint customer. According to my records, I called them 46 times over the course of my 5.5 year history with them. It was always stupid stuff, usually no more than $0.50 but it's the principle of the thing. I specifically set both phones on the line to never roam and use Sprint Only. Yet, every few weeks the setting would silently revert to Strongest Signal. A couple of times I got charged roaming AND long distance to check my voicemail while in my home city. I would accept that maybe I screwed up and made a roaming call, but by Sprint's own admission, calling from the same city in which my voice mail is located should never be a long distance call. Fuck you, build a better system.

      Before we had a text messaging plan I'd get random text spam sent to my phone. Each time I followed the CSR's advice and deleted it before it was opened. Still got charged...after a few calls it was discovered that the "delete without opening" trick only works for text messages sent from other Sprint customers. Messages from the web are automatically billed, regardless of whether you open them. Fuck you, build a better system.

      Then we did get text messaging and my daughter got charged for 15 International text messages one month. The first CSR knew right away what the problem was - the Sprint computer thought all text messages were international for about a week or so. Credits were being automatically issued. Imagine my lack of surprise when no automated credits showed up, so I had to call each month until they finally broke down and gave me a manual credit. Fuck you, build a better system.

      So here I sit now with AT&T and not once have I had to call and complain about my bill. They were even able to put a purchasing block on my daughter's phone the day we activated. Sprint had no way of keeping her from "accidentally" buying ringtones and other phone shit that she's not allowed to have (Fuck you, build a better system...except that this one would deny you short-term income at the long term expense of losing customers). Oh, and three months into my contract AT&T happily unlocked my phone so I can use my Orange SIM when I'm visiting the UK...
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:20AM (#19777747) Homepage
    It's pretty clear that US cooperations have quite a bit of rights, and can take many forms of legal actions to their own benefit. But what about the consumers?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DogDude (805747)
      There's no such thing as "consumer rights". It's a meaningless phrase, anyway,
    • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:28AM (#19777793)
      Here in the U.S., customers can choose whether they want to get screwed by Sprint, Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile, AT&T, or Comcast. Isn't unregulated capitalism great?!
      • by purpledinoz (573045) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:35AM (#19778087)
        The US has it great. In Canada, you get to choose whether you want to get screwed by Bell, Telus, Virgin Mobile (which runs on the Bell network) or Rogers. Oh, and you want a GSM phone so you can use your phone everywhere in the world? Well, Rogers is the ONLY GSM provider in Canada (at least in Ontario). Bell and Telus are looking to merge too! And guess what, when they need more profits, they don't cut costs, they just raise prices. Canada has one of the lowest mobile phone penetration in the 1st world because of this.
        • by dabraun (626287)

          Canada has one of the lowest mobile phone penetration in the 1st world because of this.

          Which just goes to prove YOU DON'T NEED A CELL PHONE. Yes, I have a cell phone, but I didn't have one 10 years ago and if I really had that big of a problem with every single cell provider then I wouldn't have one now, if my employer felt I had to have one then they could pay for one - as it is I WANT one and I am fine with paying Cingular what amounts to a flat rate to get what I want. I fail to see how they are someho

        • TELUS has rescinded it's offer to buy out bell. That isn't happening. And where did you get your info about cell penetration. I haven't read anythign notable about Canada's Cell distribution.
          • I remember reading an article about it. But I don't remember where. But a quick google search yields some info. Check out this link [seaboardgroup.com].
      • by JordanL (886154) <jordan.ledoux@gm a i l . com> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:35AM (#19778089) Homepage
        Actually, unregulated industries tend to have better customer service... phone service and telecom is HIGHLY regulated...
        • by gruntled (107194) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @05:00AM (#19778181)
          Having grown up in a era where airlines, power companies, gas companies, the telephone company (there was only one at the time) and the cable companies were all told exactly what they could charge for their services, and what sort of services they could offer, it's impossible for me to avoid laughing when I hear about the claim that such and such a business in the United States is highly regulated. There ain't no more highly regulated entities in these parts, pardner.
          • by dabraun (626287)

            Having grown up in a era where airlines, power companies, gas companies, the telephone company (there was only one at the time) and the cable companies were all told exactly what they could charge for their services, and what sort of services they could offer, it's impossible for me to avoid laughing when I hear about the claim that such and such a business in the United States is highly regulated. There ain't no more highly regulated entities in these parts, pardner.

            Let me get this straight - are you actua

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by gruntled (107194)
              I'm simply responding to the following statement:
              "Actually, unregulated industries tend to have better customer service... phone service and telecom is HIGHLY regulated..."

              Leaving aside the issue of whether unregulated industries tend to have better customer service (a statement for which I can find a number of counterexamples, particularly the horrifically overregulated airline industry in the Seventies, when airfares were grotesquely expensive but there was quite a bit of sucking up to the customer, nearl
    • Well, I'm a business owner as well as a customer. The way I see it: as a customer, you have the right to pick a business or its competitor. The second right is to stop paying if the service provided isn't good enough. Seems like enough rights for me.
      • by AoT (107216)

        The second right is to stop paying if the service provided isn't good enough.
        You would really list that as a "right" in an article about cell phones?

        • Yes I would. Suppose my mobile phone operator regularly drops connection for hours on end. After contacting the helpdesk and getting a stupid reply (as expected) I would write a letter stating dates and times, and telling this isn't a reasonable service for my money and that I stop paying and the contract should be considered broken.

          Happens all the time with businesses.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by CanadaIsCold (1079483)

      Both Corporations and Consumer rights are protected in the US. In this case they would protect you from breach of contract. Most cell phone contracts do provide mechanisms for both parties to terminate prematurely.

      Although in the case of cell phones it is usually easier for the Company than the consumer.

  • Maybe (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teddy Beartuzzi (727169) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:21AM (#19777749) Journal
    They should get the customers bills correct, and then they'd stop calling.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SeaFox (739806)

      They should get the customers bills correct, and then they'd stop calling.

      You assume they have valid billing issues. Some people dispute stuff just because they don't want to pay it.
      And when a customer service rep refuses, guess what they do. Yup, they call over and over again hoping to reach someone who will do what they want.
  • I was once a Sprint subscriber. I had ongoing unresolved issues regarding their billing mistakes. I don't think I called 25 times per month (psycho), but I did call 3 or 4 times at the end of my statement period trying (usually unsuccessfully) to correct blatant errors on my monthly bill. Sometimes they would charge me an extra 6.99 for text messaging, other times the taxes were incorrectly computed (that one still blows MY mind). I had so many successful challenges of their incorrect billing that I was
  • What a joke... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ratbert6 (515555) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:38AM (#19777831)
    I couldn't wait for my contract to end with Sprint. The frequent billing mistakes were nearly monthly in occurance and required WAY to many calls to customer service to TRY and get them fixed.

    IN EVERY CASE, whomeever I had managed to get to when I request a 'manager' to speak with, would listen to my story/explanation of the problem and assure me that they had corrected the error and that it would show up on my account with XX number of hours.

    Odd, that every time the XX was a different number ranging from 4-48. Also, the fact that none of the errors were ever in fact corrected. When did it become 'standard procedure' to lie to the customer??? Every rep did it, everytime.

    I tried writing my disputes and sending them to customer service (with return receipt) to leave a paper trail of the disputed amounts which I never did pay and still owe according to them. None of my correspondance has been acknowledged in any way. They just flat expect that I will eventually pay to avoid the mark on my credit.

    I could go on forever, fortunately for you all, I need to go bed. Sprint is a company that deserves whatever it gets. I wish I'd been a customer they dropped. Guess I figured out too soon that they just won't do anything and I don't have the time to talk to those nice people in India all day to have them lie to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Evets (629327) *
      I hear you. They actually tried triple billing me at one point. I could go on for hours about them - including pretty much a breakdown at a store because it was plain to the employees in the store, the manager on premises, and the rep on the phone that they had fraudulently billed me AND fraudulently extended my contract and not a single one of them would do a thing about it. If I only knew calling them 25 times a month would get rid of them, I would have been calling them non-stop.

      Come to think of it...
    • by houghi (78078) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @06:13AM (#19778439)
      I am from Sprint and I hear you. I have looked into it and have coorected the procedure. This should be active in 28 hours.
    • I've only ever had one major headache with sprint. Without a long story since I am ready to go to bed, let's just say they screwed my account up so badly I had to call at least 2-4 times a day for 3 weeks to fix it.

      At the end of the fiasco, I ended up talking to the retention dept and getting basically unlimited everything for about $55/mo. I've had that for almost 2 years now, until I went and got a new phone the other day. I did call retention when I got home and they managed to hook me back up with al
      • And as long as you keep patronizing these companies that treat you like shit ("Please sir, may I have another?") they will just keep on treating you like shit.
  • Charge 'em (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:39AM (#19777837)
    Affected customers should bill Sprint the $175 termination fee. Contract's a contract.
    • Re:Charge 'em (Score:4, Informative)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @08:46AM (#19779029)
      Affected customers should bill Sprint the $175 termination fee. Contract's a contract.

      Except the contract is worded in a way that allows Sprint to terminate the service at any time if they choose to, which leaves the customer with absolutely no recourse. As you said, a contract's a contract.
  • I maintain a +/-100 phone account with Nextel and probably call 20 times a month (Contruction laborers are notoriously rough on their handsets - even the hardened phones don't do so hot when they get run over by an excavator)

    I guess I need to call 5 more times a month....
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      but that's only 1/4 call per phone each month. and i bet you aren't a dipshit on the phone.
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:15AM (#19777999)
    Granted, this is AT&T not Sprint but the concept still applies...

    Assuming you buy a $600 iPhone that doesn't work on any network other than AT&T's, when they terminate your contract, do they buy back the hardware that they've now rendered unusable?

    I wonder if you can claim it as faulty under an extended 2 year Apple care warranty as it now fails to work as advertised? I could see Apple getting pissed at AT&T for forcing them to take returns on otherwise totally functional hardware just because AT&T decided phone support cost too much.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by davmoo (63521)
      With phones other than the iPhone, this is probably not much of a valid issue. Most other phones are sold at a greatly reduced price, if not for free, for you signing the contract. When I renewed my Verizon contract last year, I got a LG Chocolate (an otherwise $300+ phone at that time) totally free...I didn't even have to pay sales tax. Thus if Verizon were to terminate me, I don't think I'd get very far whining to a judge about the expense of the now useless (unless I hack it) phone.

      The iPhone is the o
    • IF the contract is on the phone: yes.
      If the contract is on service: No.

      reading AT&T's contract it is on service. Hence if iphone is turned into a brick, you need to sue Apple for refund as per laws.
      • Afaict phones are locked to a network not a particular account, presumablly apple will just say it was advertised as working on AT&T and still works if you drop an active AT&T sim in it.

  • This is a great idea. Rather than improve customer service, why not just dump the customer's you've screwed over the most? That way customer satisfaction surveys won't reflect their opinion because they are no longer customers.

    Sprint should have to pay an early termination fee to the customers. What's the point of a two year contract if it doesn't work both ways? As it is, cell phone contracts require the customer to pay a non-prorated early termination fee and to pay whatever Sprint says to pay. Sprint is
    • by Tuoqui (1091447)
      Its probably in the contract that you can only sue them for $0 if they do early termination. As well if they do get sued for it they may alter the contracts in the future or at the next bill to cover their ass.
  • Customer Service (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mrshowtime (562809) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @04:47AM (#19778137)
    I worked at Cingular customer service, in a call center, for over a year during the TDMA nightmare years and 1/3rd the calls were from legitimate billing errors and screw ups due to roaming (that was in the vagueness days where true nationwide roaming cost a fortune), another 1/3rd of the calls were to cancel, or switch plans and the other 1/3rd were from angry customers who were blatantly lied to at the retail store and given free "add ons" that either were pulled off by the auditing department or simply did not work (like trying to add national roaming onto a strictly local plan).

    As a customer of Cingular since the switch to GSM I have had ZERO billing errors and I have been all over the country and have never gotten one roaming charge on my Cingular/Att bill.

    I can now go into my account on the internet and add and remove features and change my plan, which is just fantastic.

    As for Sprint dropping "problem" customers, I am all for that! The whole "firing the customer" is something new that has sprung up in the past ten years and I think in some cases it should be done. The thinking is that you are wasting time helping a customer that consistently has problems with your service as he/she is already badmouthing you to everyone they know and in the end you most likely will leave anyway. Put simply, your resources are better spent helping your normal "bread and butter" customers that spending inordinate time and resources on "a-hole" customers.

    Granted, this is not saying that the customers are in the wrong, but it stands to reason if a customer has to call over 25 times in a month for the same reason; Sprint should have escalated those calls after the third call.

    Also, some responsibility has to be put on the customers. I certainly would not stand for my bill to be screwed up to the extent where I would have to call 3 times, let alone 25 times; I would have found a way to get out of that contract.

    As for Customer Service, it's the same with all of the carriers. You are never going to get consistently good customer service anymore. The call centers in America have a horrendous turnover rate which impacts service greatly.

    I have noticed a new trend lately; outsourcing to the Philippines. The last time I had to call a company for tech support the person on the other end had a slight accent, but otherwise was spot on "American," and was familiar with American culture/t.v. show/music/etc. It was a refreshing break from the Indian call centers of late.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by not_anne (203907)

      The whole "firing the customer" is something new that has sprung up in the past ten years and I think in some cases it should be done.

      Thankfully, this policy also in place in the cable industry. I am allowed to blow off customers who are unreasonable, and it's great to be able to say no and not get into trouble. The customer is not always right. Some companies are far too lenient to customers who abuse the system and/or service provided to them. Customers always want something for free, and will waste an incredible amount of time and energy to save a buck or two.

    • by digitalchinky (650880) <dtchky@gmail.com> on Saturday July 07, 2007 @06:41AM (#19778533)
      For the last 8 years if you ever thought you were actually speaking to an American customer service representative, you were very probably talking to a Filipino. They speak with an American accent right from birth, average income is far lower than in the US, they are loyal, hard working, smart, and they have a generally pleasing disposition even when faced with irate customers. I wouldn't be surprised if the number of call centers here is far higher than in India (per capita anyway)

    • by loraksus (171574) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @07:07AM (#19778613) Homepage
      Granted, this is not saying that the customers are in the wrong, but it stands to reason if a customer has to call over 25 times in a month for the same reason; Sprint should have escalated those calls after the third call.

      Except with Sprint, they don't.
      You get transfered from one fuckwit to another. Over and over and over again. Agents lie to you repeatedly, giving false contact information, forgetting about promised callbacks the moment the line goes dead, "losing" records of previous calls and promised changes. You call back again, hoping that you'll get them to fix their mistake, but instead get kicked in the balls over and over again by yet another agent hates their job and knows there is no such thing as accountability at Sprint.

      As for Customer Service, it's the same with all of the carriers. You are never going to get consistently good customer service anymore. The call centers in America have a horrendous turnover rate which impacts service greatly.

      It also helps that all the carriers have nearly identical abusive contracts and policies that ensure that if you want to leave, you're stuck with a several hundred dollar cancellation fee and a (probably) a phone intentionally crippled to only work with a certain company's network.

      Once your customers are all so afraid of canceling early due to an ETF and you know the "competition" doesn't really provide anything better than what you have, is there a reason you have to care about what your customer service?
      Americans migrate from one carrier to another like mindless sheep, hoping that one cell phone carrier will be better than the last, but once they get their first bill, they realize that their new cell company is just as dishonest, unethical and scummy as the last bunch of fuckers.
    • Working for a major telephone or cable provider is an experience, and I agree with you wholeheartedly. Here, the sheer # of customers means you're going to have a significant amount of problem customers. Generally, companies are most generous about payment and billing (even forgiving about clauses in the contract) just to keep a customer and keep them happy. Here's but one example:

      I worked for such a major telco/cable company. Its true, there are often billing problems with the computer system or in process
  • Is it possible to sue them in small claims court for the time and money that their customers have to spend attempting to fix billing errors? Those are real damages caused by the company's incompetence.
  • by circularcircular (1105843) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @06:00AM (#19778389)
    Having worked in customer service for an IT company, I've come across these kinds of customers. They're the ones who never RTFM or refer to online FAQs. They need to speak to an actual person about everything, an email ticket won't do.

    They ring up about every little thing and ask obscure questions, like whether the pro-rata charge is based on the day starting at midnight, or 6AM like with the usage meter. Of course you don't know, so you have to waste time tracking down a manager to find out. And they make up an answer on the spot because no-one except for the database admin has ever needed to know that.

    Honestly, the amount of employee-hours it takes to deal with these customers isn't worth their monthly service fee. My company would encourage these customers to churn elsewhere too (and waive the contract termination fee). I bet a lot of other companies do this too.
    • by loraksus (171574)
      Yeah, it just isn't worth dealing with customers and resolving their billing errors either.
      Just close the account and send the bill to collections, regardless of whether it is correct or not.
      Much easier that way.

      And if you have to ask your manager who makes up something on the spot to answer a question, clearly the customer isn't the only one who hasn't read the RTFM.
      Some people are needy, whiny shitheads, but not everyone who calls a bunch is just doing it to fuck around.
  • by vic-traill (1038742) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @06:00AM (#19778393)

    It's not registation required, it's *subscription* required - $79 annually or monthly payments $9.95.

    Man, 59 comments and counting - I'm just so impressed that so many /. readers are paid up subscribers to the WSJ.

    What a way to ensure that no-one reads TFA - it's the declaration of a new epoch at /.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @06:33AM (#19778489)
    But I can see this as being legitimate in some cases. Some people are just whiny/needy as hell. They call all the time and take up a disproportionate amount of support time. I can see why a company would decide to cut these people. We have this problem at work all the time, since we are departmental tech support and there's no cutting anyone off.

    For example someone will send an e-mail asking for us to do something. This is the preferred method, it goes to the whole support group and is added to the ticket tracking system. Then, 5-10 minutes later (literally) they'll be down in the office asking if we got the e-mail. We tell them yes, these things take time and they proceed to badger us for a specific time when it can be done, which there nearly never is since the issue is generally unknown as to what is wrong. They ten come back a couple hours later, they call, they e-mail again, they e-mail their professor and so on. They seem to think that the way to get quick service is to annoy the service people. In fact it's the opposite, you get better service if you submit a ticket and let us deal with it.

    Also the people who tend to do that also tend to be the ones with the least problem solving skills. They'll go to support for the most basic problems, rather than try to work something out themselves. They'll contact us because a printer isn't working, and the problem is it isn't plugged in. They'll contact us because "the Internet is broken" when indeed the network is fine, just a single page they want is offline (and they still want us to fix it) and so on.

    Well, if we could, we'd love to terminate support for people like that. The small number of individuals account for a disproportionate amount of support time. In our case, it simply means that everyone, them included, gets worse support since there is just less staff time to go around. However in a company it could very well equal a higher cost. Thus I can see why you'd want to cut them lose.

    I'm not saying Sprint is blameless, I'm sure they are not. However if there's a problem, calling every day or multiple times per day just to whine "is it fixed yet?" doesn't help. People need time. Bugging them for an update every day doesn't help anything.
    • by loraksus (171574)
      However if there's a problem, calling every day or multiple times per day just to whine "is it fixed yet?" doesn't help

      At the same time, corrections to billing errors (an almost monthly thing when I was w/Sprint) shouldn't require a callback to ask "is it fixed".
      It should just be fucking fixed when someone tells you it will be.
      Instead, Sprint treats you to a giant circle jerk of unaccountability, lies and incorrect information from their CSRs which forces you to call back in, yet again.
  • If only I had known about this before I killed my Contract with Sprint. I paid 200 to get out of my contract. The problem was I was paying 90 dollars a month. After I switched, I now pay half of that with my current company, and pretty much have all the same features. In my opinion Sprint is NOT a very good company.
  • In a price unregulated environment, companies compete on price.

    In a price regulated environment, companies can't compete on price - so they compete on features and service.

  • It happens..... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Stanislav_J (947290)
    25 calls a month -- OK, in many cases, we might be dealing with an obsessed nitpicker here. But believe me, it is possible to legitimately hit that figure. I recently had a problem with my elderly mother's long-distance (I won't mention any names, but the letters "A," "T," and "T" come to mind). It was not a simple problem (it involved her having been slammed by Sprint some years ago, then getting funneled into the wrong plan when she went back to her original provider, etc.), but not nucelar physics, eithe
  • What we need (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Uruz 7 (986742)
    What we need is a company to come along and push customer service. The current phone companies don't care because you really don't have much choice. Either stick with crap or move to other crap. If you were in their shoes would you really want to hire the best people for customer service? Who cares if they suck and people get pissed. They will just whine on forums and in their living rooms but still keep paying.

    The only fix is when one company stands out and provides excellent service. So many people
    • I hate Sprint PCS (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Dilbert4567 (1124947)
      My late wife had a Sprint phone in her name, with a government-employee rate plan that I would not have qualified for even if I wanted to be a customer. After she passed away I called Sprint to have them turn off her phone, and they wanted a $150 early termination fee to do so!

      Sprint asked me to fax a copy of the death certificate to them, and when she continued to receive bills they always claimed they did not receive it, and asked me to resend the certificate so they "could take care of the bill". Aft

  • by HouseArrest420 (1105077) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @08:35AM (#19778973)
    I've been in the communications racket for a loooong time, and yes I've seen my share of call center calls where I would listen to the phone tech, tap him/her on the shoulder and drill into them until they knew what they screwed up.

    But, believe it or not (and most of you won't because I'm going to describe YOU in a sec), but the majority of customer issues are caused by the customer.

    Case in point:

    The very last customer I've ever spoken to (this is why I remember it) had been pushed around by tech support for over a month (at least this is what the customer and the acct showed). So I figured, let me go out of my way for this guy. Forget corporate policy and hit him up with his internet. I asked him to read me the CMAC off of the modem.

    "00:15:a3:45:3b:2e", He replied. That mac is just pulled outta thin air for story telling purposes.

    "ok, is this 123 I'm a moron lane?" I ask

    "yes it is" he replies.

    ok I gave you a bootfile for internet, reset your modem and try again" I say

    "Nope nothing, you people all have your heads up your asses, get me a manager now!"

    "No, sir until I get your internet up I'm not going to transfer you at all"

    Over 45 min later, and 200+ insults thrown at my intelligence, I find the problem. This jackass, who for the past 45 minutes has been insulting my intelligence, and has done the same to countless other reps, had told me his CMAC address was 00:15:a3:45:3b:2e when in reality it was 00:15:a3:45:38:2e. Theres one problem right there...we've been giving your internet to someone else. Not only that, but this moron who said he lived at 123 I'm a moron lane, failed to mention at all that it was a duplex and so 123 I'm a moron lane apt A was listed as just 123 I'm a moron lane, while apt b (where he lived) was 123b I'm a moron lane.

    I see this type of stuff happen all the time. You can't get online and you have a router? The issues most likely with your router because your modem is online. Customers hear that and right away think...buy a new router. Then they get made when they get home and still can't get online, call back in, and hear the same reason. Then they get ignorant with the support they're getting when they're the moron that buys crap they don't know how to work. They went out and spent 80+ bucks for a router, when, had they known how to work they're equipment, they would just have reset it.

    Long story short is: If you don't know how to work your own equipment..........don't blame tech support. Also, don't curl your lips to yell at billing for the $400 cell phone bill you got last month when you have it in the Analog Roaming Mode (do cells even have this anymore? I haven't had a cell in about 8 years)....thats your dumbass fault.

    I have always been of the mind that companies like Dell or IBM, or e-machines, or hell linux and microsoft, should ALL have mandatory certification programs if you intend to use thier product. And if you dont have this certificate you CANNOT call in to complain about anything but the color of the sky.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Just Some Guy (3352)

      Long story short is: If you don't know how to work your own equipment..........don't blame tech support.

      I did my time in tech support hell, so I feel your pain. Really. I've been there. But I've seen far too many techs who confuse "customer knows nothing" and "customer knows way more than I do but I can't admit it". If I have a serial connection to my DSL modem and I can verify that it's not getting out, I'm not going to reboot my computer to see if that fixes it. In those situations, the tech's probably cursing at me for "not knowing how to work my own equipment", but I still reserve the right to blam

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fantomas (94850)
      I have always been of the mind that companies like Dell or IBM, or e-machines, or hell linux and microsoft, should ALL have mandatory certification programs if you intend to use their product. And if you dont have this certificate you CANNOT call in to complain about anything but the color of the sky.

      Fine, just keep your idiot sales department off the public's back first of all. I think that's where a lot of the problem lies. People are being sold something by *your company* that they shouldn't be signing u
    • by birge (866103) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @02:36PM (#19781635) Homepage
      Your attitude is exactly why customer service sucks so much in technology. People in technology have no sense of proportion when it comes to customer expectations. If you can't provide internet service to somebody without having the customer read you an arcane 32 bit number in hexadecimal, perhaps there something you as a company could be doing better. Why have such high standards for the customer's knowledge? YOU'RE the one providing a technical service, perhaps the onus should be on you to do everything technically possible to make it easy. If they knew how to work this shit, you'd be hiring them. If your system is so easy to break that a customer can screw you up by leaving off their fricking apartment number, then perhaps your company should've taken a look at itself instead of blaming customers for being stupid.

      I'm guessing the miserable company you worked for never missed billing a customer for a dime, did they? When it comes to billing, you'll cross reference credit report address databases and employ all the cleverness one can wring out of an MBA to figure out exactly how to never miss a receivable. But when it comes to doing your job with a deliverable, you just can't figure out how to do it without the customer reading the bloody hardware ID of the router? That's chicken shit, and the fact that you don't know it and write a rant about "this stupid customer" is very telling. In the old days you would've sent somebody out there fix his problem instead of relying on him to do your field work for you.
    • by TheSpoom (715771)
      You've obviously worked there too long because you no longer care about the customer. Any decent tech (and I should know as I did tech support for a good two years before moving on) would have sent out a truck to the customer's house if he'd been spending so much time calling tech support without them helping him. And I agree with the sibling posts here; there's a serious problem with your support system if you have to ask for the MAC address every time a customer calls in. Shouldn't that be listed with
  • Not a bad plan actually.

    MS take note!
  • by Ritchie70 (860516) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @10:15AM (#19779593) Journal

    I agree that dropping someone who keeps calling because you can't get their billing right is absurd.

    But in a former career, owning a couple auto repair places, I did fire at least a couple customers.

    One was clearly either insane or senile. She couldn't get the concept that her Grand Prix was not the same as her (prior car) Cadillac DeVille - it would not automatically release the parking brake when she put it in gear. Just could not get it, and had these long, rambling, largely incoherent phone calls and conversations with us.

    The other was back every month with brake squeek on her Diamante, that ultimately turned out to be tire shine going thru the wheels onto the brake parts.

    In both cases, I refunded every dime they had ever given us, apologized for our inability to satisfy them, and sent them on their way. THAT is the right way to fire a customer, not this "go away" BS.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.

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