Thursday, July 12, 2007

Is customer service becoming a unique selling point?

This post has permanantly moved to this address: Is customer service becoming a unique selling point?


In The Middle said...

I've been on both sides of the customer service fence because I've worked as a customer service rep at a call center in the past. So my understanding of the issue behind the decision may be just a bit more informed.

I used to answer crazy calls quite often when I worked at two different call centers. And a lot of the time, the callers were repeat offenders. There were those that wanted something for free and wouldn't be satisfied until they went up the ranks to find someone who'd give it to them. Others were really nasty and seemed to find enjoyment just calling to put us in our place per se. Still, I think some of them were just bored or lonely.

We actually had to flag some accounts as troublesome. Those bypassed all normal attempts at service and went straight to supervisors. If you look at it from a standpoint of time spent, a lot of it is wasted dealing with customers like this when reps could be handling calls with customers who actually NEED something. I agree that cutting their losses didn't do much to Sprint/Nextel's bottom line, but I'm wondering if it was worth it.

The decision doesn't really help Sprint/Nextel's image in a market where customer service is one part of a three-pronged evaluation, the others being coverage and technology. Just the idea that they would do such a thing could look like the company doesn't really care about it's customers if it feels that they're being pests.

I've had trouble with my wireless carrier, and I had to call multiple times to get the issue ironed out. I know that wouldn't be enough to get me dropped, but others out there might not be so sure.

In a nutshell, I think it was a decent attempt to curb unecessary call center traffic, but ultimately it isn't good for business.

Anonymous said...

To In The Middle,

I don't think it will matter in the grand scheme. Nobody interested in Sprint/Nextel is going to say "They got rid of their troublesome customers so I'm going elsewhere." If they have a phone you like or some other service is attractive, you're probably going to go for it.

Also, no one ever looks at themselves and says "I bet I'd be so annoying that (Fill in the blank) won't want to deal with me." Given that, potential customers of Sprint probably think it wouldn't happen to them, so where's the problem?

Honestly, I'd still go to Sprint. No, that isn't true. Their coverage sucks!