Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Promises, Promises

Some little while back I wrote about e-mail sent to me by Sprint upon my completing a customer satisfaction survey for them. In the survey I reported, truthfully, that I was dissatisfied with the results of an e-mail inquiry I had made of them previously (indeed, the survey was a "how are we doing?" follow-up to my e-mail query). (I wrote about that experience, too.) Anyhow, what they had to say at the time was this:

    Thank you for responding to our survey. We are sorry to learn that you have an unresolved issue as your satisfaction is very important to us.

    A Sprint representative will contact you via your PCS phone at no charge, within 3 business days to assist you.

    Please do not respond to this email. If you have any questions please contact Customer Service or visit one of our websites: or

As previously reported, that e-mail came to me on May 15. Today is July 23. No message from Sprint, via PCS phone, e-mail, snail mail, or homing pigeon, these past two months.

File that under Don't Make Promises...

Anyhow, last night I happened to be in the Verizon store as my daughter had her phone attended to. She's already made the switch, obviously, and seems to be happy as all get-out with their service. (I should have pulled out my phone to see what sort of coverage I had in the Verizon store.) Anyhow, I've already packed our bags mentally as far as abandoning Sprint...after something like ten years. It's not as amusing as you might think to be in a public place passing the time watching other folks chat away on their cell phones while mine is doggedly Looking for Service. And since both my son and I do a fair amount of texting--often with one another--it's also a treat to see what the next phone bill has in store overage-charges-wise. (That issue, you may recall, was the genesis of my original e-mail to Sprint, the one that got responded to but not answered
, which triggered the customer-satisfaction survey, which generated the above-mentioned e-mail, which did not produce the promised phone call, which lived in the house that Jack built.

But I digress.

It turns out that two of our three Sprint contracts expire in February, with the third ending the following October. That's a bit longer than I'd like to dally, but I'm unenthusiastic about spending money to get out of this indentured servitude. So it occurs to my to try a radical approach:

Ask them.

No kidding. I'm mentally drafting a nice, polite, even friendly letter to, say, the CEO of Sprint/Nextel. Something along this line:

    Look, I've been a customer of Sprint for something on the order of ten years. If you haven't made a profit on me by now, you never will. On the whole I haven't been hugely dissatisfied with Sprint--it clearly was the best game in town when I first signed up--but lately it's been losing ground, at least in my area. Coverage isn't good. Calls are frequently dropped. Indeed, I was sitting at my desk on the second-floor of my centrally located home, chatting with my aunt, when suddenly I was talking to myself when the phone lost its signal. And then I had to wait for it to regain its senses, go into Analog Roam, and then finally find a digital signal again. Not good. Anyhow, with this and that my family and I are, as the song has it, already gone. We're not renewing the contracts as they expire. Given that--and given that two of our lines runs out in February--how about we agree to an amicable split? Let us out of our contract and we'll go try somebody else. No hard feelings. There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy; there's only you and me and we just disagree.

Yeah, I know: I might as well go talk to the side of the Sprint/Nextel headquarters building. But you never know. Might be worth a stamp. Stay tuned for further developments.

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