I know, things are not easy when it comes to terminating services. I’ve had my share of troubles in the past, and here’s one successful story that I’d like to share with you all.
I’ve been a member at Sprint for over 8 years, beginning in 2000. Last year, in order to get my hands on one of those great looking iPhones offered via AT&T, I decided it was time to leave Sprint. And all I needed to do was simply go online, and click to terminate my service.
Somehow, the online system showed that I have some kind of contract. Since I bought my last cell phone way over 2 years ago, there was no contract. But the system showed that it did, so I called customer service. The man who answered, I cannot even recall his name, told me that I have another year left in my contract. I asked him I never did such a thing, and he said: “yes you did.” I kept telling him I never did, and he told me: “you made a change to your plan while you were in your contract, and doing so automatically extends your contract.” Now, as a customer, I have no clue what I did over the past couple of years regarding changing my phone plans. I have the bills set up automatically, so I don’t really care as to what plans I changed and when.
Well, after a few talks, I asked whom I can reach who can solve this better, and the customer service guy told me to call the corporate office on the website. I asked if he can direct me to them, and he said that it’s on the website. Well, for heaven’s sake, I couldn’t find it as easily as he said! Well, somehow, I ended up talking to an Account Manager of some sort. He would probably be the salesperson who has a little more authority then the customer service people. Well, I told him about the situation, and this man would tell me the same thing over again, but with a little more authority and condescending manner (as if, I’m a child who’s asking for more chocolates): “well, you should have known that changing the plan extends your contract. ” So I answered, “well, I didn’t know. And since I didn’t know, and since no customer service rep. ever told me about the extension, what can I do?” And he said, “That’s something everyone knows. Even my little brother, my nephew, and all my friends know about that.” How nice, how courteous, how professional – from a man who’s known to be an Account Manger.
So after some embarrassing discussion over the phone, I decided this is something I must get over quickly. I did my little research over the web (thank you, web!), and saw the Sprint had recently hired a Chief Service Officer. Now, I didn’t even know such an executive position existed, but it seemed like a really nice push. So with more research, I found out the CSO’s e-mail address, and sent him an e-mail about my situation and what I had to go through. Immediately, he responded saying that he will have his management team call me. Soon, a very nice lady called me saying she’s calling from the executive office, and that she will remedy the situation. After she went through my records, she said that although the records show that I changed my plan, I never did. Something was wrong, and she couldn’t believe that the customer service didn’t even look into it carefully. So she apologized, and everything was finally resolved.
Now, I could have asked for a reward for making me spend so many hours researching and talking over to customer service, but was just too tired to even ask.
Well, for one thing, at least the upper management care. They hired a new position – Chief Service Officer – because they know how important service is in their line of business. And that’s why they acted immediately upon my contact – which I was even surprised at the fact that they read my e-mail. So they’re going in the right direction. But it’s a matter of how and when their vision to change the customer experience into a good one will take place among the hundreds of customer service reps (including account managers) who handle the millions of customers on a daily basis.
Perhaps referring to my Daily Insight post on “customer service” would give them a better idea as to the problems they face.