Why Executive Customer Service Is Magic

Image courtesy Uni and her Ukulele.

After going through the worst cellphone experience we’ve ever heard, Chris got his cellphone canceled.

He did it by contacting Sprint Executive Customer Service, just like we’ve been telling you people over and over again. Chris writes:

“It’s all in wearing them down before they wear you down. I had to state repeatedly that, “Due to the level of customer service I expected as a basic part of the contract, and the profound lack of customer service that has been demonstrated by your company, I respectfully request to be released of this contract with no penalty.”

Evidently it’s like saying “beetlejuice” 3 times, because after I said it enough times, I was greeted with the option of repairing the bills and being assured of a great future with Sprint, or stating that I had completely lost faith in the company as a whole, and there was no way my future with Sprint could bring anything beyond more frustration and phone calls to Customer Service. She agreed to present my case to her peer group of analysts and call me back within 24 hours with an answer.

Within an hour, I received a phone call back stating that my account was being closed on a given date, and that it would be done so without penalty.”

You too can do it by calling 1-877-875-7505 and asking to speak with Gary Forsee, CEO and Director of Sprint. You won’t get to talk to him, but you will get to talk to someone who hast the power to say YES.

Read Chris’s horror story, inside…


Chris writes:

    “You had asked me to write on this subject a while ago, and now that I’ve finally reached the final weekend of my time with Sprint, I can safely share the story of how I was released from my contract.

    I signed up for service in June ’06 having been a prior customer of T-Mobile for some time. I was intrigued by the low prices I could get through my corporate discount, and wanted to reduce my monthly expenses. From the moment I signed the contract I should have listened to the pang coming from my stomach — I’d made a mistake it would take months to reverse.

    I purchased average quality Sanyo phones and was supposed to receive a rebate for the cost of one of them. Initially I let Sprint set up numbers for me, as I was unsure if I was porting one or both of my T-Mo numbers over. Upon making that decision the next day, the store I purchased my phones from told me to call Customer Care and they’d do all the work for me. I called customer care to port one number to phone A, and to swap the Sprint number from phone A to phone B, because it was one of those “wow I can remember this number!” sort of situations. The representative took a while, told me to turn both phones off for 12 hours, and everything would be all set. Almost 24 hours later, no dice. Neither phone worked at all … nothing was active … I was dead without cell phones. Not only this, but my T-Mobile lines didn’t work either – so something had went wrong with the port.

    I call and get another representative, who says he’ll complete the process again. He says this time it should only take 3-5 hours for Sprint to recognize my accounts and numbers, and that I should call back later in the day if there continue to be problems. I’ll remind everyone that a customer service phone call to Sprint is no short affair – you should bring a book, a snack, and in some cases a blanket to the couch, and be prepared for endless hold times.

    Representative # 3 gets called 6 hours later … only this representative is in India. I understand the purpose of outsourcing, but I would expect people to be able to not only read the lines of scripted text, but also be able to comprehend what they meant so that they could choose the next scripted line to read to me. It should be more like one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ novels, and less like banging my head against a brick wall. Whatever this rep did, she basically canceled my account completely, caused $400 in termination fees, disabled both phones, and pretty much sent my blood pressure into the stratosphere.

    The next morning I show up at my Sprint store, both phones in hand, boxed up and ready to throw. The assistant manager at the store had a horrendous attitude and it wasn’t until I opened up the wrath on her that she stopped speaking to me like I was the fat kid trying to ask the cheerleader to the prom. Between us, we spent almost 4 hours on the phone with customer care getting the account straightened out, and after a lot of “I can’t believe you people!” I was assured everything was taken care of.

    If only things were that easy. Within a week the phones weren’t functioning properly .. I had no wireless web, no Ready Link, no nothing. Countless tiers of technical support tried to assist me with my problems, all being willing to work with me as best they could, and some even providing account credit for the inconvenience. I reached some technical guru who spent another two hours with me on the phone, reprogramming over and over until I could have applied for a technician position at Sanyo with my newfound knowledge. Still nothing.

    Finally, after a rough experience with a Sprint manager in another store who basically told me Sprint isn’t responsible if the features on my phone don’t work … they aren’t guaranteed to do so … again opening up wrath, I found one man who was able to fix the technical issue and send me on my way. Once and for all.

    Or maybe not.

    Over the course of a few months, Sprint messed up my bill almost every month … I caught that they had not changed the amount of minutes on my plan to the correct plan when they were fixing all these service issues, faxed them a copy of the print screen, and fought another few hours trying to get that part resolved. Then I got charged for every single phone call I made for one line as though i was over on my minutes. They tried fixing that three months in a row, and after telling me each time that it was fixed, I was forced to call back multiple times and deal with people who didn’t think it was their job to fix the problem.

    The phone call that brought me to the Consumerist happened one night a few weeks ago, where a supervisor proceeded to tell me even though my bill was incorrect, I wasn’t eligible for any sort of credit on the bill to compensate for the two hours I’d spent on the phone, because I’d been issued more credit in 6 months than I’d actually paid out in bill for service. Bear in mind the majority of this was from their destroying my account and having to rebuild it … but to think that they actually admitted to me in a possibly recorded conversation that I was not a valuable customer, due to lack of profitability, was absolutely the last straw.

    In six months I put up over 40 hours between store visits, calls to customer service, and time invested in emails to Sprint’s customer service. I had to think that this was more than a reasonable amount of time one should have to invest in maintaining a simple cellular phone agreement, and I contacted the Consumerist to see what my options were.

    Please don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are unable to get out of a cell phone contract. At least when it comes to Sprint, it’s all about who you know. I was referred to Executive Customer Relations, where upon asking to speak to Gary F. directly, I was referred to a Senior Executive Relations Analyst. She was patient and understanding, although insistent that she wouldn’t terminate my contract for the quality of customer service that I’d received, regardless of the amount of time invested.

    It’s all in wearing them down before they wear you down. I had to state repeatedly that, “Due to the level of customer service I expected as a basic part of the contract, and the profound lack of customer service that has been demonstrated by your company, I respectfully request to be released of this contract with no penalty.” Evidently it’s like saying “beetlejuice” 3 times, because after I said it enough times, I was greeted with the option of repairing the bills and being assured of a great future with Sprint, or stating that I had completely lost faith in the company as a whole, and there was no way my future with Sprint could bring anything beyond more frustration and phone calls to Customer Service. She agreed to present my case to her peer group of analysts and call me back within 24 hours with an answer. Within an hour, I received a phone call back stating that my account was being closed on a given date, and that it would be done so without penalty.

    One last stick and twist to go bring the saga to a close. About 20 minutes after that conversation took place, I called home to share the good news. Only my phone call didn’t make it home. My phone had been shut off due to a $400 early termination fee being applied to my account, and putting me over my spending limit. I pulled off the highway into a rest area, grabbed the payphone, and called the executive relations team back again, fuming out my ears as I explained the situation. Again, calm and patient, they repaired the issue and got my service back on for the remaining days of the contract, and apologized for the issue.

    I will say that everyone in my immediate circle knows of my dealings with Sprint, and I was fair in saying that it was the worst experience I’d ever had with a phone carrier, right up until I reached executive relations. My representative truly cared about the fact that I wouldn’t be happy as a future customer, and was genuinely apologetic and action-oriented about the matter — indicating she had a lot of people she needed to go back to regarding their behavior on my issues.

    I doubt I will ever have a need to return to them for service, but I left on good terms and I feel other people can do the same, if they just follow the basic common sense rules of negotiation, including treating the other person fairly even though they represent the enemy in your eye, and being clear about your objective until you achieve it. I have Ben to thank for putting me in touch with the Executive Relations team, and I wanted to share this story with everyone not as a way of bashing Sprint as much as an encouragement for anyone who is truly unhappy with the service they have to seek a better resolution.”

Comments

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  1. Josh Smith says:

    Do you have the contact info for Verizon Wireless’s Executive customer service?

  2. Ben Popken says:

    Yes. Call (212)-395-1000 and politely be ask, “Offices of Mr. Seidenberg, please.”

    For good measure, here’s some more companies cellphone provider’s contact info:

    T-Mobile
    Robert P. Dotson – President, CEO, and Director
    12920 SE 38th St.
    Bellevue, WASHINGTON 98006
    1-425-378-4000 – Corporate Switchboard

    Cingular
    Stanley T. Sigman – President, Chief Executive Officer
    3051 Bienville Blvd
    Ocean Springs, MS 39564
    1-866-220-8446 – President’s Office

    Sprint
    Gary D. Forsee – President, CEO, Director
    2001 Edmund Halley Drive
    Reston, VA 20191
    1-877-875-7505 – Executive switchboard