Whatever Happened to Customer Service?

By: Tim Poole

I am really beginning to have a problem with some of the "customer service" I've gotten lately,specifically with Sprint/Nextel.
they called me and "thanked" me for making a payment on my account,however I am "past due" and my service will be discontinued on Saturday.OK, I'm about $24.00 past due from last month.My payment was due on the 26th of September and this is the 10th of October.
Now,mind you, I have an account spending limit of $125,which my current balance is well under that (@$45 under).Now according to their site I have $101.66 left on my limit.This figure comes off their site.How do they figure that?
Anyway,the Customer Service Rep advised me that my phone would be shut off on Saturday due to my being $24 past due for 14 days.Even the major phone companies like ATT and Bellsouth give you more time than that.
I asked the rep why I was being shut off.I was still well under my ASL and have every intention of paying the $24.00 but couldn't understand their way of thinking.It seems that the ASL doesn't really count for anything.If nothing else,it creates more problems.If you don't pay your account in full by the due date,they will shut you off.
Now don't get me wrong,I want to pay my bill.Right now,I'm out of work and don't get much in unemployment so I have to budget my money.I pay part of my bill online every 2 weeks so I don't get behind.The rep said that they would work out payment arrangements for me.They want me to pay the full balance of my account,$80.00,NOW.
My problem is that $57 isn't due until the 27th of October.
Are they hurting for money? When you pay your bill you are paying for service you haven't used yet.To me,that's kind of like paying your winter utility bills in July based on what they think you are going to use.Makes no sense.The worst part is the "customer service" rep don't want to listen.
Overall,I like Sprint.I've been with them for 5 years and have had good phone service.The problems are always the same,though.I have been disconnected before for being .96 past due.Why?
After this episode I started doing some searching on the internet.I found that Sprint is well known for this and for poor customer service.I considered switching companies,but I'm afraid it will be the same thing no matter where I go.
After all of this rambling my point is,whatever happened to good customer service? Whatever happened to talking to the customer and explaining what is going on?What happened to making sure the customer is satisfied?It just doesn't seem to matter to these large companies anymore.The bigger the companies get,the less they care.
I managed restaurants for about 17 years and was trained to take care of the customer and make sure they were satisfied.I'm not saying that I was the perfect manager,but I tried.
I really think that companies should take a step back and take a look at what is going on .They are in for a big surprise.

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