Cell Phone Companies Don’t Care

If the cost of acquiring a new customer is so high, why treat current customers so poorly?
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

I have a 4-year-old cell phone. It still works (my theory on why it still works is that it does not have non-cell-phone features that get in the way of the quality of the phone itself, but that is a post for another time), but it is loosing steam, having more and more problems keeping a signal. So I figured I would look into getting a new phone.

I went to a Radio Shack that offers Sprint phones, since I have been a Sprint customer the whole time I’ve had this phone. They offer a rebate to customers with old phones. Great! I’ve got an old phone. Oh, they only offer the rebate if you sign a 2-year contract. Well, ok, no big deal, just extend my contract. Oh, I don’t currently pay enough monthly to qualify for the rebate with my current plan. In order to qualify I have to sign up for a new plan, and the new plan is more expensive and not as good. See, I get weekday nights starting at 8pm. New plans offer weekday nights starting at 9pm, or for $5 more a month, starting at 7pm. So I have to pay $10 a month more just to get a reasonable plan and a rebate on a new phone.

I am a loyal customer who pays his bill on time and has not cost Sprint any money in customer service calls, etc. But they do not care enough about me to offer me the same kind of deals they will offer a new customer. I’m not a business man, but I would think that keeping a customer is more important than getting a new one, and I would suspect that keeping a customer is cheaper than getting a new one. So why isn’t Sprint putting any effort into keeping me as a customer? Given the ability to transfer my cell number to another carrier, I can easily jump ship and give my money to someone else.

My only problem with that is that all the rest of the phone companies are just as bad. Maybe it’s time to go back to just a land line. Oh, don’t get me started on SBC.