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Ben Griffiths

I'm with Seth on this one.

Sprint said it well in their "Dear John" letter here: http://www.gadgetell.com/images/2007/07/sprint_dear_john_425.jpg

"...we are currently unable to meet your current wireless needs."

Firing their customers was the customer centric thing to do. My guess is that it would be impossible to convert a person who calls 25+ times per month to complain into a loyal fan (even if Sprint did everything right the first time).

Let's face it, some customers have unrealistic expectations. Some people just like to complain no matter what you do. Sometimes there's just nothing you can do to please the customer....and that's OK.

It's about time the 80/20 rule became a brief side note in the History of Marketing textbook.

Paul McCord

Ben,

I think you've missed Dave's point. His point really isn't about the 1,000 customers. As he said, it's probably way too late to convert these customers because they're issues have been neglected for far too long.

Dave's point is that Sprint is missing the point--they need to take a serious look at the issues that have brought things to this point.

By eliminating the 1,000 complainers, they're getting rid of the thorn in their side, leaving the problems unaddressed. If they have 1,000 dissatisfied enough to be this big a pain in the butt, how many simply complain and then live with it--until they silently are so fed up they leave with Sprint never knowing--or possibly caring--why?

Their issue isn't with these 1,000 it's internal. The 1,000 is just the symptom. They've chosen to get rid of the symptom and leave the illness.

Mike Artherton

Nice stuff... tough to keep track of all that is happening. I end up reading 100 odd blogs daily. Plus there is news. You could also enrich your blog by adding current news on your blog... try out the news widget from widgetmate.com

Ben Griffiths

Paul,

I understand Dave's point. I even agree with it to an extent. Of course companies should focus on what their customers are saying. Of course they should analyze how they can do better. Of course they shouldn't take the "easy way out".

But, Seth wasn't suggesting that companies should take the easy way out. Seth was talking about firing customers who are "actually happy to be unhappy".

As Seth put it:

"If you're going to be obsessed with delighting customers, it's a lot more efficient to focus on customers that are able to be delighted."

Seth was saying that you SHOULD focus on delighting customers, but that at the end of the day, when you've done everything you can think of to bend over backwards for your customers there will STILL be unhappy people who want more.

I don't believe Sprint was just trying to get rid of a thorn in their side, leaving the problem unaddressed. I believe they fired these customers after very careful examination of their complaints.

You're right, it would be a bad idea to fire customers without sincerely trying to improve the company based on their input.

But, I do agree with Seth that SOMETIMES firing your customer is the right thing to do.

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