Screw Your Customers
Any time I’ve seen Sprint advertising the Centro Palm smartphone it is with a $99 price. I have a Sprint plan with 4 phones on it that is running me over $100 a month. I called to get the Centro and the best price they could do was $250. The rep that I talked to on the phone said that the $99 price was only for new customers.
So the truth is that some terrorist looking for a throwaway phone, who has no intention of ever paying a bill, is getting a better deal than I am. Am I wrong to think that I’m getting treated like the new prisoner on the cellblock? Is there any reason besides the PITA factor (pain in the a$$) that I shouldn’t just get us all iPhones so that I can get the new customer deal from Sprint 2 years from now (if they have some less crappy phones)?
I’ve always had a problem with companies that give better deals to new customers than their existing ones, but that is life in the commodity market – too bad iPhones aren’t a commodity. Many will defend this point saying that one time offers are a good tactic for new customer acquisition, I say it’s at the cost of the resentment factor. Existing customers that are smart understand that they are subsidizing somebody else’s better deal.
For relationships like this we need a term more accurate than customer, for business models like this the customer is just another commodity in the equation, not really a human.
Update: Sprint completely turned this around with some exemplary service at one of their stores. Why sit on hold, I’m going to hang out at the store if I have issues.