Friday, August 6, 2010

Sprint, Psycho's, and my dirty laundry

I forgot to pay my Sprint mobile phone bill, I waited until the very last day (today) until I paid it.

I did not mean to, I simply thought I had set it to automatically direct withdraw from my checking account. I have everything else on direct withdrawal. I had forgotten that I had not yet set up Sprint on direct withdrawal. Sprint contacted me through a email, notifying me of my delinquency, I paid it. No harm, no foul.

My real annoyance was that about a hour after I paid it I received a phone call from Sprint (a pre-recorded message I assume) telling me that my account was in a delinquency. It informed me in a aggressive and firm male voice that if I did not call them TODAY, my phone service would be disconnected in the next 48 hours and my account would be forwarded to the collection department.

Alright, I know what you are thinking. Your saying, well yes, you paid the bill, but it probably did not clear with them yet. That would be reasonable.

But here is the kicker, I paid using their own phone payment system!

The system was fairly effective, it did not take very long (a few minutes) and it did not cost me anything (extra). However, it evidently did not bother notifying anyone in the collection department that I paid my bill!

I stopped to think a little bit about why getting this call made me so angry, and I figure it must be one of those dirty laundry kind of things. You see, upon paying my bill, when it was between me and the automated collection agent, it felt like Sprint was actually being a friend: making one last heroic effort to remind me to pay my bill before they were "forced" to do something drastic. Psychologically, after doing me the "service" of reminding me to pay my bill, I probably felt a little appreciative. This would have been the perfect time to say something like "Hey, we are all human (well, I am a computer), would you like to set up automatic bill payment?" I would have probably agreed to it.

However, AFTER I pay my bill, to get a call threatening me with collection makes if feel like I was swindled. Did I mistype my credit card numbers? Did my bank deny the charges? I do not know, and the only way to figure out is to call them up and ask. Dammit, to have to call up another human being and tell them that I do not pay my bills on time, not cool.

I think this was the real root of the anger. It was the fact that previously, it had almost felt like Sprint had let me get away with something. I did forget to pay my bill, but some magic helper from Sprint called me up at the last moment and reminded me, so that I could avoid having the embarrassment of having to go to collections. Except I did... Having to call or get called from collections is bad enough, having to call them after you paid a bill makes it righteous. At first it felt like Sprint was letting me get away with something, and then it felt like they were making me air my dirty laundry after I had made restitution's.

In reality, a corporation is made up of many people, interest, and groups. Information is not disseminated in real time. However, from my point of view, they are Sprint. I anthropomorphize them as a single entity. When they treat me well when I am paying my bill, and treat me poorly 1 hour later, it makes them look a little psycho from my point of view. I guess the lesson to be taken from this is that you should be sure your customer perception of you is consistent at all levels of a corporation. That if your customers were to look at your corporation as a anthropomorphized entity, it would seem consistent at all levels of the corporation.

That, and umm... pay your bills on time.

No comments:

Post a Comment