Sprint just let some customers go. MSNBC covered it here.
Apparently, these 1000-1200 customers were "needy" and probably caused more expense than provided revenue. They collectively called the customer service organization 40,000 times a month to complain on average.
In this blog post, Seth Godin suggests that Sprint did the right thing for the benefit of the customers who are "pleaseable" instead of trying to please the entire customer base, including the "unpleaseable".
I don't know that I totally agree with the viewpoint, I think the adage "The Customer is always right" still holds true. These folks were after all keeping up with their end of the bargain and paying their bills. If the shoe were on the other foot, things would be different I am sure. Have you ever tried to get released from a cell carriers contract, even for legitimate reasons?
I believe that as business people, if we enter into a contract with a customer, that the essence of that contract is to provide them with remarkable service, for an agreed price. If a customer complains, then as business people that complaint is an opportunity for us to learn more about our customers, or how we should perhaps be doing business differently and ultimately provide better service for the customer base as a whole.
If we all decided to fire the difficult customers, over time the social obligation would change, it would start to become the customers privilege to do business with us, not our privilege to serve them.
That seems like a very dangerous attitude change to me.
The letter sent to Sprint Customers.