One complaint I’ve always held about the wireless industry is that the carriers tend to favor potential new customers over their existing ones. Yes, it’s a race to gain the most subscribers, and yes, existing subscribers are for the most part locked into the service with a contract.
However, that doesn’t mean carriers should offer better deals on new handsets to potential new customers than old customers who want to upgrade. In fact, since the company already gets a steady payment from the existing customer, and presumably has for a period of time, I would say it makes more sense to give the better deal to the loyal customer. That’s what Sprint plans to do.
They’ve launched a new loyalty program which might help stanch their bleeding of customers. This appears to not be new, though it’s the first I’ve read of it. The linked PhoneNews.com report notes that Sprint Premier eligibility is based on 10 consecutive years of Sprint service, plus three months of a $70 or higher plan ($99.99 for shared plans). That seems like an awful long time. Many of the commenters on the post say that they’re in the Sprint Premier plan and haven’t been around for 10 years. At least one notes that the 10-year requirement is for those who don’t meet the $70 plan requirement.
A number also say that they’ve been in this program for a few months now. In any case, it’s still a quality bid for Sprint. They’re honoring their long-time customers, the one that have paid the bills through the years and have kept the lights on at the company. Most customers come and go, and Sprint recognizes that. Here’s what they’re offering to Premier members:
Perks include early upgrading at new customer price every year, special offers for trips, tickets to shows and sporting events, sneak peeks at new devices with first purchase opportunity such as with the Palm Pre for long-term customers, anniversary perks such as bonus minutes or free ringtones, accessory discounts, and a plan check every six months to ensure complete satisfaction.
Clearly, the yearly upgrade is the best advantage here. In an age where new, state of the art phones are introduced monthly, people wan to upgrade to the latest and greatest. Sprint gives its long-time customers that opportunity every 12 months now, down from their normal 22-month period. This won’t cause anyone to switch to Sprint, I don’t think, but it will certainly help them retain some customers that they’ve been losing over the past year.