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 KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Mr. Coffee, the leader in coffeemakers among U.S. manufacturers, has turned off its affiliation with two long distance companies in order to connect with Sprint (NYSE: FON) for its telecommunications needs.
 Mr. Coffee, based in Bedford Heights, Ohio, recently inked a three- year deal with Sprint as its exclusive 800 service provider. Prior to the new contract, Mr. Coffee's 800 services had been provided primarily by AT&T and to a lesser extent, MCI. The value of the contract is conservatively estimated at $750,000.
 "We were tired of being in a situation where they said, 'Here's our network; make your calls,'" said Rick Boettcher, director of information services for Mr. Coffee. "What set Sprint apart was its desire to be a business partner with us. They looked at our business needs and then worked at what they could do to help us meet those goals."
 As part of the pact, Sprint will provide Mr. Coffee with two vital 800 numbers -- one serving consumers and the other linking retailers who need to place orders. In addition, Sprint is providing long distance service internationally to Mr. Coffee suppliers in Taiwan and Hong Kong, as well as providing FONCARDS(SM) to Mr. Coffee sales and executive staff. The two companies also are working on special telecommunications applications to aid Mr. Coffee's marketing outreach.
 "Mr. Coffee is committed to providing excellent customer service, and a critical link is having reliable 800 service for the consumer," said Becky Ross, director of consumer affairs for Mr. Coffee. "Sprint is providing several enhanced services that will enable us to meet our customer service expectations. These services vary from calling statistics that will help us plan our facilities and future staffing to providing backup options in the event of an emergency."
 What opened the door for Mr. Coffee's switch, Boettcher said, was the recent advent of "800 portability." Under a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission that became effective May 1, customers using 800 service can change long distance carriers without giving up the specific phone numbers they've advertised to the public.
 "Portability gave us a chance to look around," said Boettcher. "We wanted to reduce our costs, while at the same time maintain a high level of reliability. Sprint provided that and a lot more, such as providing us with calling data and billing information in the way we wanted it."
 But before making a final decision, Boettcher did some additional checking on Sprint's service to customers. "I called a few of Sprint's customers in the area and the things they said about Sprint were just short of gushing," said Boettcher. "That convinced me that Sprint was serious about its customer service to us and its willingness to form a partnership in meeting our goals."
 Kevin E. Brauer, president of Sprint's Business Market Group, said, "We take our customers' needs very seriously, and we will do whatever we can to provide them with the telecommunications service that best matches those needs."
 Mr. Coffee, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: JAVA), headquartered in Bedford Heights, is the leading manufacturer of automatic drip coffeemakers today. The company is also an industry leader in the production of the innovative Iced Tea Pot, coffee filters and the new Mr. Coffee Water Filter.
 Sprint is a diversified international telecommunications company with more than $10 billion in annual revenues and the United States' only nationwide all-digital, fiber-optic network. Its divisions provide global long distance voice, data and video products and services, local telephone services to more than 6 million subscriber lines in 19 states, and cellular operations that serve 42 metropolitan markets and more than 50 rural service areas.
 -0- 10/27/93
 /CONTACT: Norman Black, 404-859-6096, or home, 404-578-0679, or Rick Johnson, 404-859-6095, or home, 404-421-8820, both of Sprint/

CO: Mr. Coffee, Inc.; Sprint ST: Ohio, Missouri IN: TLS SU:

MH-DC -- DC016 -- 7247 10/27/93 11:40 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 27, 1993

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