Off Topic: Sprint and Bad Customer Service

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.This WSJ (sub req’d) article talks about Sprint’s poor market performance and the pressure on CEO Gary Forsee (how ironic a name is that?) at a time when competitors are really performing well. As a Sprint customer I can tell you they company has poor coverage and generally abysmal customer service.

In the era of ratings and user-generated content, companies need to upgrade service across the board — and that doesn’t mean outsourcing call centers to Manila or Bangalore. It means making a genuine commitment to customer service, which is potentially a short term cost but a long term boon.

For example, a delightful Sprint customer service drone named Kim repeatedly told me yesterday about the $150 penalty I would pay if I broke my contact in response to questions about how I might transfer one of my three wireless phone numbers. I was speaking English, she was speaking T&C script. She clearly had not been trained on how to help me reach a satisfactory resolution in a way that was consistent with Sprint’s objectives.

When I asked, finally, if I could speak to her supervisor she said, “They’re just going to tell you the same thing I said.” After getting this resistance for almost five minutes she finally told me that it would be “at least 20 minutes” before a supervisor would be available.

Nice. Way to prevent churn.

There’s a real disconnect, often generally, at the board-room level in recognizing the connection between the “user experience” and customer service and the bottom line. At a time when almost everything is becoming a commodity, service is one of the few differentiators. And as my friend, Nielsen BuzzMetrics CMO, Pete Blackshaw astutely points out what’s written about your company online becomes part of your brand as consumers conduct searches for your brand or your product category.

It’s not just small businesses that have to worry about “reputation management.”


2 Responses to “Off Topic: Sprint and Bad Customer Service”

  1. Pete Blackshaw Says:

    Yes, indeed!

  2. Asif Says:

    Sprint Canada is on of the worst compnay. Four years ago, my ISP user id, and password was stolen, and thief used it with my name to post stuff on the internet & newsgroups. They would not help me, and at one point insulted and attacked me.

    I canceled my service, and I subscribed to sympatico DSL, and this is bit better — but same issue. Sadly 1/2 of Sympatico “help desk staff” can’t speak English! Sympatico has been moving its call center in India, and Europe.

    I am always worried of someone stealing my I.D. and to that end I have switch to Linux. However, guys working in India, and Europe can steal your I.D. and there is not much victim can do about it.

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