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Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

November 8th, 2001 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Not our problem

Sprint cellular is the pits. A colleague and I were commiserating the various inadequacies and shortcomings of Sprint’s service. Apparently Sprint frequently has problems with voice mail, and often voice mail messages are not delivered until several days after they are left. I personally haven’t encountered this yet, but my associate has been on both the sending and receiving side of this problem more than once, and some of his Sprint-using friends have as well.

He decided to contact customer disservice at Sprint to report the problem, and maybe get some answers. Sprint requires you sacrifice from thirty to sixty minutes of your life on hold in order to earn the pleasure of dealing with a human being. Unless you are a buying a phone, in which case there’s almost no wait.

His offering to the god of interminable holds, which involved listening to bad music, outright lies about how important the call is, as well as ads for various Sprint services, was close to an hour. He shared his tale of missed messages and plans ruined to a rather unsympathetic service rep.

Her response to him was “I’m sorry, sir, but voice mail is a free service. These types of things happen.”

Free? Last time he checked, he was a paying Sprint customer. I am fairly certain Sprint doesn’t offer voice mail to any Tom, Dick or Henrietta. You have to be a Sprint PCS customer to get voice mail. The Sprint web site actually lists voice mail as a “standard feature,” not a free service.

He escalated to a supervisor, seeing that his point about how he pays for Sprint service of which voice mail is a part, was completely escaping the drone on the other end of the phone. Surely someone up the responsibility chain would be more clueful.

After explaining the matter to the supervisor, her response: “I’m sorry, sir, but voice mail is a free service.”

So, using the Sprint business model, the trick is to sell some vague umbrella service package, of which all the actual services rendered are “free”. That way, if anything goes wrong, you can just say “Sorry, that’s a free service.” Like in a restaurant, the price on the menu is for the food, the table service is free. If your order is handled slowly, or your waiter is surly, too bad. Don’t complain, because when something is free, you have to take what you get.

Nice work, Sprint. When my year commitment is up, I will switch in a heartbeat.

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