Sprint and Their Poor Customer Service – A Case Study

My previous cell phone contract was about to expire in March of this year, so I decided to renew my contract and get a new smart phone. After doing some research, I chose the BlackBerry 8330 and went with the everything data plan. I have been extremely satisfied with the phone’s abilities, features and battery life.

With a fully charged battery I was able to get anywhere from two to three days of use out of the phone before needing to be recharged. At least that was the case until about two days ago. Without warning or notice, the battery life on the phone significantly began to diminish from 2-3 days of use to 10 hours. Decreased battery life is an expected occurrence with any type of battery and I am not blind to that fact. However, after only 7 months of owning this phone, it seems to be more of a defect than something I should expect.

I decided to contact Sprint and find out what their take on the situation was. Now if you haven’t had the pleasure of calling Sprint, here is what you can expect.

  1. English/Spanish prompt.
  2. Enter your phone number prompt (Expect to give this again to everyone you speak to).
  3. A list of prompts that are supposed to route you to the correct department.
  4. A new list of prompts to route you to the correct department.
  5. A final list of prompts to route you to the correct department (Very efficient system…).
  6. If you make it here, be prepared to wait 3 minutes to ∞ to hear a real voice.
  7. In my experience, the first person you speak with will not be able to help you and will transfer you after you give them your phone number, name and pin number (in that exact order).
  8. Now here is the tricky part, you will either be disconnected during this transfer or after being placed on hold with the next person, once you again give them your phone number, name and pin number (in that exact order), while they “speak with their supervisor”.
  9. Call back, repeat steps 1-7 and get an almost believable answer.
  10. Try bogus solution and repeat steps 1-9 all over again…

Ok, enough of the fun stuff and back to the story. The first gentleman I had the pleasure of being transfered to, gave me RIM’s number and told that they would be responsible for the warranty. Without hesitation I called the number I was given and plead my case. The RIM employee told me that Sprint had a 1 year warranty on there devices and that they only shipped the phones to Sprint, not the batteries. This is where the run around began. I called Sprint back armed with the new information I had just received. After a “brief” hold period, while a solitary game…I mean conversation with a supervisor was initiated, I was told by Sprint that there was no warranty on batteries. So I inquired about the one year warranty and what it covered. I was then put on hold again and conveniently the phone disconnected.

Now I don’t want to bore you with all of the fuzzy details from my wonderfully productive use of time, so I will condense the remainder. It took a total of 2.5 hours and 10 phone calls including the 4 times I was disconnected, 2 bogus answers, 2 calls to RIM, 1 time of being laughed at by a Sprint employee and the final 40 minute wait while the problem was resolved.

The question I’m sure you are all wondering now is, how did you get the issue resolved? The resolution came on the 10th and final call when I listened to the prompts and chose disconnect service. I was connected to a very pleasant young lady that read the notes on my account, listened to my side of the story (see notes below), escalated the issue and arranged to have a battery sent to me at no cost.

I work for a small business owner that will sacrifice the profit of a job to make sure that he always does the right thing for the customer. This philosophy has allowed him to enjoy a great customer base, a very successful business and a staff of employees that give him the utmost respect. Now I have to ask myself, why can’t a large multi-million dollar corporation like Sprint, embrace this philosophy as well?

*Notes – My side of the store consisted of simple math:

  • $140 per month for 17 remaining contract months = Sprint income of $2380
  • $200 disconnect fee minus $2380 = Sprint loss of -$2180
  • $45 battery minus $2380 = Sprint income of $2335
  • Knowing how to bypass steps 1-10 in the future, priceless

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