Why is Nextel Communications customer service so bad? First of all, they outsource their customer service to a Texas-based company called ACS. In Portland, OR, site of one of their larger centers, they pay people the state minimum wage to start, and currently agents will top out at $10/hr. Many other call centers in the Portland area start people off at $9/hour or more. So a lot of the people they hire have no experience. It is not uncommon to find people there who have never held a job before. ACS does not get paid by Sprint Nextel to train people. It's all "non-billable" time.
T Mobile trains their people for eight weeks (or so I've read elsewhere on the Internet and heard from other agents at the Portland location (yes, I work there, but not for much longer, I hope). Verizon trains their people for five weeks, even at their outsourced call centers, although having been through their customer service training at an outsource center in the Portland area, I question if the training is as good as if Verizon itself were doing it. What ACS ends up with is a wide range of people answering phones for Nextel. Some can be very good.
They're there for the customer and willing to take the time to explain stuff and correct problems, in spite of ACS's insistence on keeping average handle times short (under six minutes and the agent gets a bonus, over seven minutes and the agent gets negative points on the bonus system). But many calls are, by their nature, short, so even helpful agents can average under six minutes without sacrificing good service, even if an occasional call goes well over a half hour or even an hour. But not all agents are that good. Some simply have no work ethic and practice call avoidance. I know of one person who, when he takes calls, is pretty good, or so I've been told.
Problem is, sometimes he just takes off his headset while he's still got his phone set to receive calls and goes wandering off to chat with his friends. I've seen him ignore calls for at least fifteen minutes at a stretch, and it doesn't bother him one bit. It also doesn't seem to bother any of the supervisors much, which is pretty bad. Other agents put customers on hold to answer personal cells phone calls (taking cell phone calls on the floor is a big no-no, although it's a rule that is only occasionally enforced), chat with their buddies who are either on break or ignoring calls, whatever.
When I started working for ACS two years ago, I got trained for two weeks to do the welcome call. That's where new customers call in and we verify their information, make sure their price plan and any additions were set up correctly, remove a block on outgoing calls (sometimes customers have not been informed of this block and the need to call in), and do a short pitch for calling 411. Welcome agents do not get involved in billing issues. That's for care agents or customer finance.
Welcome agents don't do sales, but they do frequently have to unscrew screwed-up accounts because Sprint Nextel (and just plain Nextel before the merger) outsource their telemarketing (where salespeople call customers) and telesales (where customers call in) to foreigners in places like India, the Philippines, and possibly Argentina, although the latter may be customer finance. Whoever came up with the bright idea to outsource sales to foreigners is not living in the real world. As a welcome agent, I was used to getting several calls a day where customers complained about hardly being able to understand the foreigner, and those calls usually involved accounts that were totally screwed up.
I simply can't understand why someone would think that starting a business relationship with a customer is best accomplished by having the customer talk to someone who is barely understandable and often misrepresents what is being offered. Nextel offers plans that have free incoming calls. They also offer what they call the Fair and Flexible plan for individuals and families. The Fair and Flexible plans DO NOT have free incoming calls. I can't tell you how many customers I've talked to who were told that Fair & Flexible plans DO have free incoming calls. Some have told me they questioned that, and the foreign salesperson insisted that incoming calls were free on the Fair & Flexible plan.
Lying to the customer does not strike me as being good customer service. Maybe some of these foreign salespeople simply don't care if they misinform American customers. Maybe they were poorly trained. Probably its a little of both. The ACS call center in Portland is highly dysfunctional, and lately, things got worse. Management decreed all Welcome agents had to also be "trained" in Customer Care. I put trained in quotes because the so-called training was a disgrace - for me, it was four days classroom time, with the second day being a repeat of the first because they decided to add a bunch of people to the class on the second day.
The new bunch started three hours later than my group, so we had two instructors, with a lot of unnecessary repetition. Then I spent a day with my headset plugged into another agent's phone, then a week taking calls in an area with people available to answer questions. I quickly found out how grossly inadequate the so-called "training" was. I'm reasonably intelligent, but suddenly I was lost in a sea of stuff I'd never been told about. Most of the problems have been with billing. A good training center would spend easily a week on billing. I got about half a day, and very little of that was hands-on.
So now, even though I really want to help customers, and do my best, I feel incompetent. I do what I can. I ask questions, get help from supervisors either over the phone or in person, and really want to help customers as long as they're reasonable. Some have been quite patient and willing to work with me, and I'm sorry I've taken up so much of their time for what is often a routine call for someone properly trained or someone who's flubbed around enough to learn what to do. It's getting better, but it's not good enough. I hope to be out of ACS very soon. I will never buy a Sprint or Nextel phone.
I know how bad their customer service is, from the inside, and I know why J.D. Powers and Associates ranks them sixth out of six among the major cell phone companies. As for a decline in Nextel customer service since the merger with Sprint, it might not have much to do with the merger. I do know that ACS has been paying people hired after I was hired less, with raises coming more often but only equaling 2/3 of the former rate over a year's time. I don't know why phone service may be worse, but I suspect it might have a lot to do with increased sales resulting in a greater load on cell towers. Maybe Sprint has mandated cutbacks in maintenance, but I don't know.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- My boyfriend ** got me a cell phone for my birthday. He add it on his plan this makes 3rd phones that he has now, so Nextel send me the phone out in 2 days. First it was not the phone I wanted, I said I'll use it for a couple of days then return it if I didn't like it that's what Nextel said to do. After one week I really didn't like it so I called Nextel customer care. While I was at work, they kept me on hold forever and they send me to another department I was on hold again. I just got mad and tied of being on hold, cause I was at work and had to do my work.
So the next day I called back on my way to work it was around 7 am hoping since it was early in the morning I wouldn't be on hold, ohhhh what a joke this customer service had me on hold again from one department to another telling them the same information and story over and over again. I just hung up. So now it's 2 weeks since I had this phone that I don't want!!!! I decided to call after work since I knew I had 30 days to return it I said I got to return it for the phone I wanted. I called Nextel customer service. I explain to 4 different departments my story and told 4 different department my information over and over.
I was at the 3rd operator. I was on hold for 25 min before speaking with the 4 person. By this time I was so tied and mad the operator final got on and asked for my information. I said no I don't want to speak with another customer care person just get me a supervisor now. He said he would need to know why and needed my account information. I told him I was tired of giving my account information over and over and over again. No more just get me a supervisor he said the supervisor would need my information before getting on the phone. So there I go again giving him my information and telling him all I want to do is return this phone they send out to me which is the wrong phone.
And I wanted them to send me out the phone that I wanted for my birthday after all it was a birthday gift. So this operator said to me you need to speak to someone in sales I said no!!!! I already spoke with someone in sales, billing, customer care, and return and in return and swap department. I told them what I wanted to do return this phone for the phone I wanted in the first place. I spoke to this person for 20 minutes. She said OK. She gave me a tracking number to return the phone and she said OK. What's the phone you want then we got disconnected after talking for about 20 minutes. I told her I was talking on the phone they send me.
She knew the number since I already told her and all the other sales persons there so we got disconnected. I waited 20 minutes. I thought she would call me back to get the information on the phone I wanted and to finally finish this order. Hell no I waited 20 minutes no one called me so now you know why I don't want to speak with no one but a supervisor. This is so freaking bad. Nextel is so (what they say )is a good company.. is so false. My old phone company T-Mobile never gave me the run around like Nextel service. Why is it so hard to return a phone and get another one is that so hard. Nextel you need to stop transferring customers from one department to another.
I canceled my Nextel phone service about 2 weeks ago after 7+ years of dropped calls, disconnects and general poor quality service. My wife enjoyed the 2-way walkie talkie feature, so I kept her phone and 2 for my children. I also had a Nextel through my work. When my wife passed away last month, I decided to drop Nextel and get my children T-Mobile service. They absolutely love it.
I just received an important email message from Sprint telling me to read the attached letter. The letter goes on to state that since they have not heard from me regarding my outstanding balance, they are going to forward my account to collection in 7 days. I NEVER EVEN RECEIVED MY FINAL BILL YET!! In fact, I had just made a payment 1 week before I cancelled the service. They go on to state that my account will be considered '"bad debt" in 7 days and will be reported to the 3 major credit bureaus. This after over 7 years of paying my bill every month BEFORE THE DUE DATE!!!
I went online to pay the bill, because now I am worried about what they might pull with my credit but my website login was shut down. I won't even bore you with the 1 hour run-around I received from their "customer service" fiasco. Needless to say, they are unethical and unscrupulous for threatening a loyal customer's credit with absolutely no justification. I wish there were a way for us to band together to put this company where they should be (OUT OF BUSINESS) to protect future consumers from their abuse.
SPRING LAKE, MICHIGAN -- I began with Nextel in January, 2006. When I started with them they told me that I had to have a $100 security deposit on my account because my credit is not so great. OK... I agreed. No big deal. I ordered my i265 phone and when it got to my house I called to get it activated. I was told that to get my phone activated I would have to pay $150 to get it activated. I was angry about that because no one told me this ahead of time. OK I have poor credit. So, I went ahead and paid the extra $150 for a total of $250. in deposits before my service became active. It is now August, 2006. I called Nextel yesterday to get another phone on my contract.
I needed two phones on the same line. I upgraded from 800 minutes per month to their "Business 3000" Plan. That would have given me 3000 minutes for each phone. The woman on the phone (Christine) told me that there was no problem for me to upgrade. She told me that all they needed to do is sell me another i265 phone for $49.99 and a $25.00 activation fee, and that the charges would come out of my security deposit and that they would bill me for all of that in my next bill. My phone bill balance was up-to-date, as it has been each month. Today, August 23, 2006 my new Nextel phone came to my home.
When I called Nextel to activate the phone I was told that they could not activate the phone until I paid them $100. I was so damned angry that I told them they could stick their phones and their service up their behind. They are NOW going to keep my security deposit and try to bill me $200 for cancellation of my Nextel account. I told them that they will NEVER get $200 from me, and that I will be telling everyone that I know that Nextel is disgusting. Not only that, Nextel is expensive! I am NOW with AT&T Cingular Wireless. I have 900 minutes for $49.00 per month, plus taxes and service charges.
I was paying Nextel over $100 per month for 800 minutes. Cingular has the same coverage and I have a better phone and the phone is FREE, except that I don't have free incoming calls. Oh well! Goodbye Nextel! NEVER again. NEVER! And you will NEVER get $200 from me for cancelling your lousy service. When your service is lousy and someone at Nextel tells me one thing and then later tells me that I have to pay another $100 to activate a phone when that was never mentioned before I purchased an upgraded contract with you. No Way!
Why would I stay with Nextel (or anyone) when the terms of service are misrepresented.. for the second time! And then, a customer rep began telling me that if my credit wasn't so bad I wouldn't be having this problem. The issue wasn't my credit. The issue is Nextel! To those who are reading this: If you think that this can't or won't happen to you, you are mistaken. Go with Nextel and see just what they do to to you, as well. Good luck! and... goodbye Nextel! My God, Nextel... you **! Bad!!!
MADISON, INDIANA -- My husband & I ordered a Nextel phone from Nextel via the internet on 06/05/2006. On 06/06/2006 they took our deposit out of our bank account. We opted for the free 3 to 5 business day delivery of the phone. After 7 days went by we had not received the phone. To make a long story short and many hours on the phone (over a week & half period) with very rude csr's and numerous departments they agreed to send us our phone. We got our phone on 06/15/2006. Two days later the phone was shut off due to the deposit not being paid according to them. I had to fax them copies of my bank statements (numerous times) to show them they took the money out.
I had to give them my debit card numerous times also. Today's date is 07/15/06 and they have still not found my missing money. Today I was told to fax in the info once again that I might add is a costly little expense. They keep telling me to go ahead and pay the $100 again along with my bill and when this is resolved they will credit me. My bill which I received is $85.81 for billing date of 06/13/2006 to 06/17/2006. For which $30 is for shipping and handling. If you go back and read the first part of this I did not get the phone until the 06/15/2006. My question is why was the phone activated & sent to begin with if they had not got my money.
Where had my money gone, which I know they got it because my bank says so along with my statements. My husband and I are over the road truck drivers and we have missed out on about $5000 worth of loads because we was at the end of our contract with a previous cell phone provider and had it turned off when we got our Nextel phone. Our dispatcher was unable to contact us which about cost us our job also. For 2 weeks I had to call them every morning to have them turn it back on to have it shut off in a couple of hours. In order to keep our jobs we had to buy a prepaid to keep in touch with our dispatcher which is also costly.
So every time they had cut the phone off and turned it back on it was a $25 reconnect fee!! So now my bill is extremely outrageous due to their mistakes which will go on our credit!!! I no longer ask for the phone to be turned on because I cannot afford the reconnect fees. I talked to a lady in customer care by the name of ** that had more or less called me every thing under the sun and when I told her this conversation was being recorded she tried to tell me I couldn't do this because of FCC regulations. My comeback was yes I can as long as the other party is aware of this do to me being in law enforcement for years and she transferred me in a bat of an eye.
I have never been lied to, treated as bad as I have, or shuffled around more in my entire life. I have sent an e-mail to consumer affairs, the Attorney General and contacted my news station. Monday I plan on making an appointment with an attorney which will cost me a weeks worth of pay by having to stay at home to take care of this. If anyone has any other suggestions or would like to go in on a lawsuit with me please feel free to contact me!!! From my understanding there are a lot of people not happy with Nextel and I think it is time we stop this nonsense of them walking on us and get what we deserve back!! Under what review does this fall into ALL OF THE ABOVE!!!!
FLORIDA -- Nextel has become the most customer unfriendly company in the world. I guess since their merger with Sprint, us little guys just don't matter as the make the millions/billions (from us little guys). My phone was recently stolen/lost, and the first problem I encountered was there was nobody available to shut off the service until the following day, allowing unauthorized usage to cost me ridiculously (should Nextel have made international calls, long distance calls, or just went over my minute plan).
That's not the issue, the fact of the matter is that there was nobody available to service a customer in distress trying to do the right thing: STOP SERVICE ON A MISSING PHONE!! LET'S PROCEED TO THE NIGHTMARE ON NEXTEL STREET. We notified the customer service dept, and advised of the situation, and was notified at that time that our contract had repair/replacement insurance and would be easy to resolve the situation. Calling the customer service center a little later, to confirm that all details were finalized, I was told by another customer rep that we did not have insurance on the phone, and would have to pay full price on the replacement phone.
I made another call to the customer service line, and was ignorantly placed on hold for more than an hour, as the message stated that the calls were answered in the order they are received. Finally I got tired of holding on for nothing, and recalled another phone number for customer support, and was speaking with an agent within several minutes that was less than knowledgeable in their job description.
After several requests, I was FINALLY TRANSFERRED to a customer service supervisor, who, based on the circumstances of the inefficiency of their own customer service agents agreed to compute (credit) me with the cost of the replacement phone, and further agreed to upgrade the unit for no charge at all. The Supervisor transferred me to the shipping dept, who advised that there was no order posted on my account to credit or to ship me a replacement phone of any type.
When asked to transfer me back to the supervisor, that person couldn't be located, and I was transferred again, this time to a supposed member of management, who failed to stand behind his/her own Customer Service Supervisor, claiming that there was no insurance on the account. How many sets of contracts do they keep at Nextel, as each agent reads something different from the other?!
I am now requesting a copy of the "taped" conversations we had, including the outrageously long on ignore. I will not let Nextel treat me like this, as I pay my bill, at the rate Nextel charged me for minute usage. Now it's up to Nextel to honor its own Commitment of Customer Service, even if they have to spend some out of pocket money. No Phone In Hand. 12/18/06.
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, PENNSYLVANIA -- Where do I begin. My husband got a Nextel i530 phone a year ago. He liked Nextel phones because of the walkie talkie feature. I had Verizon (never, ever should have switched). I decided to switch to Nextel. I got the i710 phone a year ago. My husband gets about 7 dropped calls a day, no service in a lot of areas in PA, when someone tries to reach him, people get "please hold while the Nextel subscriber you are trying to reach is located". It goes right into voice mail. God for bid if there was an emergency. We take both phones to the Nextel Service store. The guy at the store said my husband's phone was discontinued because a lot of people have complained about this phone.
Also, he takes the phone in the back to check out the battery. He comes back and shows us a dent in the battery. My husband has to pay for phone. He doesn't get one for free. He checked out the battery the day before and there was no dent in the battery. We both got new phones. The guy said you should upgrade your phones every year. He also said that phone my husband got, he should not get dropped calls, he should get service in all areas in PA. Well, he still got dropped calls, no service in areas of PA and that annoying message when someone tries to call him. We decide to send both phones back. My husband goes to the store to return the phones, they can't help us.
We have to call Nextel to see what we need to do. My husband calls Nextel and they say the place we got the phones has to send the phones. My husband goes back to the store and they can't help us. We have to send the phones back. My husband has his old phone and Nextel's service is the worst. Dropped called, no service, etc. Luckily his contract is up. My phone needs a new battery. I have to pay $60.00 for the battery. Mind you, the phone is under warranty. I get no service in certain areas of PA. I am fed up with Nextel. I never should have switched.
My husband has lost business due the bad service. In order to break out of the contract, it is $200.00 which I think is ridiculous. The service sucks, so why do we have to pay the termination fee. Nextel is the WORST!!!! I will never recommend anyone to go with Nextel. They lie!!!! Whoever is thinking about going with Nextel, think again. You will have problems. Trust me!!!! **.
INDIANA -- In April I upgraded to an i930 Nextel phone so I could "take my world with me". Because it didn't allow me to "take my world with me" as they promised I called Nextel on May 10 (within my 14 days for returning the phone) and after talking to at least 5 different people I got someone who did know how I could return the phone. She did all the things she needed to and then said she would email me the information I needed to send the phone back. I gave her my email address and she read it back to me. However I never received the email from Nextel. On May 23 I sent them an email inquiring about returning the phone.
Today, May 26 I got an email back with a number to call. The first person I talked to looked up the info, said that they had probably gotten the email wrong and passed me off to a different person. This person had to go through the whole process again and when she finally got through reading my file said that since the 14 days had passed that I could no longer return the phone. I requested a supervisor and was told her supervisor had just stepped out. I told her I'd wait. Five minutes later she said the supervisor would be gone for quite a while. I told her I'd wait. Five minutes later I got a "supervisor".
This person said the same thing. That I wouldn't be able to return the phone because it was past the 14 days. And to make matters worse the two women were laughing like it was the funniest thing they had ever heard ("come on - let's see just how mad we can make her"). I kept requesting a higher manager but was told there wasn't one. I finally hung up after fully expressing my feelings about Nextel customer support. I replied to the email I'd received from Nextel this morning but suspect it will be several days till I hear anything. I did include a link to my3cents.com at the Nextel reviews. I will be writing a letter to our Attorney General and contacting my lawyer to see what he can do. I will NOT be a Nextel customer again!
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- It's hard not to spend an insane amount of time writing about how awful this company's service in almost all departments really is. The only place where you will be treated courteously (but note: but not with promises that will be kept) is from sales. And I could literally (not an exaggeration) write many, many pages documenting how terrible they treat their customers, starting with rudeness, disinterest and lack of knowledge and going downhill from there to outright lies, total ignorance about their own products, services and company organization, but I'm truly worn down.
The smart thing for all of us to do is start a class action suit against this beast, which at least might get the judge to order not only some compensation, but require certain behaviors and policies when dealing with customers. From returning a new phone that's defective, to getting to a supervisor (name any department, the problem is the same in that regard), to getting follow up or call backs (in the real world it's called "adult responsibility"), it's truly unbelievably bad. They sold me a phone that requires one to have a Windows PC (I don't) in order to upgrade from the operating system they sold it with and which they tell me is older than I need.
The OS it has is defective, and because the backlight doesn't work properly, downright hazardous (think life-threatening) when used while driving and trying to place or answer calls. Yet to upgrade I'd have to buy a Windows computer - they can't do the upgrade in any store, whether company owned or a franchisee. Every store has different service capabilities, none of them knowable until you call the store or - worse, just walk in after driving there.
Last week I drove a total of 250 miles trying to return a defective new phone and transfer my data from my old phone, along with over two days (FULL days) of my time. When they sold the original phone I was replacing two years+ ago, I paid for a service contract that was supposed to include upgrades, repairs, etc. Oooops, they just didn't bother to tell me no shop is capable of doing the work. While I generally can't complain about the phone service, itself, in most areas, buy this brand only if you are prepared to do battle to get your needs and their promises - both stated and implied - met.
And don't be surprised if each time you have to try to get something done by them, their "customer care" or "support" departments (oxymorons of the largest magnitude) bounce you from pillar to post all over the globe to people who know nothing of the company, their products and services. Finally, never expect to be able to know to whom you spoke, so if you want to escalate your issue, or complain about how the person dealt with you, you can't. Terrible company. Terrible service. Stay far away.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- I had a Nextel wireless cellphone for almost 5 years. First with the company I worked for and then my personal phone since I really liked the service and quality. During that period of time I had changed plans many times to meet my travel needs and business requirements. On each occasion the customer service representative said there was no problem with my "contract" and I could change as many times as I wanted without my begin date starting over. I had this last phone for over two years, which is the length of their initial contract period.
In the last year of service with them I acquired a second phone and added it to the first phone's billing statements. Everything was great until I changed banks. I contacted them no less than 8 times to get them to stop the automatic bank drafts. They NEVER did stop even after the account was closed! They caused numerous NSF charges each month and each month I faxed written instructions to stop the ACH debits and followed up with phone calls to their customer service people. I was using the phone quite a lot for business and the charges got upwards of $800 once. So I changed my calling plan again.
SBC (Cingular) was offering TWO cell phones with twice the minutes for less than what I was paying for Nextel's one phone - and had rollover for the unused minutes! I called Nextel to make the arrangements and ask questions - "no problem! sorry to see you leave, you've been with us for a long time". A nice goodbye? Hardly! The next bill I got was for $400 dollars for terminating my contract(s) ahead of time! I called to speak with them four more times about this "policy change" and what their representatives had said. The next bill came in with late fees of $65 - so now they think I owe $465 dollars.
Months past and I did not pay as they told me BEFORE I changed services there would be no charges or problems with my "contract" since I had been a good customer for so many years. A nasty collection agency is calling and sending letters that they now want $485 for my delinquent bill. I told them the story and they said I need to send notarized copies of my statements, faxes, bla, bla, bla. No way! I still am not paying. Last month I get a REALLY nasty collection agency, a different one and with a letter threatening to sue me for $485 plus court costs if I do not pay up!
This must be why Nextel is being sued in Federal Court for charging consumers for things that became "policy" without notification to the consumer or providing an "opt out" plan. I went back to look at past bills and I had been charged for prime time calls when it was after 9 pm! Their so-called after hours or off-hours rates stopped when they changed the cutoff time without letting consumers know! UPDATE 2/28/2010 - Still getting collection letters and this item keeps reappearing on my credit report...8 years later!!