Sprint: Misleading Pricing & Terrible Customer Service
Iâm sure everyone has experienced good and poor customer service.
Recently, Iâve experienced extremely poor customer service with my current cell phone service provider - Sprint.
My husband and I have been Sprint customers for years. When the other major service providers announced unlimited plans, we were tempted, but decided to wait to see what Sprint would offer.
On February 29th, I checked the Sprint website and found the âSimply Everythingâ plan was available. The pricing for the plan was listed as $99.99/mo, $5 for a 2nd line & $15 for a 3rd line (I printed a screen shot of this). I called customer service to inquire about the plan.
I explained that I wanted to have three lines on the plan and I wanted to make sure I understood the pricing correctly. I specifically asked if the total cost for 3 lines would be $199.99 (excluding taxes etc) and was told that was correct.
I signed up for the plan, extending my contract for 2 years. The rep told me for being a loyal customer I would receive a 1-time credit of $70 and 10%/mo discount on my bill for 2 years.
The rep attempted to update my account, however, they were having some system problems and she couldnât make the change at that time. She said that she would be able to do so in about an hour and she would call me back.
Sure enough, an hour or so later I received a call from her - she said the plan had been applied to my phone, however, we would need to purchase a new phone for my husband before she could apply the new plan to his phone. She said if we could purchase the phone over the weekend, she would call me back on Monday, March 3rd to complete the plan update. As far as the 3rd line, she explained we would simply need to go into a Sprint store to transfer the liability of that phone to my accounts and the process would be complete.
The new plan was to go into effect at the next billing cycle on March 7th.
On Sunday March 2nd, I purchased a new phone for my husband so we would be ready to update his phone the following day. However, Monday March 3rd came and went and I didnât receive the call.
I tried reaching the rep directly by calling the number she had called from, but was informed that I could not be connected since I did not know her last name.
I called the general Sprint customer service number again, however, this time my call was put through to a different call center. I explained that I had signed up for the new plan and that I was trying to complete the update for my husbandâs phone. They said they could not help me (something about not having access to special offers). I found this confusing, but chalked it up to possibly a heavy response to the new plan.
So, I hoped for the best and waited for March 7th when the new plan would go into effect.
On March 7th, I accessed my plan on-line and discovered the description of plan pricing had changed. The pricing was listed as $99.99 for 1 line, $94.99 for 2nd line & $84.99 for 3rd line, totaling $297.97.
I immediately called customer service, explained the situation to the representative and asked that they honor the price I was given when I signed up. I was told that I had been misinformed about the plan pricingâ¦ they were sorry, but the price was the price and there was nothing they could do.
I pressed the issue and was transferred to the customer service supervisor. She also told me there was nothing she could do and suggested that I go to the Sprint website and send and e-mail to customer service (which I did) or, if I wanted to speak with her manager I could call back later. However, she warned me that there was no there was not guarantee that my call would be routed to the same call center.
I was astonished! This was the suggestion from a CUSTOMER SERVICE SUPERVISOR. You dealing with a customer thatâs already upset and you tell them to try to call back and hope you get through to the same call center? Where on earth did she receive her training and how on did she become a supervisor?
I replied that since there was no guarantee my call would go through to the same call center, that I would like her manager return my call. To me, this is something the CSS should have suggested - certainly not the customer.
I never did receive a call back from the Customer Service Manager.
The original description of the plan pricing was not only misleading to customers, it was not clearly defined to the customer service representatives when the plan was rolled out. This was evident by the fact that a week later, the description was changed to clarify the pricing.
Sprint was the last major provider to roll out an unlimited plan. How could they have been so poorly prepared?
In the highly competitive market of mobile providers, this appeared to be a âbait & switchâ tactic.
On March 8th I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau which they forwarded to Sprint for their response. The BBB was advised by Sprint that it would take some time to research and respond to the complaint due to the volume of business.
I also sent e-mails to executives at Sprint. They have not replied. The messages are probably trapped in a spam folder somewhere.
I did receive a response to the e-mail I sent to customer service â which was, there was nothing they could do about the plan price, but for being such a loyal customer, they would make the 10% discount per month for life.
At this point, I was not too certain what the life span of my business with Sprint would be. I did not feel the offer was equitable. I declined and said I would have to let the complaint filled with the Better Business Bureau run its course.
On March 25th, I saw the new commercial for Sprint, featuring Daniel Hesse, CEO of Sprint, asking âIf you could change the way wireless companies did things, what would you do?â A few things immediately came to mind. What came next caught my attention - an e-mail address appears on a black screen: firstname.lastname@example.org. They wanted customerâs feedback!
I took the opportunity to send Dan another e-mail explaining the situation and requesting they honor what I, in good faith, signed up for - the Simply Everything plan with 3 lines for $119.99/month, a one-time credit of $70 & a 10% discount per month for 2 years.
Of course, I didnât expect to hear back from Dan personally. If fact, I received a call from a Sprint representative. He told me he would check into matter and would call me back. He also gave me his direct line so that I could contact him. I was encouraged!
On March 28th I called him to see if there was a resolution - got his voice-mail; on Monday, March 31st, I called to see if there was a resolution - again got his voice-mail; on Tuesday, April 1st I called to see if there was a resolution - once again got his voice-mail.
That afternoon he returned my call. He said he spoke with his manager and, you guessed it, they were sorry, but there was nothing they could do. I told him I understood that he and his manager may not have the authority to resolve this, but that someone certainly did. He asked if I wanted his manager to take it to the next level â of course I said yes. Iâm not certain what answer they expected? Did they think I would say âno, never mindâ? He told me it might take a while before someone got back to me, but that he would make a note to follow up.
Itâs been a month since this first started and Iâm still waiting and hoping that someone at Sprint will suck it up and make things right. The experience has made me consider what constitutes good and poor customer service and the lessons we can learn from experiencing both.
Mistakes can happen in any business - acknowledging the mistake, being accountable and resolving the problem promptly and ethically is certainly more cost effective than dragging problem out.
Dragging out problem resolution is a drain on man power and productivity, not to mention the cost involved with losing a customer to a competitor.
Good customer service is easy when everything runs smoothly. The true measure of good customer service is how effectively problems are managed and if the company serves as the customerâs advocate.
Good customer service can often be taken for granted. Sometimes it goes unnoticed or simply prevents a customer from having a bad day. However, sometimes, good customer service can actually make a customerâs day and reinforce the partnership.
Poor customer service is quite the opposite â it is never taken for granted, never goes unnoticed, often escalates a problem and causes a customer distress and/or aggravation, leaving them to wonder why they do business with us.
Worst case scenario â they stop wondering and take their business elsewhere