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Sprint Lays Off 800 Customer Service Reps

Sarah Thomas
8/27/2013

With Softbank in, iDEN out, and customer care accolades up, Sprint says it will cut around 800 customer service jobs, primarily in Texas.

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) confirmed the layoffs to Bloomberg Tuesday. The company noted that customer complaints are down and satisfaction has increased, so fewer positions are required. (See Sprint Uses Amdocs Smart Agent.)

That is a part of the story, and a big part, as Sprint has worked hard for several years to improve its customer service. But the cuts also come as the US's third largest carrier just shut down its Nextel iDEN network, bleeding customers in the process. It lost more than 1 million monthly subscribers in the second quarter, so there are simply fewer to serve as well. (See Nextel Drags on Sprint as 4G Push Continues.)

Sprint began the layoffs last week, a third of which affected employees in Fort Worth, Irving, and Temple, Texas. A Sprint spokeswoman told Bloomberg the company would like to maintain a workforce of around 40,000 employees, and so no company-wide layoffs are expected.

It's also hiring as it looks to complete its Network Vision with help from new parent company SoftBank Corp. and integrate new subsidiary Clearwire's TDD LTE network. (See Sprint Completes Clearwire Acquisition and Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
9/2/2013 | 5:49:39 PM
Re: Hesse, in color
haha. That is what I imagine a call center looks like...
DOShea
DOShea
8/30/2013 | 4:33:52 PM
Re: Hesse, in color
I'm sure it was unintentional, but Hesse's comment about every employee "putting a hand on an oar and rowing in the same direction" made me think of this scene from "Ben-Hur"... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax7wcShvrus
TeleWRTRLiz
TeleWRTRLiz
8/28/2013 | 3:55:46 PM
Re: Hesse, in color
Probably something along the lines of if you call into this survey, you can win a $500 shopping spree. Only 10s count. Domo arigato Mr. Roboto.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
8/28/2013 | 11:33:15 AM
Hesse, in color
Well, here we go, the secret to Sprint's customer service success: pay employees to improve it...wonder how that is measured and compensated. http://newsroom.sprint.com/perspectives/sprint-perspectives/sprint-ceo-dan-hesse-every-employee-is-involved-in-improving-the-customer-experience.htm
KBode
KBode
8/28/2013 | 11:11:38 AM
Re: Automation
There remains several simple things most industry's still, for whatever reason, can't accomplish. Why, for instance, do I need to enter my phone number at the beginning of the call if the support rep is just going to ask for my phone number again several times? This kind of fractured system nonsense is responsible for probably half of the customer annoyance.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
8/28/2013 | 10:34:37 AM
Re: Automation
I agree with you KBode, mendyk and Mark; calling into customer support is usually a last resort. Although, sometimes you do want to talk to a human just to get a direct answer or add on a new service, to make sure you get the best deal.

When I call in I've started just asking for the manager immediately. It doesn't always work, but I find it's best to cut through all the people who don't have power to make decisions, so I don't have to repeat myself 4 times.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
8/28/2013 | 10:26:54 AM
Re: Automation
ha, that is true now, Kaop. Both are quite quotable, too.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas
8/28/2013 | 10:26:54 AM
Re: Automation
ha, that is true now, Kaop. Both are quite quotable, too.
KBode
KBode
8/28/2013 | 9:56:24 AM
Re: Automation
I avoid having a phone support conversation like it's the plague. I can generally tell in the first thirty seconds if I've gotten a hold of someone that actually knows what they're doing, or if it's a guy who knows nothing reading a script. I haven't had Sprint in about four years, but back then their support was abyssmal. IIRC most customer satisfaction studies still have them at the middle of the pack or worse.
MarkC73
MarkC73
8/28/2013 | 1:55:04 AM
Re: Automation
I'm sure I'm not the most tech savvy user, but when I do have to call in for support it's almost always because the provisioning or billing systems have failed me, and I'm hitting that *0.  For the most part I can find everything else online including troubleshooting and support. I'm wondering what the percentage of calls that actually go through to CSRs.  I'm also all for email and online chat and have had decent experience most of the time with both.
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