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« The Scent of Personality | Slow Down and Make the Right Decisions »

November 26, 2007

Sprint PCS: Confusing and Dysfunctional

Posted by Shawn Stewart | Filed under: Experience

I was in the Sprint store over the weekend to upgrade to a new phone. Mine was long overdue for retirement.

While I was finishing my purchase, I overheard another conversation between an associate and a young woman. She wanted to return a phone she had recently purchased and was really unhappy with. She had called ahead of time to speak with a Sprint customer service rep and they told her she could send it in or bring it to a local store. I stood there watching the frustration well up in this poor woman's face. She explained the scenario to the associate and got a response that basically amounted to this: "The customer service department is a completely different department and has nothing to do with the retail stores." He then proceeded to give her what seemed like a never ending list of things she would have to do in order to return her phone--contradicting what she was previously told through Sprint's customer service.

I guess Sprint is asking its customers to care about its organizational structure, politics and department silos. The problem with that is no one cares! Whether it's customer service or it's a retail store, they are both Sprint. No wonder Sprint sits atop the MSN Customer Service Hall of Shame.

Small business owners everywhere, you can learn a lot from Sprint's mistake. Don't treat different departments of your business as completely autonomous. If you do, you may end up with efficient departments but be perceived by your customers as dysfunctional. If you can't communicate and work well with each other, how can you expect to communicate and work well with your customers?

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I watched this EXACT thing happen at an AT&T store. The double whammy came when the customer then complained about what another store employee had told her earlier that the current employee was now saying could not have been said or promised. The current employee proceeded to say just about the exact same thing about THE OTHER FELLOW EMPLOYEE as she did about the Customer Service Dept!

Posted by: Paul Kuzma at November 27, 2007 5:42 PM