Monday, June 02, 2008

Perhaps Not Exactly a "Sprint"

It's possible that the horse has already expired, but here's some more about Sprint (Previous whining here and here.)

Faithful readers may recall from "Almost Helpful" that I was not wowed by Sprint's close-but-no-cigar response to an e-mail query I sent after making several circuits through their less-than-helpful website.

A little while after the exchange (which I never followed up on), I received via e-mail an invitation to fill out a customer-satisfaction survey. Which I did, and honestly. A day or so later, I received the following response:

    Thank you for responding to our survey. We are sorry to learn that you have an unresolved issue as your satisfaction is very important to us.

    A Sprint representative will contact you via your PCS phone at no charge, within 3 business days to assist you.

    Please do not respond to this email. If you have any questions please contact Customer Service or visit one of our websites: or

Which is all well and good. But that message was e-mailed to me on May 15; here we are on June 2 and I have yet to hear from Sprint. I don't have a calendar in front of me, but I'm almost certain that it's been three business days...although, as I think about it, how would I know what Sprint considers a "business day"? Maybe every other Thursday is a "business day" in Sprint land. Who can say?

I can say a couple of things: First, don't make promises you can't keep. In the Business Communications class I taught this past semester, I had to disagree with the author of our textbook, who was a fan of specificity and would have approved mightily of "A Sprint representative will contact you via your PCS phone at no charge, within 3 business days to assist you." In theory I agree, but as I pointed out to my class, if you are going to pin yourself down like that, you'd better make bloody sure you can deliver. Or someone might just post an unflattering blog entry about your broken promise.

Second, the mystery of why Sprint is experiencing customer defection becomes less and less mysterious with my each passing encounter with them...


add said...

Getting customer survey to share their insights has long been a challenge for companies. Surveys can be intrusive and time-consuming to administer while market research panels are expensive to organize and do not provide the immediacy required by the real-time economy.

add said...

The truth is the best source of ideas for building your business is free. It comes from your customer survey and prospective customers. All you have to do is ask. Listen to what you customers have to say and you will discover your strengths, weaknesses and, most importantly, what they would like.