A little more information

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time.

I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century.

I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com

Los Angeles Architectural History

Los Angeles Architectural History
1935 Art Deco at some of its finest: No. 168 - Griffith Observatory- (click on the photo for information)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sprint versus AT&T



It looks like we are going to be able to see how Sprint customer service stacks up with the worst in the industry, AT&T.  Perhaps it will be learned that customer service is also something that cannot be expected from Sprint as well.  Perhaps Sprint will shine.
I have had a number of issues with AT&T which have been documented in a post at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html   This post is still being updated.  Since the end of November, as of today 50,261 people have read the blog post.

Maybe it is time to see how Sprint compares to AT&T. 

I have already read complaints from other folks but I tend to prefer my own observations.

My son switched from AT&T to Sprint a few weeks ago.  He moved to a new HTC 4G phone, and Evo.  His brother opted for the Evo shift.

The voicemail has never worked on the Evo. 

My son is pretty darn proficient technically on computers and smart phones.  He downloaded updates and config changes which did not help.

He was on the phone today with Sprint for over an hour.  They said they could not help, he needed to go to a Sprint store.  But ... this was not before he was told to wipe his phone (and all his downloaded applications) to see if that resolved his other problem.  Other problem?  The other day his phone started to automatically turn on speaker phone when any incoming call was received.  Just what somebody needs, a broadcast of your incoming calls.

Sprint has been of no help.

So ... I looked at this as a nice opportunity to see how Sprint stands up in the customer service department.  So far they are not looking very capable. 

I have asked my son to document everything that happens in the path to problem resolution.  I will take his information and add it to this post which will be ongoing.

I will also post this on Twitter as I have done with @ATT.  As a side note, I am now followed on Twitter by the AT&T Executive Offices in Dallas Texas, the Office of the President.

I am interested to see if Sprint is capable of providing service on their 4G network and on these new smart phones that they push with so much effort. 

Is their staff up to the task? 

Is their customer service little more than an obstruction between a problem and resolution as is the case with AT&T? 

In the next few days ... or weeks ... or possibly even months we shall see.

Day 1 since posting this blog and counting.  2/8/11

myles111us 2/8/11 8:45am PST

Nobody from @sprint or @sprintcare has contacted me. @ATT contacted me in half a day. So far things are not looking good for @sprintcare

When I had AT&T issues they had people contact me within six hours on twitter.

At this point I am thinking positive but I am also thinking that this post may eventually state that if you are unhappy with your cell provider and are thinking of going to Sprint for better service there may be a possibility that things are not any better.

This 4G competition between all the cell providers will probably uncover network weakness aspects as a secondary issue and the lack of customer training and problem resolution procedures.

At this point in time 2,437 people have read this post.  It has moved into the top 10 posts read for the rolling seven day period and is currently in fifth place.

2/8/11 8:50am - tweet from Sprintcare
sprintcare Sprint Care
@ @myles111us Saw your tweet. What's going on?

I will send them the link to this post.

9:15am
sprintcare Sprint Care
@ @myles111us Pls send details (incl acct phn #, alt contact #, + PIN) to sprintcares@sprint.com and we'll have somebody look into it.

myles111us Myles Rose
@ @sprintcare - I will forward this information to my son who is having the problems.

9:30am
myles111us Myles Rose
@ @sprintcare - my son is in class. He will email Sprint later today.

I am curious to see how many times this problem will be handed off to others.  I wonder if Sprint Customer Service people are empowered to make decisions and have the ability to do enact a change or fix without multiple phone calls which waste the customer's time?  I wonder how often my son will be told to call another number or be left on hold?

So far the Sprint folks on the phone have not helped him.  They had him wipe his phone and lose his applications and the way his phone was set up to his personal preference.  He has already been on the phone with them with no resolution.

I wonder what will happen when he sends this email.  Is this going to me more effective than when he actually talked to their help folks live?  The live help was no help so I suppose it cannot be less effective.

Time will tell.

7:00pm

I talked to my son.  He sent me a copy of an email that he sent to Sprint with some information they requested.  He could not send the information sooner as he was in class all day.  I will not expect anything to be done this evening as it is past the close of business.

These are some excerpts from my son's letter.

Hello,


I have been having some problems with my phone, especially the voicemail function, so far I have documented what has happened with the phone.

1/26/11 - Bought Phone (Evo 4g) from Best Buy for $200. Phone does not work, will not make calls, 3g/4g not activated.

1/27/11 - Call Sprint and am stepped through activation process, everything works except voicemail.

2/7/11 - Speakerphone now automatically turns on when a call is made or received. I call Sprint and talk to tech support but they are unable to fix problem. They transfer me to someone named xxxxx (Employee ID: xxxxxxx). Her solution is to wipe phone causing loss of all data on it. Wipe fixed the speakerphone problem but voicemail still does not work. After half an hour of trying to fix voicemail they give up and tell me to go to a sprint store. After I demanded a credit for the inconvenience of losing all my data a $25 credit is offered with the promise that more will be given upon the fixing of the voicemail.

I am quite upset that I spent $200 on a phone that was advertised as a top of line phone, only to have it suffer from numerous problems. I expect issues from a free phone but now I realize that Sprint has endorsed a phone that was not well tested and has problems that should have been caught before it ever went to market.

I was told that in order to fix the voicemail i would need to go to a Sprint store. This is very inconvenient and extremely unprofessional that a we are being charged when all of our services do not work. I have to pay the entire bill whether or not I use all services so it seems only fair that we pay none of the bill for months that not all services were provided.

Side note from me (Myles Rose):  Sprint bills on a monthly basis and sells and advertises their service with a feature set based on a plan purchased.  So far they have not lived up to their part of the agreement.

When I had issues with AT&T I was given a full month of credit.  That is what I also expect from Sprint for my son and his family as their plan is a family plan.

So far customer service has been nice but not particularly helpful, they took a long time to solve only some of my problems and even those solutions created new inconveniences.

My father writes a blog that has become very popular and part of it is the problems he has had with at&t. We switched to Sprint to get better service but so far it is just more of the same. He has started writing about Sprint now. Here is a link to the article: http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2011/02/sprint-versus-at.html

I hope this problem can be resolved soon and without too much wasted time.

Sincerely,

2/10/11 - 10:00am PST

There has been no reply or response to the email which was sent to Sprint which was requested by them.  The problem has not been resolved.

At 11:00am pst my son texted me that he received an email asking for additional details.  He responded at that time with the additional details.

9:30pm PST

A quick update before I head out for the evening.....

Once you open the can of worms you discover all sorts of things.

On the subject of my son and his voicemail not working:  The issue has been turned over to Sprint Engineering.  It seems as if they have NEVER seen this problems before!  Well, that is what he was told.  Makes me feel are warm, fuzzy and confident that a simple email issue is going to take a few days at best to resolve.

I also talked to my son's mother.  Seems as if she has spent hours on the phone with Sprint herself.  She was promised a twenty or so dollar discount per month because she is a teacher.  She had this discount in the past.  In the past all she needed to do (on two occasions) was email them from her teacher email and the credit was active. 

Not this time.  She was passed on to at least three people today and this has not been resolved.

She also signed up for auto billing.  Seems that there was also a problem there.  She was told she would be charged on a future date but instead, her credit card was immediately charged.  More phone calls.  Finally somebody told her that the first time they set up this service it charges them instantly.  Once again, folks giving out bad information or not the proper information.

So now we have a family plan with various problems where perhaps a dozen different people have become involved, none of them doing anything to resolve the problem in a timely manner.  Over a dozen hours have been spent by two of the three people in the family.

I will be receiving documentation on some of these latest problems in the next few days and will post that information here.

In the meantime, I expect Sprint to issue a full month of credit in the next few days.  My family pays for monthly services to work not partial or prorated service.  I wonder how many folks at Sprint would accept partial kidney function after a hospital staff sold them hope of a full recovery?  How about a four cylinder car that only ran on three cylinders.

My family had Sprint two different times in the past.  Your service was not very good but it was better than it is doing at the moment.  Last time billing issues and discount issues were resolved with one phone call.

2/11/11 4:00pst

No resolution on the voice mail problem.  No update on the credit problem.  No word from Sprint Customer Care on twitter where they had talked to be before.  Looks as if these issues will continue over the weekend but if I hear anything from my family later this evening or during the weekend I will update this blog entry.

So far it seems as if Sprint is not doing very well in the area of problem resolution or customer satisfaction.  They have a bit of ground to lose before they can reach the lowest levels and be on par with AT&T but they are indeed, headed in that direction.

I find it hard to comprehend that a voice mail problem is taking them so long to resolve.

2/14/11 - One full week with no progress from Sprint.

It has now been one full week since I wrote this piece.

What has been resolved?  Nothing.

Voice mail on my son's phone is still not working.

Credit for service problems has not been received or applied to the account in full.

The Sprint discount has not been applied to the account or confirmed when it will be applied.  In the past this was done with one phone call and resolved in moments with Sprint a few years ago.

2/15/11

No updates.  No communication.  Nothing has been resolved.

What I am learning is that Sprint has a different approach to customer contact than AT&T.  In the case of AT&T they did put out effort to keep the customer informed even when nothing was being accomplished.  They tried to make the customer feel as if they did care.  I had a half a dozen AT&T folks following me on twitter and received many direct messages.

In the case of Sprint, it seems they just go dark.  They just seem to turn off the lights and hope the problem will either fix itself or that the customer will just grow tired and go away.  I received a single direct message from Sprintcare.  Sprint has not kept me informed in any way as one can notice by the lack of response in this blog entry.  In the case of AT&T, one can read that blog piece and see scores of people trying to help or at least keeping the customer informed.

2:00pm PST

My son just called and told me that Sprint just got his voicemail working.  I will update the blog.  The only outstanding items remaining are credit and discount applied to the account.  I posted this status update to all the usual places.

2/15/11 6pm PST

I was told by my family that credit has been promised and account has been updated and they should see a change in their monthly bill. 

Sprint also sent a confirmation email on what was resolved.

This will be my last entry on this post unless there is a problem with the account, credit or billing or if there is another Sprint issue which I will track on this post.

2/21/11

I am currently having a problem with AT&T again.  I thought I would copy the most recent entry on my AT&T blog here as I mention Sprint.

As a side note, I recently had three problems with Sprint. I thought the problems were going to be a great opportunity to compare Sprint customer service to AT&T. There were some technical issues and two billing and accounting issues in regard to Sprint.

Bottom line, Sprint resolved things in short order. My family said their phone support was professional and helpful. They followed up with email confirmations and answers rather than the simplistic dialogue and excuses that you can read above from AT&T. Part of my family switched to Sprint from AT&T because AT&T no longer had an unlimited data plan. Sprint also has free calls starting at 7pm rather than 9pm. Sprint also has free calls from their cell service to all other mobil services. AT&T has none of these features.

My problems have been with Uverse which provides my Internet. I also have AT&T cell service as my contract has over a year left on the contract. My cell experience has been acceptable but the cost is typical AT&T practice ... more $$$$ for fewer services. I will review the cell picture when my contract is complete. Even if AT&T can match the services of Sprint I may opt to leave AT&T based on their level of customer service over the years which continues to decline.

If you think I wrote a lot above on these Sprint issues feel free to check out the AT&T post at http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

7-17-2012

It seems as if this will be a good time to track the performance of Sprint customer service.  I am now a Sprint cell phone customer and it has been a while since I have tracked a Sprint problem.

Well, ATT has improved in regard to their customer service in some ways (feel free to follow the link a few lines above if you want to read the story).

From the response on my own first Sprint issue things look as if their service may have room for improvement.  Perhaps a lot of room.  It may have declined in quality since I wrote this post on the problems of a family member.

Bottom line, I reported my problem 0n 7/14/12.  Initially I heard back from Sprint, but not nearly as fast as ATT Customer Care gets back to me.  I heard from them on Saturday, not on Sunday (they are closed), but not on Monday and so far not today as of 10am pst.

Here is a bit of dialogue up until this point.

 I was charged an activation fee when I was told this was waived.  I expect a credit.


 It will be interesting to see how long this takes to get resolved, being charged for activation.

 - I am a new line switching over from . How come I was billed an activation charge when ads says this will not happen?

 - so far no response from you folks. 

 - Your hours say you are here on Saturday. You have messages from the last hour posted yet I have had no response from you.

 Who informed you of the waiver? What are the circumstances of the purchase?


 This clearly states activation fee waived. Please issue credit for the $36 I was charged 


Look in the lower right hand corner - I did sign a two year agreement.
But .... I signed the agreement based on my expectations of your service as
advertised at the time.  I expect reasonable service and reliability.
If this turns out not to be the case and I terminate my relationship with
Sprint early I will be taking action to recover any costs associated with
early termination of service based on Sprint's lack of service or
honesty based on expected truth in advertising.

7/17/2012 1020pst

A bit of dialogue.  Looks as if Sprint customer service may be something of an obstacle between a problem and eventual solution.

At this point ATT would have been on top of this issue, would have started following me on twitter within less than an hour of the initial complaint and would have already been using the twitter DM (direct message) function to communicate privately.


  to sprintcares@sprint.com.   Our email team will address your concerns as quickly as possible.
 for you. Pls send an email and include details of your concern, your Sprint phn #, acct access PIN, and name on acct - send
  actually, my apologies - it was at the bottom, not the part that was circled.  We can have our billing team look into this
   I didn't see where it said the act fee would be waived - it says to register on that link to receive a $50 service credit

 - don't make this complicated. DM me for the account phone number and issue credit.


I see no reason why this issue has to be complicated with multiple points of contact for the customer.  You label yourself as Sprintcare.  You cannot help the customer?  You can do nothing more than tell them to contact somebody else?  You are incapable of passing along information in this age of information interchange?

I have no intention of emailing or calling others.  The ball is in your court.  I would rather lose the $36 that your advertising misleads a potential customer into believing and use this as an example of your poor customer service to warn others.

Perhaps ATT has risen in service as you folks have fallen.  

There is a silver lining to every cloud as the expression states and in my case I had a recent cloud with ATT service and just days later a cloud with Sprint.  The silver lining here will be an ability to compare customer service within the same time frame.

4:25pst -

No word from "Sprintcare".  So far, at this point ATT is looking pretty good.


 - I sent an email. I now wonder what in the heck you folks do other than hand off a problem to others.


Since Sprintcare did nothing at all to resolve my problem other than tell me to take further action and contact somebody else, it seems I can come up with no logical reason for their existence.  In the amount of time Sprint has done nothing ATT would have had called me directly and would have been in an ongoing dialogue using direct twitter messages (DM).

ATT has improved.  Sprint is looking pretty bad at this point in time.

 You sent an email to sprintcares@sprint.com?

 yes. You folks have done nothing other than tell me to email them for this simple problem which you complicated
 We personally respond to these emails, what is the specific issue?

 What is the specific issue? You've got to be kidding me at this point. Follow the link in the email.

 maybe look at my past tweets. Or, maybe talk to one of the  folks who have blown me off. 
 U do understand I am responding 2all of Twitter and FB @ this point. I am trying to quickly assist you. Hv u spoken to cst care?

So they want to "quickly assist" me.  

This simple problem could have been resolved in moments ... literally.  They have made this more complicated than I could even have imagined.  The level of ineffectiveness may have reached a new pinnacle in bad customer service.

This is a simple matter.  I am a AAA member.  I was sent an offer from Sprint that if I add a line with them the activation fee of $36 would be waived.  I was charged this fee.  I expect a credit for this fee.  It is that simple.

So, rather than keep updating this post in extreme detail I will just report when I hear nothing from Sprint (I will keep the clock running), or if and when they resolve my problem.  If they come up with some excuse not to credit me I will post that here.

In the past running week this is the 4th most read post on my blog with 1,873 reads since it was updated on 7/17/12.  The problem was reported on 7/14/12.

7/18/12 1500pst

I have received two emails from Christopher at Sprint.  He was not aware of ANY of the details of my problem.  Like I said earlier, the departments or individuals at Sprint do not communicate with each other.

I had to explain the problem again.  Something that I have had to do with virtually every interaction with any Sprint person.

The email asked for various pieces of information and I supplied contact information.  They then asked for this again.  I supplied it again.

This issue is much less complex than any issue I had in the past with ATT yet has become more complex and frustrating in it's attempted resolution than any issue I ever had with ATT.

Sprint, take a bow.  You are almost guaranteed the new #1 position in worst service, worst communication and highest disregard for the customer's time of ANY customer service in any industry.

Once again ... the clock continue to tick as I wait for resolution.

7-20-12 1100pst

William contacted me and and the account holder on our account.  The account holder said he was nice and professional.  The problem may be resolved at this point.  The details are being emailed.  Some account changes were made and hopefully these will be clear in the email.  I also hope that in November when the main contract is up for renewal, that there will not be an issue of any problems complicated by the changes made today.  If there are issues you will be able to read about them here.

But .... for the moment .... thank you to William.  Looking forward to your email with details of the conversation.  Hopefully it will be smooth sailing ahead.


Myles Rose is the founder of Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   You may contact me from the link.  My direct contact information is provided as well as links to two of the Internet forums where I answer technical questions.  You may also ask questions in any post in this blog by using the comment application on each post.

When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission.



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