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  1.    #1  
    Hrm, has anybody heard anything about this?

    http://biz.yahoo.com/djus/030120/1624000640_1.html

    WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- About 2,700 Sprint Corp. (FON, PCS) local-telephone employees in Oregon, Indiana, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida are set to strike on Tuesday, according to the Communications Workers of America, which represents the employees.

    Negotiators face a strike deadline of 1 p.m. EST Tuesday in contract bargaining, the union said in a press release Monday, with unresolved issues including subcontracting of work and wage rates for job titles.

    The CWA said the contract talks involve about 500 workers in central Florida; 1,600 in eastern North Carolina; 400 in Bristol/Johnson City, Tenn.; 40 in Evansville, Ind.; and 170 in Hood River, Ore. The company has a total work force of 75,000.

    Settlements were reached this part weekend for Sprint employees in Pittsburgh and in Hickory, N.C., the union said.

    A Sprint spokesman wasn't immediately available for comment.
    Will it affect service? Support? Whah?

    Anybody heard any news about this?
  2. #2  
    Considering the hold times, I thought they have always been on strike.

    Considering service and support is out-sourced, I wouldn't think there would be any impact.
  3. #3  
    this is just Sprint local telecom. Sprint PCS has no union employees. Won't affect SPCS at all...
  4. #4  
    Originally posted by sbcrair
    this is just Sprint local telecom. Sprint PCS has no union employees. Won't affect SPCS at all...
    I'd believe this. I wish PCS was unionized. Union workers tend to take some pride in thier work. Nobody at the PCS division as far as I can tell has any pride at all, probably because they're being worked to death for substandard pay and benefits without any training.
  5. #5  
    "Union workers tend to take some pride in thier work."

    I'd like to see some statistics to back that up. I don't believe there's any correlation between product quality and union vs. non-union workforce.

    Out of curiousity, is some or all of Handspring unionized?

    Cluemeister
  6. #6  
    I am a SPCS employee. Maybe you haven't experienced good service on a call or two. Touche, but to say that we don't have pride is a misstatement. Look, we have 19 call centers in the US and 7 of them are SPCS, the others outsourced.
    Business Services and 3G are SPCS. There is extensive initial and ongoing training in these departments. I personally feel that we probably rolled Vision out a little too soon, but we have a new CEO of the PCS division, and he came from our GMG (global markets group, FON) and his strategy is an aggressive one. There are many an educated folk here in 3G. Most have degrees (or grad degrees, such as myself) and maybe they thought that the market would stay the same and give them the $$$ job that we all trained for, but it didn't. Some of us are not where we want to be careerwise, but that does not diminish our yearn to drive in and take many a call in customer support. For those in a help desk position or customer service, you know what kind of mindset and stomach it takes to deal with the ever demanding public. I know for a fact here, we do the best we can. I also know that although the hold times a long, that will change, soon (shareholders know what I mean). Most of us work 10 hour shifts times four days and still come in on our off days to assist our comrades. Sometimes it goes unappreciated, but in the long run we do what we do to help you guys...the better the product and service, the more customers we have, the more money we make.
    All we ask is to not judge 3G on a bad customer solutions call. Or a passing judgement on a billing/retention call after speaking with activations. Here on treocentral, you should only be speaking with 3G. We have been trained to answer questions and provide solutions. If you get customer solutions, ask to speak with 3G/Vision. I read a lot of posts where some of you guys get into little tiffs with customer solutions and NEVER speak with Vision for your treo needs.
    Sa Da Tae
  7. #7  
    Oh yeah...we make a pretty good penny too...could be better, but its good...
    Sa Da Tae
  8. #8  
    Originally posted by 3GTech
    I am a SPCS employee. Maybe you haven't experienced good service on a call or two. Touche, but to say that we don't have pride is a misstatement.

    Sorry but I have never received good service on any call. I can provide a list of about 12 of my co-workers who would say the same thing.

    Look, we have 19 call centers in the US and 7 of them are SPCS, the others outsourced. Business Services and 3G are SPCS.

    I have heard good things about Business Services, but at my company we all get a cell phone expense account and can choose any carrier we wish. Therefore we have no formal Business account with you and no access to this level of service.

    By the way, this should not matter. A customer is a customer and anywhere they call within the company should be capable of providing a high standard of service.

    There is extensive initial and ongoing training in these departments. I personally feel that we probably rolled Vision out a little too soon, but we have a new CEO of the PCS division, and he came from our GMG (global markets group, FON) and his strategy is an aggressive one.

    I'm glad to hear about the training, it is desperately needed. The proof of this is that you feel Vision was rolled out too soon which implies that either the staff or the technology was not ready for prime time.

    As far as the CEO goes, a CEO is only as good as the people working for him/her. One person alone cannot make things work by simply coming into an organization. If your CEO truly is aggressive he will probably need to dramatically cut quite a few slackers, re-hire and fully train a new army of service staff.

    There are many an educated folk here in 3G. Most have degrees (or grad degrees, such as myself) and maybe they thought that the market would stay the same and give them the $$$ job that we all trained for, but it didn't. Some of us are not where we want to be careerwise, but that does not diminish our yearn to drive in and take many a call in customer support.

    I have hired support staff with advanced degrees and without. It makes very little difference with the exception that folks without tend to stay a bit longer.

    You make it sound as if you're doing customers a favor by diving in and taking customer support calls. Remember, fixing problems is what you're paid to do. If you feel you're not happy with it, leave - but it's completely irrelevant to a customer about whether or not you're happy with your career path or salary.

    For those in a help desk position or customer service, you know what kind of mindset and stomach it takes to deal with the ever demanding public. I know for a fact here, we do the best we can.

    I've done help desk and CS, and I know exactly the mindset it takes - a can do, never say die attitude, thorough knowledge of the product set, a good team of co-workers and management, good trouble ticket and response tools, and massive amounts of sugary, highly caffienated soda.

    Also, saying you know something for a fact implies you actually have facts to back this up. What proof of this do you have?

    I also know that although the hold times a long, that will change, soon (shareholders know what I mean).

    I hope this means I won't have to become a shareholder to get support. Can you explain this to the folks who haven't bought shares of your stock but rather, are the ones who buy your products and services and generate revenue?

    Most of us work 10 hour shifts times four days and still come in on our off days to assist our comrades. Sometimes it goes unappreciated, but in the long run we do what we do to help you guys...the better the product and service, the more customers we have, the more money we make.

    Just be glad that you have a job in this economy and that you're not gluing sneakers together at some sweatshop in Malaysia with a bunch of hungry underage kids without food, shelter, or education.

    All we ask is to not judge 3G on a bad customer solutions call. Or a passing judgement on a billing/retention call after speaking with activations.

    Why not? The first thing Sprint needs to come to understand is that everyone in the company is responsible for the satisfaction of it's customers. If you feel like another team is representing Sprint badly, speak up and let the right people know. That's the only way it gets fixed.

    Look- CS is like playing goalie. You could stop 99 shots but the one that gets through is what makes the front page of the sports section. Of course nobody is perfect but at least when something goes wrong in CS you have the opportunity to fix it. In fact, when things go wrong, you have the BEST opportunity to make a customer for life by going above and beyond. As the chinese proverb goes - there is opportunity in crisis.

    Here on treocentral, you should only be speaking with 3G. We have been trained to answer questions and provide solutions. If you get customer solutions, ask to speak with 3G/Vision. I read a lot of posts where some of you guys get into little tiffs with customer solutions and NEVER speak with Vision for your treo needs.

    First, I have no idea how to get to 3G. Nor should I have to ask for 3G! I have asked for a higher level technician in the past but either was told there was nobody or given the runaround on hold for hours.

    Second, why would someone be incented to speak with anyone else after anyone at a company treated them poorly? Like I said before, customer opinion is built at every level of the organization, not just one small corner.
    I'm sure you're a nice guy who is just as frustrated with parts of Sprint as some customers are. But please don't tell me it's not as bad as I think. I know from experience exactly how bad it is.

    That being said, Sprint CS is not the worst in the industry but could be tremendously better. I feel that if Sprint didn't have attractive pricing, and such a cutting edge selection of phones, people would avoide Sprint in the first place due to it's terrible CS reputation.

    And if Sprint didn't have iron-clad long term lock-in contracts to keep customers strung along coupled with the threat of having to switch phone numbers (or even phones) if you do switch carriers, a huge percentage of customers would run for the hills after thier first support experience.

    Respectfully,
    derek985
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    #9  
    Very well put Derek. You certainly spoke for me as well.
    Randy
  10. #10  
    Hi,

    I just wanted to say that I've been a Sprint customer for 2 months now and have had to call Sprint on several occasions. I'm happy to say that I've had excellent experiences with all the CS people I've spoken with. They've usually answered the phone within one minute, have been very apologetic when they've put me on hold, and have been extremely helpful every time I've called.

    I was previously a Verizon customer, and while some of their CS people were fine, others lied to me and were very rude.

    All in all, I've been very pleased with SPCS, Vision, and my Treo 300.

    --Newbie
    Newbie
  11. #11  
    Originally posted by Newbie
    Hi,

    I just wanted to say that I've been a Sprint customer for 2 months now and have had to call Sprint on several occasions. I'm happy to say that I've had excellent experiences with all the CS people I've spoken with. They've usually answered the phone within one minute, have been very apologetic when they've put me on hold, and have been extremely helpful every time I've called.

    I was previously a Verizon customer, and while some of their CS people were fine, others lied to me and were very rude.

    All in all, I've been very pleased with SPCS, Vision, and my Treo 300.

    --Newbie
    I have a feeling that the problems many users are seeing is location specific. I think this is why we see such a wide range of opinions. Some areas must be getting serviced by better (or worse - if you believe the glass is half empty!) teams.

    D.
  12. #12  
    In my experience with sprint I'd have to say that the problem is systemic not with the quality of the people.

    The process flow is simply not robust enough. It doesn't account for all of the possiblities and hence confusion results.

    Example:

    I went to the website to activate my Treo. I, myself, have never had a contract with Sprint so I said I needed to activate a new service.

    I put in my name an address. The webpage responded by welcomoing me back and asking for my passcode. Puzzled I cleared out the cache and cookies and started over.

    I couldn't findout what was going on so I called Claire. She directed me to a Constumer Service rep who tried logging me on. No dice. The rep was completely confused.

    Being frustrated I called the sprint sales rep for my company (I hadn't gone through him intially because he said I needed to go to Amazon to get the Amazon deal).

    He instantly recognized that Sprint had already created a "shell" account for me and routed me to the Biz Service Support. This person had their **** together but was still confused as to why I had an account through the coporate sales rep but a phone from Amazon.

    After a bit we sorted things out and she took about 40 seconds to set up my account.


    The moral of the story is that I ended up soaking up a ton of sprint resources for what could have taken 40 secs if the webpage had said something like "Welcome back Mr ____ BS account with Firm Name." rather than just prompting me for a passcode.
  13. #13  
    I have to agree my experience with Sprint has been pretty good. No, not everyone I've talked to knew the answer to my question, but they did patch me on to someone who was able to help. I didn't expect the first line rep to know the answer... Just like going to a Best Buy or Circuit City- the sales reps do not know alot of details about all the products. Maybe I should expect more, but I figure it's par for the course! But everyone at sprint has been friendly. And the treo and all its features are just amazing to me! I added the business connection and I'm thrilled with getting my e-mails on my treo.

    I will say that the directions sprint provides with the phone are lacking. I too had some problems getting everything activated, signing up for all the accounts with the right passwords. There is no documentation anywhere on e-mail options. The BC was easy to set up, once I figured out where to download it- I thought it was on my CD but I ended up downloading off the sprint web page.

    But all in all I am very happy with my treo!

    Marcy
  14. #14  
    Originally posted by derek985


    I have a feeling that the problems many users are seeing is location specific. I think this is why we see such a wide range of opinions. Some areas must be getting serviced by better (or worse - if you believe the glass is half empty!) teams.

    D.
    Actually, the calls going to Cust Service are not location specific, i.e., callers from California aren't answered by a California/West Coast call center, Bostonians aren't serviced by an East Coast call center. It's handled by a router, but not by area or region. I think, to narrow it further, the problems seen are specific case-by-case issues where the representatives handling certain people/issues aren't competent (but it is hardly the entire institution). There are people getting help with problems that others aren't getting help at, or there wouldn't be people chiming in to say that they're satisfied with their cust. service experiences.

    I don't know...I think it's difficult to support an attack on 3GTech for defending his position - if someone says he doesn't take pride in his work, he has the right to say that he does (as well as his coworkers), to say that he's sorry some people have had troubles, and to say that everyone on HIS level is doing the best that they can. Obviously he can't speak for everyone, but he can say that people ARE aware of problems and that people ARE trying to fix them. To parse apart his statement to make generalizations about how "you should be happy you're not in a sweatshop" aren't necessary... And, he brought up his career/salary because someone DID discuss if the reps were "happy" (took pride in their work...Union discussion). Therefore, SOMEONE who is a customer "cared" if that affected the issue at hand.

    This is just me talking...I've had good and bad experiences with cust. care (and 3G Vision support), but I realize that it IS a per-person issue, same as if I call Dell about my computer...I can tell within the first 2 minutes if the computer tech understands what to do, if I don't think he/she does, I hang up, call back, and roll the dice again. It was the same with Gateway (when I had a Gateway computer). Maybe I'm just easier-going than others, but I'm willing to chalk some issues up to that...

    Take care, guys.
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by needles
    This is just me talking...I've had good and bad experiences with cust. care (and 3G Vision support), but I realize that it IS a per-person issue, same as if I call Dell about my computer...I can tell within the first 2 minutes if the computer tech understands what to do, if I don't think he/she does, I hang up, call back, and roll the dice again. It was the same with Gateway (when I had a Gateway computer). Maybe I'm just easier-going than others, but I'm willing to chalk some issues up to that...

    Take care, guys.
    Yours is an attitude of lowered expectations. Why should anyone be complacent with having to "roll the dice" any time they call for service on a product?

    It's not like these support staffers are dealing with supporting phones, AND cars, AND refigerators. They are dealing with phones only. Why in the world shouldn't *everyone* on staff have a thorough understanding of thier job?

    So I guess I'm not as easy going, I expect to get what I pay for. I do wish people would demand more from the companies they spend money with, and hold them accountable to higher standards.

    Best,
    D.
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by kwsmith2
    In my experience with sprint I'd have to say that the problem is systemic not with the quality of the people.
    Think about what you're saying. How can the problems *not* be related to the quality of people? It always comes down to people.

    The system you dial into is designed and maintained by people, therefore the quality of the system and its ability to service your needs in an effective manner is directly related to...

    You guessed it...

    People!

    Best,
    D.
  17. #17  
    I guess I've just come to realize that, regardless of the milieu, you will confront incompetent people. Whether you call the phone company, the gas company, computer techs, your credit card company, or your bank. They're everywhere, and if you're lucky to never experience them anywhere but at SPCS, you're just that: lucky. If you're like me, you understand that, you let it roll of your back and move on. Attacking 3GTech won't change that. Attacking the lowest tier of the company (no offense, 3GTech, I just mean you have a lot less clout in policy management than Castanon or Lauer) gets you no where, whether its on this forum or on the phone with customer care. Kicking the foot soldier won't get the attention of the general.

    3GTech - I know the job is a lot of craziness, and I appreciate the work you and your compatriates do. (You never know, I may have talked to you before!).

    Ciao
  18. #18  
    Originally posted by needles
    I guess I've just come to realize that, regardless of the milieu, you will confront incompetent people. Whether you call the phone company, the gas company, computer techs, your credit card company, or your bank. They're everywhere, and if you're lucky to never experience them anywhere but at SPCS, you're just that: lucky.
    I never said they weren't everywhere. What I did say is that it has become commonplace because people have lowered their expectations.

    I will say however, that Sprint is one example of a company towards the lower end of the customer support spectrum. Many think of Sprint as famous (or infamous) for it.

    If you're like me, you understand that, you let it roll of your back and move on. Attacking 3GTech won't change that.
    First, let me say that I am not "attacking" anybody. I am merely sharing my opinion on a public forum which (at least some) folks at Sprint are obviously reading. Indeed, this thread may help our 3GTech (or others at Sprint) by giving him plain evidence of customer dissatisfaction.

    And as for me being like you, I guess the reason that we disagree on this topic is because I'm not.

    Best,
    D.

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