business there are transactions between different parties and the simplest type of transactions are between companies and their customers. The customers are individuals and generally not able to really launch a major dispute with companies, but they generally create enough of a troublesome noise that puts companies in difficulties. It is important that an accepted solution is reached by both parties at the earliest.
One of the areas of service that is regularly used by consumers is now of communication through different means, and one of the most important providers of such means in the country is Sprint. The objective here is to study a case of service deficiency of Sprint and find out a possible method of solving the customer complaint at the earliest. The service promises on the Internet to provide more choices due to the flexibility and offers from the company. The options are in terms of phones, plans and services. For general customers they provide wireless phones, long distance phones, local service and high speed Internet phones. For businesses they promise that productivity can be increased and full potential of the business can be explored with Sprint services. (Welcome to Sprint)
Sprint promises direct services on the Internet itself for wireless phones of information about Nextel and Sprint PCS products and services for personal use; for long distance services answers to facts on billing, dialing and moving for long distance service; for local services on seeing and paying bills online and checking about all the services that are available in the local telephone division of Sprint; there is an offer to manage the services online and get details about the bill that has been raised by Sprint and get full details so that the customer can take the correct decisions. These are for the personal levels of phones. For businesses they offer information on wireless phones for business use; get sales support online or on the phone for national business needs; for local wholesale services it is possible to contact Sprint online or submit feedback about requirements of the business organization and it also offers "the complete resource center" for businesses operating outside United States. (Sprint -- Contact us)
One of the regular methods used by Sprint is to give free minutes and cash credit when there is a complaint from customers about poor service. This is a readymade solution and one should remember that "nothing is free in the world." Thus the giving away of free minutes or cash credit is an indirect admission of guilt by Sprint and this is not the method to solve problems with customers as they feel encouraged to demand more. In one such case, the customer took the cell phone to Sprint PCS store in Washington DC as he had a complaint about poor reception and not remaining connected after sometime. According to the technicians there, the problem was due to the list of cell towers that the phone could access and to solve the problem, they upgraded the software in the phone. (Customer Service 101: Sprint PCS gets D) If this is the problem, then it would not be a problem with one phone, but with many others, and it was the duty of Sprint to inform the customers that they could get better service by changing the software at a Sprint center. This would have been good public relations as it would have informed the customers that the service organization was caring for them. On the other hand, perceived poor service creates a poor image, and the reactions of poor service on different customers can be different. Some may not care about it; others may even change the service provider.
Carrying on with the case that one is talking about, the service to this customer improved, but the concerned software, no longer was able to recognize the battery and due to this, the battery would not recharge. The problem was informed to Sprint, and the customer was advised to return the phone to the store that was to replace it. The customer went to the store and there, only the battery was replaced. The problem here is of communication within the organization of Sprint -- what the mouth says, the hand does not know. The replacement of the battery did not solve the problem, as the phone came back to the same "invalid main battery" error and in addition, the speakers stopped working. This happened within 24 hours, and it is clear that the problem was due to the software. (Customer Service 101: Sprint PCS gets D)
This makes it clear that Sprint did not test on the software on that particular model before releasing the software in the market. This is sheer carelessness and is not expected in a customer service organization. If it was tested and difficulties were found with the software, then the software could have been changed or different software used for that model, or the customer told about the problem and informed that different software is being developed to solve the problem. Whatever is the real situation, the customer should have been told. Customers of any service organization believe with enormous faith about the organization and as long as truth is maintained, the relationship is maintained. However once the faith has been disturbed, then everything told by the organization is subject to enormous doubt, and this leads to a break up in the relationship between the customer and the service organization.
Now let us see what happens further. On October 2, 2004 the shop, Sprint PCS tells the customer that a new phone will arrive in three to five days. The customer requested Sprint to send the instrument to the place where the customer is working. Sprint informs the customer that a separate "return kit" will come in a package for the customer to send his existing phone back to Sprint. The customer made further enquiries of Sprint on October 5 and was told that the phone was "on its way" and the customer should get it within "today or tomorrow." (Customer Service 101: Sprint PCS gets D) The enquiries from the customer continued and on October 9 there was no clear information about the new phone to be sent and various statements are heard -- "The order just came in to the warehouse; you'll get it in three to five days"; "the phone is on back order; it'll take at least a week"; "we're shipping it via UPS; you'll get it tomorrow." (Customer Service 101: Sprint PCS gets D)
It is clear now that the element of trust between the service organization and the customer is breaking down. On October 10, the customer rings up various people and gets the UPS tracking number, but no phone. The only thing the customer receives is a return kit. Then a number of messages are exchanged between the company and the customer and Dan Wilinsky, vice president of media relations tells the customer that Sprint PCS has "8 million satisfied customers." (Customer Service 101: Sprint PCS gets D) This is an unwarranted statement as every individual thinks himself to be out of the ordinary and very important -- he is not interested in what 8 million other persons are thinking. Finally, the company sends the customer a StarTac model which is what the customer was using earlier, but the company had agreed to send him a SCP-4500. It was understood by the customer later that he had received a refurbished StarTac phones and the delay was due to the time taken by the company in processing those phones. (Customer Service 101: Sprint PCS gets D)
It is clear that the problem is solved at least for the particular instance. At the same time, the image of the company is certainly hurt and…