We take a break from our regularly scheduled programming (the nerdly chronicles) to talk about something much more important: customer service gone bad.
2 weeks ago, my husband and I made the switch from AT&T/Cingular/the new at&t to Sprint. We didn’t have any issues with at&t, we were just intrigued by Sprint’s fastest data network. And with the uber-secret $30 SERO plan, it seemed like a deal that we couldn’t pass up. Add fancy palm phones, and we were sold.
A week and a half ago, Sprint initiated our phone number port. We received a phone call, on our home phone, from Sprint, telling us that the port was complete. They gave us a phone number and asked us to call back in order to activate our phones.
So my husband did exactly that. He called the phone number that the guy from Sprint left on our answering machine. He told the nice lady that our numbers had been ported, and he wanted to activate our phones. After getting our account number, all four phone numbers (2 ported numbers and 2 temporary numbers), and our pin number, she informed him that she had no idea what he was talking about. She had no record of any number port. But would he like to be transferred to someone else who might be able to help? 7 transfers later, nobody was able to help; in fact, he had received 6 different answers from those 7 different people. There was some almost-name-calling, and then the call was over.
For one day, I was unable to receive phone calls at my number. at&t had released it, because Sprint told them to. Not a big deal, that’s the price you pay when you port a number from one carrier to another. As soon as dialing my phone number greeted me with a ‘You have reached the Sprint mail box …’, I called up Sprint to activate my phone with my newly ported number. It involved being transferred to 3 or 4 different people, but they were eventually able to get me up and running.
Once my phone was working, I asked about activating my husband’s phone. The lady who helped me activate my phone got all of my husband’s information from me; after a few minutes, she informed me that she didn’t see his ported number in the system, so she transferred me to the porting department. At the porting department, I gave them all the information again. They informed me that they didn’t see his numbers in their system – which meant that they were in the NEW system, and they would need to transfer me to the NEW system department.
Which brings up the question: why have some numbers in one system, and other numbers in another system – and NOT give your customer service reps access to BOTH SYSTEMS? A customer service rep cannot be of any help if they are completely unable to, say, service your account.
Once I was transferred to the NEW system customer service lady, she was able to tell me that my husband’s number had indeed been ported, but for some reason, it had not been linked to his account. She would escalate this issue to the technical support department – and ‘Would it be ok if this took 5 to 7 days?’ I didn’t even know how to answer that question. I mean, it was apparent that I didn’t have a choice in the matter. ‘Would it be ok?’ No, the world wasn’t going to end if it took 5 to 7 days to resolve the issue. Nobody would die. My husband is not a world-renowned emergency surgeon who can ONLY be contacted on his ported cell phone number that no longer worked. But would I be upset if it really took 5 to 7 days to resolve a seemingly minor issue? Yes! It’s not rocket science. (Problem: un-linked ported number. Solution: link the ported number.) She got a call-back number from me and assured me I would receive a call from the technical service department.
7 days and no call back later, I called Sprint. Due to my husband’s previous experience with dealing with Sprint on the phone, I was the designated Sprint caller.
The first lady I talked to informed me that my husband’s ported number belonged to Virgin Mobile. I had a brief flip-out, (“YOU GAVE THE NUMBER TO VIRGIN MOBILE?????”), and once I regained my composure, she was able to transfer me to the porting department. After a fight with the porting department lady who wanted my at&t account information in order to port my number (YOU ALREADY PORTED THE NUMBER, BUT IT’S NOT LINKED TO THE ACCOUNT, I WAS ON PAPER-FREE BILLING, AT&T CLOSED MY ACCOUNT, I CAN’T LOG IN ANYMORE TO GET MY ACCOUNT NUMBER, BESIDES I ALREADY GAVE YOU THAT INFORMATION, YOU SHOULD HAVE IT ALREADY), she discovered that the number had been ported but not linked to the account. So she transferred me to somebody else.
That guy told me he was going to escalate the issue to technical support. I told him my issue had been escalated to technical support 7 days before. He could tell I was exasperated, so he did something he ‘wasn’t supposed to do.’ He gave me the number to technical support. (877-345-7895. They know what they are doing. They rock as much as the rest of Sprint customer service sucks.)
So I called technical support. I explained my problem. He believed me. He put me on hold for awhile, while he waited on hold for some other department within Sprint. After checking back on me a few times, he informed me that it was going to be awhile, so he got a call-back number for me.
20 minutes later, he called back! And he helped me activate my husband’s phone. That issue that took 5 to 7 days to resolve? Really took one guy 30 minutes.