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Sprint forces shutdown of third party call center - 300 layoffs


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"But sources tell 9News because Sprint did not renew their contract with the call center, Convergys is shutting down leaving hundreds looking for a job in a fragile economy."

 

http://www.wafb.com/story/17267559/-convergys-to-lay-off-hundreds-of-br-call-center-workers

 

Sprint was already doing terrible with customer penetration in this area to begin with. There's another 300 people spreading the news of joy about Sprint ;)

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The contract was not renewed because that call center had some of the worst stats in the company.

 

So the calls will go to a center that performs well who will then hire more agents.

 

IOW, the did it to themselves.

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The contract was not renewed because that call center had some of the worst stats in the company.

 

So the calls will go to a center that performs well who will then hire more agents.

 

IOW, the did it to themselves.

 

That's what I heard as well.

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Hopefully, there will be no massive layoffs like T-Mobile. It also happened to Clearwire, and now they are outsourcing overseas which we don't want that to happen to wireless companies like Sprint.

 

Sprint has been outsourcing some of their call centers for a while now actually.

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True. And has brought many back inhouse since the lousy customer support era.

 

Good to hear they are bring customer service in house. Hopefully they will do that completely.

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They have brought back all they are going to. About 50% according to my wild guess.

 

Oh. :( It would be better if it was 100%, but I'm just a small voice in a sea of Sprint shareholders.

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Oh. :( It would be better if it was 100%, but I'm just a small voice in a sea of Sprint shareholders.

 

It would be better to have 100%, but they need someone to tell people to take the battery out for 30 seconds and start the phone back up, I mean, that couldn't be in place of hold music as people were waiting for the CSR... LOL it really annoys me when you give the outsourced CSR a really technical description of the problem and because they don't see it in the index of their CSR handbook, the good old default "take the battery out"

 

"One of your cell phone towers fell on my house and now I don't have service."

"Uh, Sir, please take the battery out of your phone and wait 30 seconds to put it back in. Then start it up and tell me when it is back on."

"OK, it is back on."

"Is your problem with service fixed?"

"No the tower is still on my house and I still don't have service because your tower fell on my house."

"Um, hold on" (talks to the manager) "My manager says that there might be a problem with your handset."

"No, as I said, there is a tower that fell on my house."

"I'm going to transfer you to technical support for your handset problem."

 

Call a US CSR,

"One of your cell phone towers fell on my house and now I don't have service."

"I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience. I am putting in a trouble ticket at your address and technicians will be dispatched to fix the problem."

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It would be better to have 100%, but they need someone to tell people to take the battery out for 30 seconds and start the phone back up, I mean, that couldn't be in place of hold music as people were waiting for the CSR... LOL it really annoys me when you give the outsourced CSR a really technical description of the problem and because they don't see it in the index of their CSR handbook, the good old default "take the battery out"

 

"One of your cell phone towers fell on my house and now I don't have service."

"Uh, Sir, please take the battery out of your phone and wait 30 seconds to put it back in. Then start it up and tell me when it is back on."

"OK, it is back on."

"Is your problem with service fixed?"

"No the tower is still on my house and I still don't have service because your tower fell on my house."

"Um, hold on" (talks to the manager) "My manager says that there might be a problem with your handset."

"No, as I said, there is a tower that fell on my house."

"I'm going to transfer you to technical support for your handset problem."

 

Call a US CSR,

"One of your cell phone towers fell on my house and now I don't have service."

"I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience. I am putting in a trouble ticket at your address and technicians will be dispatched to fix the problem."

 

I don't like people who are hired to give 'programmed responses'. I want a person who cares because they know that the customer is important and needs to be helped correctly. Even some customer service people in the US that aren't employed by Sprint can be really stupid too. And it's a shame.

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People want pros but don't want to pay what that would cost. You have to have less expensive dumbasses to talk to the 80% of the callers who are also dumbasses. The 20% of intelligent callers must wade through the front lines and hope they get one of the 20% of techs that are savvy. Doesn't happen often.

 

Want a sporting chance at Tier 2? Call the Airave support line. That gets Mobile Broadband Support who are generally better than other lines of business.

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People want pros but don't want to pay what that would cost. You have to have less expensive dumbasses to talk to the 80% of the callers who are also dumbasses. The 20% of intelligent callers must wade through the front lines and hope they get one of the 20% of techs that are savvy. Doesn't happen often.

 

Want a sporting chance at Tier 2? Call the Airave support line. That gets Mobile Broadband Support who are generally better than other lines of business.

 

Definitely, there are a lot of dumbasses out there that can be helped by dumbass CSRs. Not everyone has advanced knowledge and those bufoons can certainly help them out.

 

The worst tech support I ever had was with Roku and some guy with a Pakistani accent. I told him that I had already done troubleshooting and he walked me through it step by painful step, for hours... Overall, I spent at least 6 hours between setting up the puck, figuring out the Wi-Fi was bad, calling customer service, performing every step in their troubleshooting guide. Then after all that, he told me that the Wi-Fi was bad and he was sending me a replacement. I was like, "don't bother, send me a return shipping label."

 

Oh and also, he wanted me to run Cat 5 from the router to the puck. Um, no. I bought a Wi-Fi model and I will be damned if I am going to run cat 5 through my house to use a Wi-Fi Roku.

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Definitely, there are a lot of dumbasses out there that can be helped by dumbass CSRs. Not everyone has advanced knowledge and those bufoons can certainly help them out.

 

The worst tech support I ever had was with Roku and some guy with a Pakistani accent. I told him that I had already done troubleshooting and he walked me through it step by painful step, for hours... Overall, I spent at least 6 hours between setting up the puck, figuring out the Wi-Fi was bad, calling customer service, performing every step in their troubleshooting guide. Then after all that, he told me that the Wi-Fi was bad and he was sending me a replacement. I was like, "don't bother, send me a return shipping label."

 

Oh and also, he wanted me to run Cat 5 from the router to the puck. Um, no. I bought a Wi-Fi model and I will be damned if I am going to run cat 5 through my house to use a Wi-Fi Roku.

 

Now that is the definition of a stupid CSR.

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I'm actually glad that Sprint is willing to stand up to centers that aren't meeting their metrics or quality points and can them. I'm sure they can easily absorb 300 positions in other centers.

 

"Servicing" is a big industry in our country and obviously others ...... its something that just about every company in America experiences hiccups with at one time or another and sporadically less satisfying experiences on the customer's behalf is all but guaranteed, at some point or another over years of time.

 

The last 5 years of my life have been spent in a call center. I am an Asset Manager, responsible for the sale and disposition of bank owned property. The large semi-national bank I work for takes customer service -very- seriously and has the rankings and awards to flaunt. While my work could be done outside a call center, my department was moved there due to consolidation. My bank utilizes 100% US customer call centers during the daytime hours and relegates some very basic assistance to a 3rd party company overseas, after hours. My point is- just being here in the US isn't the "end all" answer to our issues.

There are a few things that challenge operations as a whole:

1)Pay. No company is going to be able to pay a huge premium over "minimum wage" for its front line workers and really not mid -tier either. The pay grade naturally relegates the "mean" type of worker you're going to get: Young adults (often college students or recent grads), high school only, working moms, late in lifers with no other options, etc.

2) Average intelligence/effort. This is a result of item #1. No matter how much training you give them, no matter how well their intent, their pay grade and "hourly" wages ensure that their effort and average intelligence run hand in hand. Its hard to ask an employee to give 150% when you pay them $8.50 an hour.

3) Changes/Complexity/Division: Our business , policies, and procedures change daily. It takes time for changes in policies or procedures to really sink into the entire work force. Not only that, but our operations are split into no less than 7 massive departments, all functioning independent of one another with different managerial hierarchies, separated in distance and some spread across states. I worked in collections and escalation resolution before I handled foreclosed real estate. All my departmental coworkers are of similar experience. Often, we are contacted by neighboring departments for advice /counseling on odd/unusual/rare problems We've all typically seen more "crazy" than the average minimum wagers talking to customers. The point is, those with the most experience and tenure and intelligence will never be the front line employees... if we weren't all salaried and paid much better, we'd have joined management or left the company by now.

4) Software. Customers have no idea how very difficult to use much of our software is... or just unreliable. Its a result of years of mergers and acquisitions. Customers often expect that we are sitting in front of a screen that is as simple as what they see when they're at McDonalds and they look at the touch screen being used to order their big mac. We're not. Its training intensive. After 5 years, I still learn things about these systems that I didn't previously know. Employees with less than a year of experience are usually working off of notes or "coaching" sheets they were given on how to accomplish things in the systems, not their memory. And i'm not talking about "taking a payment" or common mundane things.

 

For sprint, I'm sure everyone knows how to swap an ESN. But the unusual items, I think you run into "I don't know" with many CSR's because that simply isn't the majority of the calls they receive. The majority of the calls many receive , I would think , are just billing, service disconnects, complaining about coverage or stores, and dumbass confusion. "My battery don't last long enough"... In point, issues that they can only apologize for, counsel the customer a bit, and send them on their way. I don't envy any sprint employees!

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It would be better to have 100%' date=' but they need someone to tell people to take the battery out for 30 seconds and start the phone back up, I mean, that couldn't be in place of hold music as people were waiting for the CSR... LOL it really annoys me when you give the outsourced CSR a really technical description of the problem and because they don't see it in the index of their CSR handbook, the good old default "take the battery out"

 

"One of your cell phone towers fell on my house and now I don't have service."

"Uh, Sir, please take the battery out of your phone and wait 30 seconds to put it back in. Then start it up and tell me when it is back on."

"OK, it is back on."

"Is your problem with service fixed?"

"No the tower is still on my house and I still don't have service because your tower fell on my house."

"Um, hold on" (talks to the manager) "My manager says that there might be a problem with your handset."

"No, as I said, there is a tower that fell on my house."

"I'm going to transfer you to technical support for your handset problem."

 

Call a US CSR,

"One of your cell phone towers fell on my house and now I don't have service."

"I am extremely sorry for the inconvenience. I am putting in a trouble ticket at your address and technicians will be dispatched to fix the problem."[/quote']

 

I nearly choked on my coffee when I read this in bed this morning. My wife came running in and I read it to her in skit format. I even did my best Indian phone bank accent.

 

Thanks for making my Saturday morning that much more entertaining.

 

Robert - Posted from my E4GT with ICS using Forum Runner

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@JeffDTD Thanks for the insight!

 

I wish Sprint and other companies would have 2 different customer service numbers. 1 for people that want to talk to a person, rather than go through a "press 1 for technical support, press 2 for device support" another for people who would gladly press a few numbers and wait longer to talk to someone in exchange for being connected to someone who is at least in the right department and hopefully has experience with the same problem.

 

I often wonder how I would fare in the civilian sector. I have memorized (or at least familiar with) so many Army regulations that I am pretty much the tier 2 customer service for any Army questions. It is good and bad, because if I am trying to do something that requires my full attention, I often get interrupted with questions. On the other hand, I get to act like the smart guy. Just the other day I had to set the record straight on a medal that was changed on a policy letter but nobody bothered to update the regulation. (Things get stuck in my head like this... I clean up on trivia games)

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Jeff, you are spot on.

 

A call center position is a very tough job that is barely above McDonald's in pay. I was lucky to negotiate about $10K more per year than my peers because of my background and education but it is still less than half of what I made in IT before my job was outsourced and much more stressful.

 

About a third of my annual income last year was overtime. If overtime is not available, as it is not now, I cannot meet my financial obligations and begin drawing down savings. When overtime is available, I am working at least 60 hours a week to restore those savings. I know many reading this probably work 50-60 hours regularly in their current positions (as I did in IT), but please believe that there is a chasm of difference between taking calls from people with problems for 60 hours and pretty much any other office job... especially the salaried IT job I had.

 

When I worked in IT, I would average over 50 hours a week, sometimes doing work in the middle of the night to not disrupt operations. But I decided when and what I worked on to meet the needs of the business.

 

In the call center, our time is measured to the second from the moment we log in. In addition to averaging 10-11 minutes per call, we are allowed 1% in "Idle" time... meaning time not available to take a call. For a 7.5-hour shift, that is 4.5 minutes. Oh, and idle is only allowed to be used if you need to go to the bathroom outside of the two of the scheduled 15-minute breaks. I said "scheduled" because we are not only measured on how much time is spent on scheduled events like breaks but also on how close to the scheduled time we take them. You are not allowed to just take that break whenever you want. You need to be within 5 minutes of the scheduled time or it also gets logged in yet another metric.

 

In the call center the work comes to us steadily like an assembly line, except that you do not know which part of the assembly you will be doing from moment to moment but nevertheless expected to know how to put each part on correctly. In addition, your supervisor is very likely watching remotely and taking notes and your entire day is recorded for regular reviews later... both of which can result in a "corrective action", not just for violating some policy but also for just being incorrect. Unlike my IT job, there is very little room to hide a mistake.

 

Who the hell would want a job like this? Well, those that cannot do better for whatever reason... the young, the stupid, and apparently those of us with more brains than social intelligence. The young tend to not last because they get a better job and the stupid get fired. The best reps I have met are extremely intelligent but do not "fit in" -- either because of appearance or social skills. They tend to last, fortunate for Sprint and unfortunate for them.

 

But having experienced unemployment myself, working in a call center is wonderful (as long as I regularly think back to those harrowing times).

 

Not sure why I went off on this.... perhaps I need a blog in my life.

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Doesn't sound fun. Over the years, I have come to really respect customer service reps. It's not their fault I am having problems, and it is not completely their fault they work for whatever company I am calling about. Sometimes I have to escalate, in order to get them to transfer me or cooperate, but I normally remain as calm and respectful as possible because I know that their job is stressful. I also give them the opportunity to chit chat, since as you said, you get 4.5 minutes of idle time. I figure if I can crack a few jokes while I am on the line and they are receptive, they could use a little decompress time.

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@JeffDTD Thanks for the insight!

 

I wish Sprint and other companies would have 2 different customer service numbers. 1 for people that want to talk to a person, rather than go through a "press 1 for technical support, press 2 for device support" another for people who would gladly press a few numbers and wait longer to talk to someone in exchange for being connected to someone who is at least in the right department and hopefully has experience with the same problem.

 

 

I just call that special sprint number that someone picks up right away. I RARELY call and when I do it is because I am having a particularly bad issue.

 

Last time I called it was because a jerk store employee refused to sell me a epic 4g touch without adding a line (he wanted his $$$ from opening a new line). Had to report him. He totally lied to me saying he was not able to sell me a phone off contract - really ticked me off.

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<p>

I just call that special sprint number that someone picks up right away. I RARELY call and when I do it is because I am having a particularly bad issue.

 

Last time I called it was because a jerk store employee refused to sell me a epic 4g touch without adding a line (he wanted his $$$ from opening a new line). Had to report him. He totally lied to me saying he was not able to sell me a phone off contract - really ticked me off.

 

http://youtu.be/kpNPw4H6_tU

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