Having upgraded my phone today I consider myself a newly minted expert in the art of cell phone upgrading – especially a Sprint upgrade. Here is my easy nine step plan for performing a Sprint phone upgrade:
- Be a long standing customer (over 5 years is preferred) and be sure that you always pay your bills on time and have too many minutes in your plan, to be sure they are making a good margin on you.
- First go to their website, http://www.sprintpcs.com because of course that would be a good place to start for something as simple as a phone upgrade, particularly when you have had the same phone for 5 years (see step 1). Here you will click on the very convenient option for checking whether your phone is eligible for a discounted upgrade and you will find your are in fact eligible, hurrah. It suggests you visit your friendly local Sprint store to get said upgrade, but you want to take care of it this morning and you are stuck at home so you go back to the web store.
- After seeing the web store you will note that new customers can get the same phone you wanted to upgrade to for free, after instant savings and web savings. Plus no shipping. Cool. But after looking around you’ll realize you can only buy new phones on the website, you can’t upgrade, so you go to the next step.
- Being a progressive technology professional you use Skype (free Skypeout until the end of the year!) to call the Sprint customer service line. After spending 2 minutes completing various prompts you will get hung up on. Try it again to verify the same thing happens. Then try again on a landline to once again verify the calls are just dumping out the backend.
- Being a progressive technology professional you notice they have online chat so you will try that. Nobody will answer. Ah, you notice that their hours of operation are posted and they aren’t open until 9:00 CST. Well that explains the calls just being hung up – nobody there to answer them. Very nice.
- So now you webchat again during working hours and you learn that while you are in fact chatting with a customer service rep they can only help you with tasks that you can accomplish on the web, and upgrading a phone isn’t one of those tasks, so they can’t help. You need to call customer service.
- So you call customer service, and you are pleased to see that now that they are open the calls don’t just hang up they actually get answered. By someone who tells you she can absolutely help you upgrade your phone. Here is what we need to do – I will sell you a phone at full price, including tax, and then you call another person to extend the contract and they will give you your money back. Isn’t that convenient?
- At this point you ask whether it makes sense that as a long standing customer (see step 1) it is very difficult for you to do a simple task like upgrade your phone, whereas if you were a new customer you could get it all taken care of by now. You will receive no apology and when you complain about this again you will be told goodbye.
- So here is how you get your phone upgraded at Sprint. You call customer service again but this time you tell them to cancel your service as you are moving to Verizon. At this point you will get a very helpful person (Thanks Beth!) who will not only give you the phone upgrade for free, no shipping, no tax, she’ll help you optimize your minute plan, she’ll make sure the phone gets there in 2 days, she’ll clean up your account record of all the old bad data they have in there and she will be a very friendly and empowered customer service professional who will really make you feel good about doing business with Sprint.
Or, you could just skip to step nine. That’s what I’ll do next time.