Sprint Hopes Less Customer Service Staff is the Right Way Forward

by Matt Klassen on February 5, 2016

layoffs-laid-off-downsize-job-cuts-100597766-primary.idgeWhen Sprint announced earlier this month that it was taking a unique approach to cost-cutting, transforming its network infrastructure by pursuing more cost-effective tower locations and deploying cheaper, more efficient small cell technologies, you just knew that the carrier’s money-saving measures would have to include more familiar means of increasing cash flow, and so with that, the company also announced that it has initiated significant layoffs, from its customer service department no less.

According to reports, Sprint has cut more than 2500 jobs, including axing five vice presidents, and the vast majority of those jobs, some 2000, have been cut from the company’s customer care centre (who needs customer care anyway?).

Now we’ve known for a few years now that Sprint has been bleeding money, a problem made worse by the fact that it has long been playing catch-up in the nationwide network race. The company is now in the midst of a multi-year turnaround strategy, one that will see Sprint radically alter how it does business, and apparently part of that new strategy is having less people to deal with customers…great idea.

All this comes as part of Sprint’s threefold approach to cost savings, finding ways to streamline its network expenses, its labour costs, and its information technology and administrative expenses. We’ve already seen its plans for the first, now here we have its plans for the second.

“We are in the process of significantly taking costs out of the business so the transformation of the company will be sustainable for the long term,” a statement from Sprint said. “Unfortunately, as we’ve said over the past several months, the effort to reduce our costs would impact all areas of our business, including jobs.”

Meanwhile, the company sees customer care moving in a different as well, meaning less retail customer service staff will be needed. The entire customer service industry “is moving toward more of a self-serve and digital customer model,” the statement said. “In the future, we anticipate that more of our customers will use this model to solve their basic needs, driving fewer calls to our customer care facilities.”

So there you have it, improve operations by automating customer service (something I’m sure people will love), the one channel that many people still hope will result in connecting with an actual human being to solve their actual problems. But I suppose that’s no real surprise, given that Sprint has languished at or near the bottom of customer satisfaction surveys for some time now. No better to improve your poor customer service than to fire all those who seemingly can’t do their jobs and replace them with robots (sigh, I wish that was sarcastic).

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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