Today I had one of the absolute worst experiences with customer service that I have ever had.
When I called Sprint to activate my spiffy new phone, I made sure with the representative that I spoke to that I could take my new phone and my old phone up to a Sprint store and have them switch over my phone book, free of charge. I was assured that of course, any Sprint representative would do such a thing for me.
A few months ago, a Sprint store opened up here in Newport. I got all excited and at the same time a little frustrated because when we moved here a year ago, we’d had to drive all the way up to Warwick to get new phones because that was the nearest Sprint store. But now we had one right here in town! We only had to drive a few minutes to get our phones taken care of.
Or so I thought.
As soon as we walked into the store, I knew we were in trouble. There was a guy in the back room, working on a cell phone. It took him a few moments to even acknowledge our presence. As he walked out into the sales room, I noticed his outfit. Sure, he was wearing a Sprint polo shirt — but he was also wearing sweatpants on which he’d spilled paint.
I have never seen a Sprint representative look so sloppy before.
Finally the sales guy asked us what we wanted. Kurt said that he wanted to get the phone books transferred from our old phones to our new — and immediately the guy asked us where we’d bought our phones. Um, from Sprint?? Not from his store, however. And since we didn’t buy the phones from his store, he was going to charge us $15 each to transfer our phone books.
Kurt and I about fell over each other when we learned that. What happened to it being free like the Sprint rep on the phone had assured us??
Here’s the problem — the new store in Newport isn’t a Sprint store. It’s simply a private retailer who sells Sprint phones. There are Sprint logos splashed all over the store, and it’s done in the official Sprint yellow, but it’s not an official store. Because of this, they are free to charge us for services provided by the official stores for no charge.
You know, that wasn’t even the worst thing. I understand that franchises are free to do things differently from other stores in the franchise. It was frustrating that this store couldn’t do what we wanted it to, but sometimes that’s life.
What made all of this worse was the surly attitude of the sales guy at the Sprint store. He wasn’t even a teen, from whom you would almost expect that kind of behavior. As soon as he had asked us where we had bought our phones, he walked back to the back room and retrieved his water. I guess it was necessary for him to have his water by his side right then, while we were mid-sentence in answering his question.
Having him explain the difference between his privately owned Sprint store and a corporate store seemed to cause him a lot of pain because he just got angrier and angrier at us. I just listened as Kurt explained that we were told that a Sprint store could do such a thing for us, and that we weren’t told that there was any kind of difference between the Sprint stores.
The whole time, the sales guy was looking at something on his computer. Finally Kurt asked what he was doing, thinking perhaps he was looking up another Sprint store for us, or checking on whether he could give us a deal or some such. The guy snapped at him, “I’m checking my email!!! Why are you all up in my business???”
Kurt tends to be pretty even-keeled, but this was too much for him. He immediately replied with, “You’re checking your email?? You have customers in the store that you’re supposed to be providing a service to! Check your email later!!”
He grabbed up Mary Ellen’s car seat, and I hustled Grace out the door. The whole time, Kurt is still chastising this guy for his crappy customer service and attitude, and assuring him that Sprint will hear of this. We also got his name, and Kurt plans on contacting his manager to inform him/her of the horrible way in which we were treated.
We had to stop by Staples on our way home, and Kurt called Sprint while I shopped around the store. Sprint was floored that we had been treated so shabbily, and they were also appalled to hear that the sales guy was going to charge us $15 to transfer the phone book. At non-corporate Sprint stores, it’s supposed to be only $5.
You know, I have worked customer service. I have been screamed at and shouted out and chastised and bullied. I know that customer service reps are treated horribly because most customers don’t see them as real people. But because of my experience, I would never, ever treat a customer service rep that badly. For me to be treated that horribly by a rep… We did nothing to deserve it.
I am still in shock about it.
But thankfully, I saw something today that totally turned my mood around!!!
That, my dear friends, is a beautiful sight. A Trader Joe’s (a grocery store featuring natural and organic products) is being built in Warwick, just thirty miles north of our home. This means that I will no longer have to drive 70+ miles to Hyannis, Massachusetts, to get my few Trader Joe’s necessities.
I was so excited by this sign that I squealed!! YAY Trader Joe’s!!!