Where Sprint Means Saunter

12 February 2005

What experience are cellular companies trying to provide in their retail stores? Do they want you to feel as though you’re at Circuit City or Best Buy? Are they imitating grocery stores? Do they really want to behave like a car dealer? Are they trying to act like the private banker?

At some point they treat you like they are the FBI, and they have the right to dig into everything about you. I’ve got news for them—you sell cellular telephones. That’s it. Quit acting as if you hold launch codes behind your counters.

I use Sprint. For national travel, I’ve been happy with Sprint. However, happiness equates to not thinking about Sprint. When I have to think about dealing with a cellular company, I get rashes. Yesterday, I went to three different Sprint stores. I got three different interpretations of whether I was eligible—as an existing customer—for certain promotions that are being run.

In every case I had a sales rep from “the floor” who needed to check with his manager to determine whether or not I was eligible. If I use the six opinions I got, I conclude the cellular companies have no clue about the old adage that it’s far cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to get a new one.

At one location I pre-registered at the front door where my name was typed into a computer and then appeared on a public monitor that was four feet across. “Now serving number 54,”—just like the tire dealer. It’s Saturday and I’ve yet to be served.

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