In most every country across the world, you will find many examples of successful businesses that continually grow because of solid execution. Within every industry, prime examples exist because companies stay true to a mission that serves its customers and the business itself. Without understanding your product and your audience, you will fail. Of course, there are also businesses that are hanging by a thread because they are failing in one or more areas but still make enough money to avoid folding.
Catch up, Sprint. Pun intended.
Recently we highlighted statistics a research group unveiled about customer satisfaction among mobile telecom providers. Among major providers, at least a quarter of customers are dissatisfied with their service. At the very bottom of all companies studied is mobile telecom giant, Sprint.
It’s not surprising – when talking to a Sprint customer about their service provider, it seems you will always here a complaint. Statistically speaking, if you have a contract with Sprint, there is a 41% chance you are not happy. That’s not good. The company image is falling apart and they know it. Because of this perception, the company is attempting to make changes but the proposed solutions are quite drastic.
A quick Google search will uncover a slew of hate pages like this one (most companies have at least one) that shows how to use Sprint’s Terms and Conditions contract against the company for the sake of canceling a contract. Perhaps it is a coincidence, but most “hate” pages all seem to cite the same issue, that is, poor reception in most areas. Also, another component to improving the business, marketing aside, is actually correcting the problem.
On Sprint’s community page, many people join together and condemn the organization for poor service. A customer service agent under the handle SprintCare attempts to reach out to some of the loudest voices in the room after several posts are made by multiple users who condemn the company for substandard service. Initially, this person blames tower upgrades for poor service but later requests information to dig deeper into several of the individuals’ problem by requesting the disgruntled to send him a private message. A presence on a company forum page is a good way to engage customers but Sprint needs more than a few moderators to make their clientele happy.
Fortunately, Sprint is making strides to improve their most deficient area: the network infrastructure. To fortify infrastructure, Sprint is attempting to initiate two different efforts that could drastically improve the capabilities of the Sprint network. Two companies may merge with Sprint as an effort the company is taking to improve their feature set and improve the reliability of the network. However, more than likely only one of these two will likely happen.
It appears the hosted VoIP provider BroadSoft may soon be absorbed into the Sprint network. BroadSoft’s VoIP server will allow Sprint to transmit voice, text messages and video over the data network. The problem with this, of course, is the fact that Sprint’s data network is very lacking in many areas of the United States in terms of coverage. For this effort to be effective, Sprint must continue to improve their LTE data network.
The less likely effort…
More interesting but less likely to become reality is Sprint’s attempt to buy out T-Mobile. The biggest obstacle for the initiative is the fact that the existing four major provider are the minimum defined by US antitrust laws. If two of these companies would merge, another must be produced.
As such the FCC is very skeptical about allowing this merger to take place. Further, the complexity of the issue makes for a logistical nightmare. For starters, Sprint is CDMA and T-Mobile is TDMA. T-Mobile receives many of the same critiques for inadequate coverage, especially outside of major service areas. Should this merger somehow occur, the company (or companies) will still have the same problems with different technologies.
If Sprint is to purchase them for the proposed $31 billion, two things must happen. Two companies must be a byproduct unless some intense lobbying is effective in swaying lawmakers to change to existing competition laws. Also, if this purchase successfully takes place, additional infrastructure must be quickly implemented to improve service. If either one of these efforts doesn’t occur, it could collapse the company(s) or at least significantly disrupt service enough to drive more of their customer base to other providers.
A failure could be catastrophic if AT&T and Verizon were to become the only two major service problems. They would become mad with power like a storybook sorcerer and there’s no telling the extent to which this would be abused. At least it would make a great underground graphic novel.