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Sprint: 2015 Customer Service Report Card

Cellphone Support Showdown 2015: Who Wins, Who Loses?
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Of the four major wireless carriers, Sprint has a reputation for less-than-stellar customer support. In the most recent J.D. Power study of wireless customer care, for example, Sprint finished last among the Big Four.

But that reputation doesn't jibe with my experience putting Sprint's customer support to the test. I tested Sprint's customer service via the carrier's online support site, its Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the phone, looking for the answers to two questions: how to get photos off my smartphone, and how to change my data plan. In each instance, I came away with the information I was looking for, delivered in a generally prompt and always courteous manner.—Mike Prospero

Online Support

Sprint recently redesigned its website, though the Support section still gets a prominent link. Click on Support, and you get separate links for questions about your account, device and Sprint service, as well as dedicated links for international support and the carrier's online community. It's a lot of information to wade through, which can make finding the answer to a specific question a hit-or-miss proposition.

For example, when I searched Sprint's support site for "How do I change my plan?" the first result offered step-by-step instructions on how to do so. Finding an answer to "How do I get photos off my iPhone?" was a little trickier, though; the answers weren't as helpful.

That's not to say that Sprint doesn't offer device-specific support. You can find your device on Sprint's device support page, and go to an overview of the phone's features, a downloadable user guide, and tutorials. It's a good resource for a general overview of your phone, but it's not as helpful for finding the answer to a specific question.

For that, there's a live-chat feature, available weekdays between 7 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. ET, and 8 a.m. to midnight on weekends. Those hours are in line with what other major carriers offer. The chat feature shows up as a small, yellow tab labeled Live Chat on the right side of the browser window.

When I took my questions to live chat, a representative named Meg C. proved to be very helpful, responding to my queries expertly after reviewing my account. When I said I was interested in changing my plan, she presented a few alternatives, such as pricing options for phones I was interested in. In all, the chat took about 10 minutes and helped me find the answers I wanted.

Social Media Support

As with Sprint's chat feature, I found it somewhat easier to get an answer to questions asked to the carrier's social media accounts. On Sprint's Facebook page, a prominent icon on the left labeled Customer Care led to Sprint's Social Care page, which offered a plethora of options for connecting to customer service.

It took 21 minutes for Sprint to respond on Facebook to the question, "How do I get photos off my iPhone?" Most important, Sprint's response was on point. Kayan, writing on behalf of the carrier, mentioned several options: connecting our phone to a PC via USB, using iCloud and iTunes, or going to sprint.com/support and looking up a tutorial.

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Responses were much more prompt on Twitter. I sent a tweet to @Sprintcare, Sprint's customer service Twitter handle, saying that I was looking to change my service plan. Within 3 minutes, I received a reply directing me to a Web page containing information about Sprint's plans.

Phone Support

Sprint's strongest support effort comes over the phone, whether that call is during business hours or late at night. Both of my calls to Sprint's customer service line gave me the answers I was looking for, from helpful, friendly Sprint reps. Sprint had the longest average call time of any carrier we tested, but given the thoroughness of the answers, it was time well spent.

I placed my first support call at around 4:30 p.m. ET on a Friday. After cycling through a few automated menus for 3 minutes — which gave me information about my current plan — I was connected with William (who said he was based somewhere in the southern United States when I asked for his location). After telling him I was interested in changing my plan to possibly save some money, he immediately mentioned Sprint's Unlimited Plan, which costs $50 for the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Because I was a current Sprint customer, he also said that, if I wanted to stay on my current plan but upgrade to the iPhone 6, I could lease the phone for just $5 per month, as I was eligible for a $15 loyalty lease credit. In all, the call lasted a pleasant 10 minutes.

Next, I called Sprint's customer service at 9:45 p.m. on a Thursday. After going through automated menus for a minute or two, I was connected to a very friendly James in the Dominican Republic. When I asked James how I could transfer photos from my iPhone to my computer, he offered several solutions, the most straightforward of which was to connect my phone to my computer and using iTunes or by using iCloud. He then asked if he could call me back at a different number so that he could walk me through the process on my phone.

After James called me back, he asked if I had a Mac or a PC. After putting me on hold for about 5 minutes, he proposed a novel — and very practical — solution. He had me download a free app called Send Anywhere to both my iPhone and my Mac. Then, he walked me through the app, which transferred files via Wi-Fi in seconds, and explained how it could be used to transfer photos, text, video and contacts from my phone to my notebook, and vice versa.

In all, the call took about 30 minutes, and I was pleasantly surprised by James' solution.

Bottom Line

Overall, I was very pleased with Sprint's customer service. The advice I received from the Web chat and both phone calls was friendly and knowledgeable. I was also pleasantly surprised by the solution for getting photos off my phone. Sprint's network coverage areas may still leave something to be desired, but customers who run into issues with the carrier should be able to resolve them easily.

Table of Contents

• Introduction
• AT&T
• Sprint
• Verizon
• T-Mobile
• Cricket
• Boost Mobile
• Virgin Mobile
• Straight Talk
• Metro PCS

Follow Michael A. Prospero @mikeprospero and on Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 0 Hide
    SamAxe , June 11, 2015 8:06 AM
    It seems odd that this review includes both the support knowledge base and the online chat representative experience together in Online Support. Online chat is another method for contacting customer support, like via Phone or Social Media. The support knowledge base is for self-help. I feel like these should be scored separately.
  • 0 Hide
    Gerry Allen , June 11, 2015 10:11 AM
    Hmm...it's odd that the best-rated cellular phone company in the US was left out -- Consumer Cellular. Consumer Reports rates their customer service far above those in this report.
  • 0 Hide
    PhilipMichaels , June 16, 2015 2:03 PM
    Quote:
    It seems odd that this review includes both the support knowledge base and the online chat representative experience together in Online Support. Online chat is another method for contacting customer support, like via Phone or Social Media. The support knowledge base is for self-help. I feel like these should be scored separately.


    It's an interesting point, and one we'll likely consider on future customer service rankings.
  • 0 Hide
    PhilipMichaels , June 16, 2015 2:10 PM
    Quote:
    Hmm...it's odd that the best-rated cellular phone company in the US was left out -- Consumer Cellular. Consumer Reports rates their customer service far above those in this report.


    It didn't make the cut this time out, as it's somewhat of a niche player at this point. We'll likely consider adding new carriers to these rankings as the market evolves.
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