Sprint Nextel to cut 4,000 jobs, close 8-percent of retail stores as subscribers defect in droves

“Sprint Nextel Corp. said Friday it would eliminate 4,000 jobs and close 8% of company-owned retail stores amid the loss of more key customers to rivals,” Jeffry Bartash reports for MarketWatch.

“The company has been hurt by a reliance on credit-risky subscribers, mediocre customer service and a less attractive roster of handsets compared to competitors such as AT&T Inc., the exclusive provider of the iPhone,” Bartash reports.

“In the fourth quarter, Sprint lost 109,000 subscribers overall and 683,000 postpaid customers — even larger than Wall Street analysts expected. Postpaid customers sign up for annual plans and pay at the end of each month. They are considered the most valuable in the industry,” Bartash reports.

“The steep loss in postpaid subscribers unsettled investors. Sprint (S: 8.59, -2.99, -25.8%) shares sank more than 18% to $9.40 in recent trades,” Bartash reports. “Sprint’s losses in that category total more than 1.71 million over the past six quarters. Most of those postpaid customers have flocked to rivals such as AT&T… Pressured by subscriber defections, Sprint said it would cut 4,000 jobs from its workforce of 60,000, just one year after the company eliminated 5,000 positions. Sprint also said it would close 125 of its 1,400 company-owned retail stores.”

“Sprint ended 2007 with 53.8 million wireless customers, barely higher than the 53.1 million it served at the end of 2006. AT&T and Verizon, by contract, added millions of new customers,” Bartash reports. “Market leader AT&T, for instance, gained a net 4.7 million mobile customers through the first three quarters of 2007 to 65.7 million… What’s worse, the number of postpaid subscribers served by Sprint fell by 1 million in 2007 to 40.8 million.”

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Drew_Ill” for the heads up.]

Bloodbath.

Our hearts go out to those Sprint employees who are affected. May you quickly find work at a company that does (or works with one that does) exciting, innovative, and original things, for a change. It’s unfortunate that those shortsighted few who misled you to this day will someday soon ride comfortably to earth on their giant golden parachutes.

37 Comments

  1. Put over four hours into tracking down a $650 credit earlier this week (from Bank of America). Spanned the globe talking to every continent, enduring “barrier” accents, and hostile handoffs.

    When you encounter excellent customer service these days, you really know it.

    I don’t feel sorry for Sprint. Their poor service is renowned.

  2. Are you paying attention? CUSTOMER SERVICE!

    In the fast paced, instant gratification, no-loyalty, I’m outta here world, this could happen to you.

    In spite of all the glitz and marketing skill, there is no substitute for excellence in customer care.

    It could happen to you and your self-absorbed, arrogant attitude is your Achilles Heel my friend.

  3. I have a sprint phone and haven’t had any problems, well other than customer service.. but the plan / cost / reception is great… But there are way too many sprint stores in the chicago area.. on north ave theres one about every mile…. too many…

    MW: between… sprint is stuck between a rock and an iphone…

  4. Sprint has missed out on two cycles of the hottest selling phones in America, back to back. First the Razr and now the iPhone.

    I remember Verizon got their version of the Razr a year after the Cingular (AT&T;) model came out when it was still hot, then it went to Sprint a year AFTER that just as people stopped caring. In the meantime they were forced to sell Razr knockoffs that never quite did it, namely from Samsung.

    Now they’ve got an iPhone knockoff from Samsung coming later this year.

  5. Customer service got so bad when companies decided that it was low priority, so they made it low pay. Two things you do not get from low paid employees:

    1. Enthusiasm for their jobs.

    2. Knowledge of their products and services.

    The old saying that you get what you pay for applies to companies too. Companies are paying for lousy customer service reps, and that’s what they’re getting.

  6. Those 4,000 will be rehired soon. Remember that Sprint offers Windows Mobile based phones and I would guess more are on the way. Should turn things right around.

    If you have a Windows machine at home it would be fantastic to have a Windows Mobile phone to compliment your beautiful computer. Consumers are well aware of this and therefore Microsoft’s massive installed base should help Sprint. They just need to get more of those killer Windows Mobile phones.

    Your potential. Our passion.™

  7. Long lines at the Genius Bar. Long hold times with Apple Care.

    Very same scene at the Sprint store and at their so-called ‘customer service’ call center.

    Apple is especially valnerable with the trends lately to follow the Dell model of speeding up assembly lines, grabbing parts from the cheapest sources around the world, and rushing shipments to keep up with growing demand. Solution: get it right first, then ship it. Absolutely no substitute has ever been found for true quality. Apple used to have it and now it’s different.

  8. True story. Dropped phone off for repair the other day. Told agent, if you can replace part for $35, do it, if it is $55, do it, then call me. “No problem.” They say. Next day, no call. I call up. ‘”t’s the $55.” They say. Do it, then, I tell them, irritated it hasn’t already been done as I instructed. “Need payment.” Here’s my credit card #, I say. “No, you need to come in.” Why? “Don’t take credit card payments over the phone.” Are you kidding me? OK, bill my account. “Your name isn’t the contact name”. (Well, I work for a real estate company and the name was for an old employee no longer employed there. So I ask how to fix it. “Call Sprint.” Well who am I talking to in the first place? Actually get a store manager who tells me the same thing. I say forget it, my contract is up in February anyway.

    Brutal.

  9. @Andy in AK: You nailed it. I’ve done customer service work myself and it has now fallen to the lowest common denominator employee to do.

    That applies here in the U.S. and to wherever in the world corporate America decides to farm the work out to. The key is not paying good money for intelligent, motivated people to directly interact with customers that have questions and problems, the key is paying them crap and expecting excellence.

    Not only do you get what you pay for, you get what you deserve.

    Peace.
    Olmecmystic ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

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