As many readers know Martin Geddes and I both have had our share of issues with T-Mobile on different sides of the Atlantic, so it's somewhat ironic that the exact opposite type of customer service experience occurred with his former employers, Sprint in my life.
Over the past few months I've flown through airports in Milwaukee and Oakland and found it impossible to log on to Sprint's WiFi service using my Macintosh MacBook via either roaming service I have access to, Boingo and AT&T/Cingular. In essence there was an authentication issue caused by some software that needed to be updated, but calls to Sprint or the roaming partners support desk originally yielded a reply that I needed to log on using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, not one of the browsers that works on the MacBook, since Microsoft stopped supporting, or even having IE available for the Intel line of Mac laptops. Given I only was flying through Oakland now and then when I first detected the problem I simply reported it to Boingo who in turn passed it on to Sprint. But as my frequency of travel in and out of Oakland increased it became apparent that despite the original report, some months back, the problem persisted.
Undaunted, and being the journalist that I am, I took my concerns to the PR team at Sprint and have seen nothing but the utmost professionalism by their folks, and by the product manager who runs the WiFi project. They sincerely took my concerns to heart and within a few days actually got back to me with a status report and informed my of the steps that are being taken to assure me that Mac users will be able to roam and log on to their WiFi their networks. This is exactly the PR and Consumer Relations should be handled. Granted it took a call to the PR team, but nonetheless when I compare the reaction that Martin and I have receive from T-Mobile after saying "I'm media"--they say they can't talk to you if you are going to report the way things are handled, or record the call, one has to realize that Sprint is really getting things right.
Going one step farther, as an early adopter and paying customer of Sprint's EVDO-Rev. A mobile broadband, when I reported some dead spots at the Oakland Airport Sprint sent their team out to check, and low and behold, called me back to thank me, and confirmed that the access in some parts of the airport that I reported as slow or non-existant were indeed as reported (dropping down to 1xRTT not EvDO or Rev A.) and confirmed that they had been brought back to where they should be and that speeds are now back to normal.
This is not only the right way of doing things, it's the only way of doing things in the digital age with users who need to have working right all the time.
As a consumer, as media, as road warrior, like many others I decide to pay for things that allow me to be connected when I need to be. To run into issues that don't need to be there, and which often times get placed into a maze of corporate finger pointing frustrates the best of us. In this case the PR team and Product Management team at Sprint made sure that didn't happen and took all the right steps to make sure the consumer/user issues were not only addressed, but corrected when in other organizations the situation would have yielded with the buck being passed elsewhere (i.e. the authentication server supplier or the roaming providers.)
I'm elated that Sprint has this kind of respect for the consumer, and the media. To the team there that has "the right stuff," I applaud you.
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