Cingular… doesn’t suck?

Well. I didn’t think I’d ever have something good to say about a cell phone company. I don’t actually have my Cingular phone yet, but I did sign up over the phone for it. The Cingular sales rep actually seemed to want my business! Shocking, isn’t it? And — he actually knew things about his service that I didn’t, and even more, didn’t give me any blatantly incorrect information!

The guy also volunteered his direct extension to me, on multiple occasions. With Sprint, the best you can get is a username that another rep can e-mail (and the original one can then quickly delete), and that’s only after pressuring them hard. It’s nice to be able to talk to the original person if there’s a problem.

So, as a public service, I will now present a Sprint PCS vs. Cingular comparison in handy side-by-side format. So it could possibly be that I will never write a “Cingular sucks” story. We’ll see.

Sprint PCS Cingular
Seems greatly inconvenienced by the almost insurmountable burden of taking money from me each month Appears to actually want customers for some odd reason
Closes most calls by transferring me to a busy signal, the automated attendant, or saying they will transfer me, then hanging up. Closes most calls by giving out their direct number, with an offer to help with any future needs
Monitors calls to make sure nobody accidentally gets quality service Monitors calls to make sure they didn’t hire anyone from Sprint
Charged me $145 more than advertised for a phone Saved me $30 on my phone by giving me the sale price (the sale ended yesterday)
All employees try to remain as anonymous as possible. It is more likely to be struck twice by lightning than to speak to the same Sprint employee twice. Tell you how to reach them again before you ask.
Sign you up for services you don’t want. Only offer you services you don’t want.
Charges you to use your Sprint phone to find your current usage Current usage info is free
Employees seem to be annoyed they aren’t at home watching Jerry Springer (or perhaps the Indian equivolent) Employees seem to be annoyed when they have to put you on hold for more than 30 seconds
Average wait time to speak to the first person: 45 minutes, unless I need to speak to someone that can actually fix my problem, in which case it’s 45 minutes plus an incorrect transfer. Average wait time to speak to someone: about 60 seconds.
Number of time a customer support rep has incorrectly transferred me can only be estimated by advanced mathematics and supercomputers What’s this “transfer” thing I hear so much about?
Routinely claim to be unable to do things because “the computers are down”. Merged with a division of the company that invented UNIX
Company-owned retail stores require you to take a number, then wait in a crowded room for an hour, with no place to sit, just so you can be told that you must call Sprint Customer Service to get your problem resolved Company-owned retail stores require you to wait in an open place for about 15 minutes before they solve a problem. No need to take a number because the salepeople can remember faces.
Company-owned retail stores most frequently visited by people that haven’t paid their bill, or those that don’t want to have to call Sprint Customer Service Company-owned retail stores most frequently visited by people that want to buy a cell phone

So I don’t even have my phone yet, and I have only spoken to salespeople. But it seems like a positive sign that the Cingular sales people actually want to sell things. The Sprint people, from every department, usually wish that these pesky customer folks would just go away.

5 thoughts on “Cingular… doesn’t suck?

  1. I wouldn’t give Cingular such a high rating. I spent two weeks trying to buy an nice phone that was quad-band and had SyncML. The people in the store thought I was crazy. They refused to help me identify which phones had such options or if the country I was going to had GSM. Sure, this is stuff I COULD have done on my own, but the purpose of me going in to the store to talk to a sales rep is that s/he should already have this information or be willing to work for their pay and help me find it. This wasn’t just one sales rep. I went in a couple of times and talked to different reps and their response was all the same: check out google.

    Result: I’m in a foreign country without a phone and am upset b/c I’m paying for 3 months of service in the states which I can’t use.

  2. Hope your positive experience with Cingular lasts. I think you’ll generally find that the sales department is always more knowledgeable and friendly than the service department, no matter what company you are dealing with. I worked for AT&T Wireless in a customer call center right around the time of the Cingular takeover and from the inside Cingular seemed like a terrible company to do business with. Every “customer friendly” policy that AT&T Wireless had in place was replaced with something that cost the customer money or convienience, and emphasis in the customer support department was more on upselling services than actually helping people. It was only a summer job, but after the Cingular merger I was counting the days until I got out of there.

    1. That’s interesting; I was a contractor at PrimeCo at the time it went through a merger nobody liked that either.

      I have spoken to Cingular support (I’m about to post a more in-depth review), and although one call did last for 60 minutes, I did eventually get an answer and felt like everybody was indeed trying to be helpful. Much less upsell pressure from Cingular than Sprint as well.

  3. I’ve been with them 5 years and I agree that customer service is nice and helpful… but its more like a kiss on the neck as they rape you. The company in whole has found several ways to put burden on me… including a scam experience with the local representative and in the end of my last contract… denied giving me much options of an upgrade. I have a good friend working as customer service for them in an abroad country, and you couldn’t ask for someone sweeter to help out… still the respect for existing customers sucks. I’ve ventured to a new company… ironically Sprint. I’ve been happy since. Just depends on the situation.

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