At the turn of the year Sprint warned that the company was going to start making staffing changes in an effort to cut costs. Today, we’re learning how that’s going to go down. The company told CNET recently that it’s now closing 55 stores, 150 repair/service centers and laying off as many as 330 employees.
It’s not blindly closing some shops down, however. CNET said that the stores are among its “worst-performing” outlets, which means they weren’t really contributing to the success of the business and were likely more of a ding on its balance sheet. Meanwhile, those losing jobs include 330 of the carrier’s tech consultants, who reportedly work on service and repairs on phones. That may cause an adverse effect on the company’s ability to maintain customer service standards – an area it can arguably improve in. A recent report in customer care from J.D. Power and Associates placed Sprint at the bottom of the rung among top U.S. wireless carriers in that category.
CNET said that if a customer walks into a store that doesn’t have a tech consultant on hand who can repair a phone, he or she will be told to visit another location that’s “within a 45 minute drive.” That’s not news any customer wants to hear – a one-and-a-half hour round trip for a phone repair isn’t exactly something you can do on your lunch break.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, whose firm has a majority holding in Sprint, said recently that he’s trying to fix a “loser” mentality in Sprint. Cutting costs and bringing the company back to profitability is certainly a start. In Q4, Sprint reported a $1 billion loss, and that’s not going to be sustainable as it also tries to spend money building a faster and more competitive 4G LTE network.