Fair warning: this post is pure rant.
I have a Sprint PCS phone that I use as my primary, and only, home phone line. There are tons of reasons why I like this arrangement, which I won't go into here, but I've been a loyal, pay-on-time Sprint customer for several years now. Which is why it was maddeningly frustrating to go to make a call today and get a note that my account had been shut off because I was over my spending limit.
I went to Sprint's website to see if I could find out how I'd used so many minutes, which they tout as the place where you can do everything you want with your account, only to find that my recent billing/usage information (including the overages) weren't available in detail on their site yet.
"Fine, I'm sure this is a misunderstanding," I think, "I'll just go ahead and pay to get service turned back on, and work out the details later". But of course it's not that easy! I make a credit card payment through their automated system, only to find out that it can take some indeterminate amount of time (up to 12 hours, said one service rep.) for that payment to apply to my account.
And this time passes as my family drives out of town, forgetting a few things that I had tried to call them about right as they left, when I got the "welcome to Sprint PCS..." warning.
So, that's two cases where different, critical parts of the Sprint PCS billing and account management system are not in sync, and where it will take some unknown amount of time for the data to be shuffled from one place to another. In my humble opinion, if you're providing an important service, which to many people is considered "mission critical", and you spend millions of dollars advertising it as a reliable, user-friendly thing, and you're going to shut that service off automatically because of the state of a certain data set, you damn well better be updating that data set on a VERY regular basis, so that as soon as it changes again, you restore the service. I can just picture it now: there's some tab-delimited export file sitting on the payments server, waiting for a cron job to fire up 11 hours from now that will transfer it to the accounts server, bringing my account back into good standing (even though, from my perspective, it already is). How much grief would they save by fixing that lapse? The Sprint service reps. I just shared these thoughts with on the phone would probably at least have appreciated it.
One Sprint. Many Solutions. Many Servers. Much waiting. Much frustration. Still not focused on the customer.