Customer Service Automation Claims 2,500 Call Center Jobs at Sprint

Instead of outsourcing call center work, Sprint is closing facilities and deploying self-help apps for basic tasks like bill inquiries and payments.

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Sprint Corp has removed as many as 2,500 call center jobs, as the fourth-largest U.S. telecom carrier is increasingly deploying self-help apps to answers customer queries. This automation of customer service has led the company to shut down four call callers and decrease headcount in two other centers as it looks to cut costs.

This is another new round of layoffs for the Overland Park, Kansas-based operator that is hoping to save $2.5 billion.  Last week, it notified employees at the six customer service centers that it would be closing those locations or reducing the staff there, according to AP.

Many thought Sprint would outsource its call centers to third-party providers. But the company spokesperson has confirmed in conversation with various news media that it would encourage customers to use its “Sprint Zone app” for basic tasks like bill inquiries, payments, and checking their device-upgrade or phone-lease status.

According to comments from the company executives published by various media outlets, many telecom subscribers are already using online facilities to address their questions and needs. “Moreover, the decision was made in response to the trend, which hinted that subscribers preferred seeking solutions online for all their customer-care queries and needs,” reported Tech News Today.

The call centers that have been shut down are located in Texas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas, while the job cuts were experienced in call centers in Colorado and Overland Park.  Last year, the operator said it was looking for cheaper locations to cut labor cost.

In October 2014, the company launched a round of layoffs that shed about 1,700 jobs. A month later it announced plans to cut another 2,000 jobs.

Many analysts predict that artificial intelligence might sound the death-knell for the call center industry over the coming decade. And Sprint’s announcement is just further evidence that the guillotine of automation is looming.

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