T-Mobile Layoffs Mean 1,900 Fewer Call Center Reps To Answer Your Complaints

Struggling T-Mobile continues to limp along in fourth place among U.S. wireless carriers, announcing today that they’re making some major restructuring measures to try to slash costs. The company will be eliminating an overall 1,900 call center positions, reducing call centers from 24 to 17 over the next three months. So good luck trying to get through to a rep with your next complaint.

CNNMoney says 3,300 positions will be cut in the shutdown of call centers, but that the remaining centers will then hire a total of 1,400 workers. T-Mobile says they’ll try to provide relocation assistance for those affected by the layoffs. More changes will come before July to “optimize operations.”

“These are not easy steps to take, but they are necessary to realize efficiency in order to invest for growth,” Philipp Humm, CEO of T-Mobile USA, said in a prepared statement. He didn’t mention whether that saccharine sweet, smug girl in the pink dress will finally stop acting holier-than-thou in the company’s commercials, however.

T-Mobile is leaking customers at a rapid pace, and still can’t find a buyer for their American division after the failed merger with AT&T.

T-Mobile to lay off 1,900 employees [CNNMoney]

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  1. Stickdude says:

    Fewer Reps.

    Call center representatives are discrete objects that can be counted, therefore “fewer” is the correct term.

  2. Lethe says:

    If you’re ‘leaking customers at a rapid pace’, maybe getting rid of the people who help your existing customers isn’t the best move to make…

    • failurate says:

      That’s long term thinking. They need short term profits. The future is someone else’s problem.

  3. dicobalt says:

    The call center workers will be happier for it. What a terrible job to have. Most people don’t know that employee retention is terrible in that business.

    • FashionablyDoomed says:

      Speaking as a former AT&T customer service agent who was laid off last year, I can tell you that some will be happy, yes. However, at least in my city, it was one of the highest paying jobs for us college dropouts. After 9 years, I was making almost 16$/hour. Now I have to choose between retail, fast food, and factory work. That’s about a 40% decrease in wages.

      Still though, I was one of the happy ones. After 9 years of working straight, I have no qualms with spending a year on unemployment.

      • HowardRoarksTSquare says:

        I do – you probably made more in unemployment than you paid into the system.

        A year of unemployment is being a leech on society

        • pythonspam says:

          Only if you are cashing the checks and spending money in a foreign country/state.

          Unemployment keeps many families and individuals afloat while they search for a job that was often lost through no fault of their own. In good economic times, more than 3 months of unemployment may mean the individual isn’t working hard enough to find a job, but in these times, where applicants outnumber openings many times over, it takes longer to get a job offer despite constant effort.

        • DFManno says:

          One year of unemployment divided by 180,000,000 taxpayers.

          Where do you want your penny sent?

        • incident_man says:

          Gee, I wonder if you’d be saying the same thing if it was YOU that lost YOUR job.

          It’s funny how the “I don’t want to pay for anything I don’t personally benefit from,” crowd doesn’t think about that contingency.

    • BadIdeaSociety says:

      That is true, call center work is terrible but that is mostly due to the combination of two things:

      1) Engineering departments from the production affiliates (such as HTC, Motorola, etc) don’t share information about known issues or malfunctions as readily as they should. They will typically ONLY share if they have massive evidence that the issue occurs and is definitely the fault of the product in question. If there is a correlation, oftentimes the company will just ignore the problem or instruct their agents to deny, deny, deny.

      2) Customers are sort of permitted by the whole “Customer is Always Right” rule and general social engineering that being abusive toward customer support and technical support technicians is not only a good idea but something you should do as your “Plan A” action. If your first contact with the customer is abusive, it will affect your flexibility and job satisfaction.

      I am not suggesting that T-Mobile does this kind of thing, but in the industry, these problems cause massive issues.

    • alana0j says:

      I worked for Convergy’s some years ago, for AT&T Wireless. I know a few people who are still there and the job is terrible for a few reasons-
      1-Customers (most of them) have the mindset that they are above everyone else and you must serve them differently
      2-You get yelled at by those who are just having a bad day and need to vent
      3-The regulations they have started implementing are ridiculous. There is a 3-minute speech you have to give at the end of EVERY call and you have step by step, word for word prepared speeches to get you through each call. For example-I was about to be moved to tech support back when I worked there because when a customer would call and say they couldn’t make/receive calls, I knew the three quick questions to ask to figure out the problem and had the issue fixed in five minutes. The way it is now, you HAVE to read VERBATUM the troubleshooting crap in the system. The calls take much longer (which is another thing they frown upon) and the customer feels as though they are simply a number, rather than having a personal experience.

      But here is why the job is one you wouldn’t want to lose-here in Clarksville, most jobs start out at 7.25/hr, if you’re lucky. This one starts you at 8.50 an hour while in training, then it goes up to 9.00. And you are absolutely guaranteed 40 hours per week and they frequently offer overtime. While you wouldn’t have to deal with the stress the customers bring you everyday, there is the new stress of having to find a new job and accept that your paychecks will be significantly smaller

  4. bhr says:

    A friend of mine is a consultant, and was telling me that more companies have discovered they are far better off using third party call centers because of demand hours.

    For example (I feel like I always use examples here) if Comcast has their significant call volumes from 8-10am and 6-11pm (don’t ask why I know that) they would have to have two shifts of reps covering that, which would leave a lot of reps doing nothing during the slower hours. Meanwhile xerox has their busiest hours from 10am-4pm, but needs to have people on before and after that as well.

    What happens is each company has a base group, then uses the third party for their busiest time, as those companies work for multiple corporations, and can shift people from one “team” to another to meet the needs of traffic.

    It’s great for businesses, because even if their cost per employee hour from the third party might be higher, they don’t have to worry about longer wait times or paying people to sit around bored. What sucks for companies is you get people who rep 3-4 different companies, leaving them often confused or incompetent. You also lose some ability to follow up on complaints, as comcast ect. isnt in position to discipline a third party employee.

    • Robofish says:

      As a former inbound call center rep this is 100% true. And it sucks because when it gets slow there is no hesitation in letting people go based on their “numbers” no matter how good they are. I’ve seen lots of really good agents leave because of that

      • BadIdeaSociety says:

        I found that I was always able to stay retained during my call center years, but that is because becoming a “great” call center worker in my office was like being “below average” in any other office or industry. I was punctual, professional, and handled well-above the expected call volume averages. As a result, I was way more productive than my co-workers.

  5. Coffee says:

    This is my fault…I switched to T-Mobile, so it was inevitable. I’m sorry, everyone :

    • CubeRat says:

      A major reason I joined the Pink Lady was that they have a store on the corner, 1 block from my home.
      I’ve had two issues, the same issue really……I couldn’t get the computer to process my payment automatically. So, I walk in and pay. I think we got it fixed, but I’ll find out next week.

      But I know what you mean Coffee, every time I stock buy in my IRA, the price plummets.

  6. Torchwood says:

    To serve customers… IT’S A COOKBOOK!

  7. Nyxalinth says:

    I applied to work for T-Mobile a few years ago and was hired…then they decided that they needed me for a shift other than the one they’d hired me for. Because I take the bus, I wasn’t about to work until 1 am, and had to turn it down. I don’t regret it, especially in light of this.

  8. Nighthawke says:

    Considering other call centers taking up the slack plus other companies switching to in-house call centers due to economical and/or business decisions, this is but a blip on the greater picture. Those jobs will be absorbed into the system.

  9. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    It’s a shame. I heart t-mobile.

  10. MJDickPhoto says:

    I hated working there, but I’ve been a customer since before Voice Stream. Once you take the time to understand the technology, TMO isn’t that bad of service. If my ISP messes up my system, they can’t help correct this, I as TMO to assist me with my network ROUTER. Name another cell phone provider that will do that.

    Of course I’m told that once I hit the 15 year mark, I got a new level of customer service to deal with me, but still, they take premium care of me now.

  11. speaky2k says:

    One of these call centers is closing in the city where I live in June. They will be losing about 500-600 jobs in the area, but are offering people jobs at other locations. Knowing that some of my friends have and one is currently working there, I don’t know if they would, or could be able to move. These were lower paid jobs and the one working there now worked her way up and is no longer just a low level rep but she can’t easily move since she is a single mom. The ones who no longer work there were doing it while in college or as supplemental income while looking for a long term job.

  12. momtimestwo says:

    I just heard an ad on the radio for T-mobile, they are hiring at their call center here in Nashville.

  13. DTisay says:

    So T Mobile will provide “relocation assistance”?? Does that mean they are going to ship American workers to the Philippines and pay them $4 a day??

  14. Netstar says:

    Problem = customer service is poor and losing customers at a faster rate.
    Current solution = layoff customer reps which will expedite the loss of customers.
    Correct solution = layoff “top heavy” management / hire more customer service reps.

    Let’s apply this logic to a boat on the ocean. So, if management is sailing on a boat, and the boat gets a hole in it, then the correct solution by the managers is to make the hole larger? Yep, that will take care of the problem. I have a sinking feeling this is not going to solve the problem.

  15. kalikala says:

    After 12 years with T-Mobile (before they even became T-Mobile) my family switched to another carrier a couple of months ago. Not for the iPhone, but because their customer service had deteriorated so much over the last year or two. I can’t think of a better solution to that problem than to layoff more call center reps. Way to go T-Mobile! Can’t say I miss ya.

  16. AngryK9 says:

    Meanwhile, 1900 new call center jobs just opened up in India.

  17. kgb says:

    I recall hearing people cursing and screaming about ATT buying TMobile was because everyone thought it would put people out of jobs….

    Yet TMobile manages to get rid of the ATT threat, then they can a shitload of employees themselves.

    Wake up people.

    • veronykah says:

      No people were pissed because those of us who actually have T-Mobile don’t want to be part of ATT.
      People were calling bs on ATT for SAYING that jobs wouldn’t be lost in the merger.

  18. ninjatoddler says:

    Probably the right thing to do. During office hours, people can call or go to their nearest Tmo store. Can’t remember the last time I had to call their customer support because I’ve had no problems in recent years with them unlike AT&T where I had a temp phone in between last year and it was hell for so many reasons.

  19. Professor59 says:

    When this is why the T Mobile dude suggested we buy Mom’s new phone from eBay. Saved about $60.