Sunday, 28 October, 2001
With all that was going on yesterday, I didn't take the opportunity to open the gift from Debra. She actually went out and bought me that Kyocera smartphone that I mentioned back on August 21. So now I'm the proud owner of a combination telephone and Palm OS PDA. Having just opened it today, I haven't yet done much with it. I did log on to Sprint's web site to deactivate my old phone and activate the new one. What horrible instructions! You would expect that they would show screen shots of the display for each step, but they don't. Rather, they give some cryptic and incomplete instructions. At one point there's a big note describing a warning that will appear. They don't say, however, how to dismiss the warning box or whether you even should dismiss it. The next instruction says "close the flap and the phone will reset itself." So I closed the flap and the phone displayed "Error: contact your Sprint PCS office for service." I can't be the only person who has had trouble with these web pages.
Somebody went to a lot of trouble to build those web pages so that people who buy telephones won't have to call an operator in order to activate their new phones. I suspect, though, that because they're so horribly written, the web pages result in more, not fewer, calls. Worse, the calls are probably more difficult and take longer, because the operator has to determine where the problem is and fix it (often, most likely, ending in "I'm sorry sir, but you'll have to visit your local Sprint PCS office to activate your phone") rather than walk the customer through the process from the beginning. I wonder if Sprint tracks this kind of thing.