Sprint is beginning a new program today in Kansas City that has new phone upgrades delivered to people’s homes (or anywhere else they choose), complete with a transfer of all the files and settings from their old phone. It’s called Direct 2 You, and it’s a mix of home delivery service and customer support. It’s designed in part so that people no longer have to go to a Sprint retail store or wait for a UPS or FedEx delivery, but it’s also a personal customer service experience that will walk you through setting up your new device.
The new service, which is free, is primarily for Sprint customers who are due for an upgrade from an old device, though the company says it will also be used to lure in new customers. In either case, once a new device has been purchased, Sprint arranges delivery to wherever you specify (which apparently is not an exaggeration).
"You can tell us ‘6:45, and meet me at McDonald's.’"
"What make this unique is that we will deliver pretty much anywhere: Starbucks, work, home, at the gym — we can do all those different things, and it’s an exact-on-time delivery," Sprint VP Rod Millar tells The Verge. "You can tell us ‘6:45, and meet me at McDonald's.’"
Sprint is using a third-party partner to do the legwork, though the people who come to your house will appear to be from Sprint, right down to the vehicle they’re driving.
Millar says the company is doing some hand-holding before the company’s representatives even show up. There’s a call ahead of time to do things like confirm scheduling, make sure passwords are stored somewhere, and help initiate a phone backup to a computer or cloud service, which can be time-intensive. Just like in Sprint’s stores, they’ll ferry over your data between different phone platforms, like going from iOS to Android or vice versa. Sprint believes its technicians will be in your home (or elsewhere) for about 45 minutes to one hour.
Visits could run 45 minutes to an hour
Along with setting up your phone, Sprint is using the visits as a chance to push its trade-in program, which buys the old devices in exchange for bill credit. The technicians will value your old device on the spot, something Sprint has long been doing in its stores. That’s as far as it goes, though: Millar insists that no other services will be pushed on customers during the Direct 2 You sessions.
"When we started brainstorming, this was a point that came up in the first hour, and the answer is no, this is not about upsell at all," Millar says. "These guys, and ladies and gentlemen, they’re people pleasers … they will be measured on how happy and delighted [customers] are. Not if they’ve sold any extras."
"This is not about upsell at all."
Sprint’s been testing the program for the past month with what Millar would only describe as "hundreds" of customers. It’s starting out in Kansas City, Missouri, before expanding to Miami and Chicago on April 20th, with other parts of the US to follow.
As for whether this threatens Sprint’s in-store experience, where people might end up buying accessories or upgrading their services (which is a big part of why Sprint and Standard General are snapping up beleaguered RadioShack stores), Millar shrugs that off. "Some customers love the in-store experience. They love that they get the help from a Sprint expert that knows what they’re doing," he says. "[For] other customers, it just isn’t convenient to go into a store," adding that "in Manhattan somebody’s circumstances will be different than Naples."
Correction: The Sprint headquarters are located in Overland Park, Kansas. It was originally reported that the headquarters are in Kansas City, Missouri.