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Sprint targets small businesses with landline replacement offering


A new offering for small business customers announced yesterday from Sprint was the “culmination of an analysis of the marketplace,” Sprint Vice President of Small Business Judy Train told Connected Planet in an interview.

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“When the economy turned south, larger companies started going down-market to make up lost sales,” explained Train. As a result, she said, “small businesses now have to look and act like big guys—and our solutions help them do that.”

Sprint’s new offering--dubbed Sprint Biz 360--is centered on an office phone service called Sprint Phone Connect. That service, in turn, is based on a device into which traditional landline phones can be plugged, thereby enabling the phones to communicate using Sprint wireless voice service instead of traditional landline voice service. Small business customers also can pool their monthly minutes between phones used by several different employees.

By using Phone Connect, Train said small businesses have “the flexibility to set up an office wherever they are—they don’t have to wait for an installation from the [local exchange carrier].”

That makes Phone Connect a particularly useful offering for businesses that need to establish temporary connectivity at a construction site or one-time event, a Sprint spokesman said.

Back-up and productivity solutions
Other elements of Sprint Biz 360 include connectivity back-up solutions as well as productivity solutions such as Sprint’s Mobile Payment and Mobile Workforce Locator applications. The new suite of services is supported by a high level of customer care, which Train said is unlike anything that small businesses are used to receiving.

If a small business customer buys a Blackberry, for example, Train said a customer service representative will follow up with a phone call to ask if the customer needs help setting up the device.

“We start a dialog with them over a period of months,” said Train. Eventually customer service representatives will also ask if customers’ services are set up the way they wanted and if they would be interested in services such as Mobile Payment or Mobile Workforce Locator.

The new Sprint Biz 360 offering builds on new no-contract options the carrier launched last month, Train said. The offering enables small businesses to avoid the expense of committing to a long-term contract for employees who may be only temporary, she added.

Customers choosing the no-contract option now have a wider range of devices from which to choose, Train said. Businesses pay retail price for the devices or can purchase no-contract service for devices they already have on hand.


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