Can we please stop playing semantic games suggesting that quality won’t be impacted by massive layoffs?

Stacey Higginbotham at GigaOm slaps Sprint CEO Dan Hesse who said this in the wake of cutting 8,000 jobs: “Our commitment to quality will not change.”

Please. The commitment may not change, but the ability to deliver it will. Sprint, already a loser in the customer service battle, can’t cut 14 percent of its work force and expect that the layoffs won’t affect quality. Unless the affected employees are enjoying three-martini lunches and pushing paper around, or Sprint has somehow managed to replace the jobs those employees did by robots, that many people are going to be missed.

These are hard times, and taking actions to save a company by cutting costs shouldn’t be sugarcoated. Yes, Sprint needs to eliminate workers to get its costs in line, but no one is going to believe that those 8,000 employees were just so much dead weight.

Stacey is right, and we hear this all the time. It’s a turn-off at a time when honesty and transparency are needed. You want to know why the people formerly known as the audience are turned off by the old world? They know hype when they hear it, and what always amazes me is how marketers (and writers of press releases) seem to think they don’t.

These are dreadfully difficult times as our economy is being rewritten and, for many, it’s down to basic survival. That isn’t helped by marketing spin.

Hesse’s the guy in the black and white commercials who always seems to be walking. In his first ad as CEO, he asked “How’s this for a wireless company?” and ended it with “Pretty awesome, huh?” I remember thinking, “That’s probably the first time this guy has ever said ‘awesome’ in his life.”

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