Some of you may not be aware that this month Sprint received top honors in a Pali Research study for wireless customer care response times, beating out our competitors. The study, which included 2,500 calls placed into the call centers of all of the major wireless carriers, showed Sprint answered more than 91 percent of the calls within 30 seconds or less. While this study recognizes only one segment of the overall customer experience, it does underscore all of the hard work Sprint’s customer care organization has put in over the last 12 months to improve upon the service we provide to our customers. We realize there is always lag time between the actual improvements we make and what is reflected in these studies, so our performance in the Pali Research study is encouraging.
Our goal continues to be to reduce or eliminate our customers’ “pain points” upfront so that you won’t have to worry about calling us to try to resolve an issue. This is one of the reasons we launched our Ready Now program (www.sprint.com/readynow) in Sprint retail stores. We trained and certified all of our store associates to be able to work one-on-one with customers to personalize your phones, help you set up features, show you how they work, and answer any questions before you leave the store. On the customer care side, we’re asking ourselves if we’re resolving issues on the first call, are we providing a consistent quality interaction when you call us, and have we set up every customer’s account correctly and confirmed those details with them?
As I’ve said before, in reviewing our own internal metrics, we know we still have a way to go, but we believe we’ve made some significant improvements and we’re excited to see that we’re starting to be recognized for those efforts. I assure you that my team and I have made improving your customer experience priority number one. We know you have choices in wireless service and we are going to work hard to earn – and to keep – your business.
We are now into the third week of this blog and I again appreciate all of the responses and interest in this important discussion on customer experience improvements at Sprint. My team and I are capturing all of your feedback and we’ll be using it to see where we need to make more changes.
I’d like to respond to some of the recent comments.
Buzz About Wireless member, “Dragonfire” posted a comment on 10/10 saying that one of the things that he’d like to see improved at our call centers is a way for agents to provide feedback on care operations. I absolutely encourage all of our agents to give us ongoing feedback on our internal processes and because I know there are quite a few Sprint agents who visit this site, here are three ways in which you can do that.
First, we launched about a year ago the Issue Resolution Team (IRT) made up of a group of customer care employees of all different levels and job responsibilities. The IRT is a resource for all of our care sites and care staff to send their ideas about any changes they want us to make or to let us know what is or is not working well. The IRT reviews every submission received and when appropriate takes the necessary action to follow up on that feedback. Each call center should have a process for agents to raise issues to their supervisor for potential submission to IRT.
Second, is the feedback tool for our in-house central repository for documents that agents use to assist Sprint customers while on the phone. If you find a document that is incorrect, unclear or not easily found, use the feedback button to let our process owners know. We have recently re-tooled this feedback process and we are getting great feedback on the results from those who are using it.
A final resource for our Sprint employees is the Employee Experience Survey we send to a representative sample of frontline agents in our internal sites on a recurring basis. While this survey does not address specific customer experience concerns, it does give our agents an opportunity to express their feelings/perceptions about the quality of management and their overall employment.
Next, poster “Nxtl4me” raises some good points about a mechanism or process to report network issues with care. This is definitely an area where my team and I can discuss ways to reinvigorate our agents to better handle network coverage issues, as well as work with our network organization to see if there are some other opportunities to provide a self-service tool to report such problems directly to our engineers.
Also, I know there were a couple of posts about agents “refusing to transfer people when they know they can not help”. As I mentioned last week, customers are being transferred less frequently as our goal is to take care of the customer on the first call if possible so they are not bounced around as frequently. Let me share with you one of the tools we implemented over the last year in our Consumer Care and Tech Support sites to help our agents better achieve that goal – Rep Assist. With Rep Assist our agents can get help from subject matter experts via an instant messaging while the agent stays on the phone with the customer. The tool is contributing to our goal of first-call resolution and is teaching our agents how to handle similar calls without assistance or transfers.
Finally, I’ve been reading the personal customer service issues that some of you seem to be having and want resolution. Please send me a private message with your name, wireless number and a description of the problem and I will make sure that someone from my team follows up with you on resolution.
First, let me say thank you to everyone who has responded to my blog. In just a few days, I’ve received some great feedback on your experiences and the types of things you feel we still need to work on. So far, what I’m hearing is the following:
- Lack of communication and understanding from care agents - Language barriers - Better trained/more knowledgeable agents
Well, you’re right on target and these are all areas in which my team and I are focused on improving. I’ll give you a couple of examples.
As poster “Privax” notes, “communication is a big issue with customer service…”. To improve the communications and language skills of our agents in offshore locations we have expanded training and skill-building to better address customer handling, knowledge, grammar/word choice and accent. We know that our efforts will ultimately help us get past any language barriers and allow us to solve issues faster for customers.
To help our agents be more knowledgeable and to more quickly resolve our customers’ issues we are improving the systems that our agents use when they’re on the phone with our customers, to help them retrieve the right information more quickly and to more clearly identify the best possible plans and devices to meet a customer’s individual needs.
Now, the good news is that we are seeing some positive results. We’ve seen eight months of continuous improvement in customer satisfaction. Customers are being transferred less frequently and care agents are resolving issues on the first call. This is a great sign that care agents are taking ownership of issues as they arise. But as many of you have heard me say before, while this is encouraging, it should be noted that this is a gradual improvement and we know all issues won’t be fixed overnight. We do have an aggressive focus on increasing customer satisfaction and while we recognize we’re not where we want to be yet, our goal here at Sprint to improve the customer experience remains steadfast. Our commitment is to serve, solve and satisfy our customers.
I value each of you – our customers - and thank you for choosing Sprint. Please keep your ideas and thoughts for improvement coming…I’ll continue to visit the blog each week and want to hear from you…
Hi, I’m Bob Johnson, chief service officer for Sprint. I often hear from customers about their experiences with us. More and more acknowledge our service improvements, but others still share stories that, frankly, are unacceptable. Many of you who visit the Buzz About Wireless site know that Sprint is working hard to improve the overall customer experience and your feedback will certainly help us make the right changes to succeed. This is why during the next month I want to hear from you. The Buzz About Wireless team has set up a special forum for all members of this community to tell me what’s on your mind. What’s working in customer service, what’s not and how can we improve upon your experience?
I look forward to your ideas and I’ll be reviewing your feedback each week.
To provide feedback to Bob please add a comment to his most recent article. At the end of the week Bob will provide a response to the feedback in a separate post. Even if you don't have specific feedback to contribute, we encourage you to vote up the ideas of others by clicking on the Kudos button for each of the comments you agree with.