Sprint has submitted four entries into the Forrester Groundswell awards. The awards focus on how companies are using Social to connect and interact. The team here at Sprint thinks we have some very good examples of how we work with our members to make the Sprint experience better. As always, we would also like to know what you think. The whole team would appreciate it if you would:
1) Go to the Groundswell awards pages, read what we have submitted, and rate or provide a review for each of the entries. We think we have a great story in each of the sections but would love to hear what you think. The entries are listed below.
M.sprint.com is Sprint’s mobile optimized website for smartphones, leveraging CSS3 and HTML5 for high performance. The data most sought-after by mobile visitors is optimized per device, with 24x7 account management, the ability to browse devices, learn about products, complete orders, locate stores and check coverage. Built-in browser and OS features minimize page load and response time.
18 months of research, analysis and Community discussions showed a growing trend of mobile visitors to sprint.com. M.sprint.com addresses the need for timely, convenient mobile access to Sprint information, improving customer experience by providing key account, product, and service information in a device-friendly view at desktop speed. Visitors can get location-based coverage, find stores, and get driving directions without inputting their location. Customers can sign in to view usage, see and pay their bills, view plan details, or check upgrade eligibility
Traffic to our mobile site has increased 300% YoY. Currently, serving over three million visits a month, m.sprint.com contributes to business goals of deflecting calls to Care and improving customer experience.
In 2010 Sprint collected approximately 29,000 device reviews and thousands of comments in the Sprint device communities. Those discussions are increasingly more important in determining future product line-up and additional enhancements to improve the customer handset experience.
When devices are launched or updated, one of the first places we see customer opinions are within device ratings. Within a day or two of launch our customers have more extensively tested our devices in real world situations than can be accomplished in the lab. Those reviews, along with posts to the discussion forums, are quickly analyzed by both community and product teams to prioritize any fixes that may be required.
Additionally, at periodic reviews with our equipment manufactures we review the ratings of specific devices compared to other devices within the portfolio. Device reviews - both positive and negative, along with other considerations, like return rates, are used to determine future product offerings.
Ratings & Reviews delivered through the Sprint Community enable shoppers to see comments from customers already using the devices, and can use this information as a guide to the best option for their needs. For shoppers who engage with the Ratings & Reviews content, Sprint sees a higher sales conversion rate, increased revenue, and a lower return rate for higher-end devices. Half of the community conversations on Sprint.com are device related. All of this discussion helps Sprint to provide better products and more quickly enhance our products and services.
The Sprint product development teams have embraced an Open policy for Sprint devices where Sprint provides the platform for others to build upon. The integration of Sprint ratings and device discussions into their product reviews extends this Open philosophy.
In 2011, Sprint.com completed a site-wide overhaul with the release of our new online store. This was done in three phases to minimize negative user impact:
Alpha Phase - consisted of extensive in-house testing by Sprint business units. A comprehensive communication plan detailed the process. We interviewed key stakeholders to categorize and prioritize bug fixes.
Beta Phase - the new store was revealed to the public as an opt-in. Beta users could switch back the old store experience. A community forum described the site changes, collected user feedback and identified issues. An online survey gauged satisfaction with the new experience.
Throttle Phase - we gradually increased the percentage of visitors auto-directed to the new store to prevent load and performance issues.
A cross-functional team responded to voluminous input from visitors and worked on critical issues. They were empowered to quickly fix any content and functional issues before the official launch of the new store.
Sprint opened testing up to tens of thousands of users, many of whom proactively sent us feedback during the Beta Phase that helped us diagnose and resolve any issues prior to the full launch. During a 4week period approximately 1,600 comments and survey results were collected related to content and functional bugs. By crowdsourcing error identification Sprint was about to quickly find problem areas based on customer use of the website which greatly extended the effectiveness of organizational testing. A small cross fucntional team made up of business leads, content writers and technical experts were able to quickly diagnose issues, determine if they were already reported by testing teams, estimate and prioritize LOEs, and correct problems with greater efficency than standard procedure.
In 2007 Sprint launched an online support community for wireless enthusiasts called BuzzAboutWireless.com. The goal of promoting honest, open conversations about Sprint helped "Buzz" to quickly grow in popularity and membership. Sprint's dedication to keeping the site's conversations organic and uncontrived has created an environment where users can ask questions and engage with both Sprint employees and active members.
On of the primary reasons users frequented the site was because they liked to help one another and be helped by Care and Technical Support agents. Some members are so dedicated they were willing to spend the time and effort to earn highest ranks within the community gained through participation and answering questions.
In addition, community content is syndicated throughout Sprint.com to provide access to user generated content and manufacturer and 3rd party content is incorporated into the community to provide a single place for customers to answer questions.
The Sprint.com community accomplishes 3 main goals in the context of supporting customers: 1) Providing users a place to ask questions to which they can't find answers, 2) Informing Spint of content to create or update to provide better responses to customers, and 3) Diverting interactions with more expensive Care options by offering customers this self-service options 24/7. Growth in monthly community visits from 186,043 (June '08) to 1.3M (June '11) illustrated that members find this a user-friendly, reliable source of information.
From internal studies, it has been proven that customers who interact with Sprint's online community are less likely to churn. Reducing churn is a core strategic focus at Sprint and the Buzz about Wireless community is a center-piece in accomplishing that strategy.