@sprintcare An (almost) case study on how to handle departing customers.
I realized the magic was over when I found out Sprint was cheating [on] me. And I had to read about it online.
When I signed up for unlimited 4G data on my mobile broadband device, I didn’t expect to get the carpet yanked out from under me. And so surreptitiously too. So I find out Sprint is now capping me. Mind you I barely use this device. It’s one of those things I just had around, in case broadband went out, or for those rare occasions when a group of us need to share a connection. But it was the principle.
I diligently paid my $60 a month, barely scratching 5 meg, let alone 5 gig, all for the warm comfort of knowing that in a pinch, I could count on my all-you-can-eat plan. I mean I had 2 AT&T phones, a Verizon phone and another Verizon USB broadband card. So did I really want another carrier?
Sure I did. It was Sprint. It was all you can eat. Was coverage great? No. Was speed blazing? No. But it was all you can eat.
Mistake 1 – You should have reviewed customer accounts to view data usage before abusing those grandfathered in contracts.
The fact that a contract I signed binding me to 2 years of service, didn’t similarly bind them to my unlimited data, irks me. It’s like saying, sure it’s a 2 year contract, but only as long as I don’t shave. But I digress.
Nov 13 at 12:20 PM I call Sprint, go through an endless phone tree, enter my number, my secret code, and then repeat all that information to a rep. This is when the magic begins! This great rep asks me why I want to leave, I explain it to her, we talk it over a bit – THEN – I ask her what my early termination fee is (I’ve determined that I’ll bite the bullet).
She says, we’ll waive it for you. (heart skips a beat) Right there I think – I may be back with Sprint sometime after all. If nothing else, I’m telling everyone how well they handled this.
I didn’t get her name, and they refused to tell me when I call back, nor would they give me her manager’s name – so unnamed customer support person. Kudos, and thank you. Sprint should be proud to have people like you.
Nov 29 I get a bill from Sprint. Lo and behold – there’s a fee being charged. Now I’ve gone from exhilarated to thoroughly annoyed.
Dec 2 at 2:00 PM I steel myself for the encounter. Get on the phone. Same rigamarole with the phone tree. Get a rep. I ask to speak to the same one from before. She’s ‘unavailable’. Now at this point it’s clear to me that this rep is being trained, she keeps pausing every 10 seconds and I hear the person in the background coaching her when it comes of mute. I explain what’s going on. She’s says she’ll check notes. Here’s where it goes downhill.
Rep: I see a note saying you don't have a fee.
Me: Great, but I have a bill with a fee
(go on hold)
Rep: Where on your bill do you see it?
Me: Page 4, where the itemized charge says Early Termination
(back on hold)
Rep: I see another note on the account where it says there is a fee.
Me: You just said the notes say no fee?
Rep: Looks like you called us twice and the second rep told you there was fee
Mistake 2 – Know when to pull in the experience. Sure everyone needs training, but this isn’t helping anyone. And your customer is getting escalated. And the call handle time is skyrocketing
Me: I'd like you to double check, since I'm pretty sure I didn't call twice.
(Silence, then more note checking, coaching in the background)
Rep: Going to put you on hold while I sort information out
Rep: You are in fact breaking your contract early since the date is X and you cancelled Y.
Me: Yes, that's why I asked about it on my first call.
Rep: So you have to pay the fee.
Me: No, if someone told me it was going to be waived, then it should be waived.
(More coaching, then hold)
Rep: Going to put you on hold some more, so we can resolve this.
Rep: The fee has been updated and will be within 72 ho-
(she get's cut off, coaching in the background)
Rep: It will apply within 24-48 hours.
Me: Ok so what was the issue before?
Rep: The rep shouldn't have given it to you.
Me: Ok, I'd like the reps name since I'm going to be writing about this.
Rep: We can't access that information.
Me: Is there anything I can get that identifies that rep?
Rep: No, but corrective action will be taken against that rep
Me: Oh - so she did in fact do something she wasn't supposed to do?
(pause then vigorous coaching)
Rep: It was a computer glitch. But it's all sorted out.
Me: Have you noted the account in case I need to call in again and explain this to someone else?
Seriously? A customer error, then a misinformed customer, then a rep who made a mistake, then a computer glitch.
Mistake 3 – Don’t lie. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Say you gotta look it up, and the figure out the problem. If you sit me on hold for 8 mins, but say, we’re square, that’s far better than popping on every minute with the ‘fake explanation’ of the moment.
Shame on you Sprint for ruining what would have been the best customer send-off I have ever experienced.
For what it’s worth, you did waive my fee, kudos, and I did tell everyone I could about how well it was handled.
And please, give my best to the rep who got you started on the right foot. She should be training people. At the end of the day, it’s all about the customer experience.