I was, am and always will be a late adopter of technology.
I was one of the last to get a mobile phone (or cell phone as they were more commonly called in 2000). But in November of 2000 I got the top of the line phone: The Motorola Talkabout. I got it at Sprint. I chose Sprint rather unscientifically. My brother had it, so I went with them.
Their customer service used to be terrible. They were one of the companies flagged at having terrible service. But all that changed about 24 months ago, when I added a second line, but Sprint’s ability to go above and beyond for a long-time customer was demonstrated this past weekend, and here’s the brief story:
In 10 years, I’ve had 5 phones, including my Blackberry Bold.
This Thanksgiving, the phone was crushed. I don’t know how, but it was as if someone ran over it…well almost. It happened on Friday. So I chalked it up to bad luck and said, hey, what can you do? I’ll have to buy a new one.
Of course I don’t take the insurance. I’ve never actually broken a phone and for $5 per month for 10 years that’s $600!
I walked into a Sprint store first thing Saturday, tihnking I really need a phone for my Defense Logistics trip. I have escorts for 3 and 4 star generals to give I will need a phone!
The rep says, “oh man, that’s bad. If I sell you one, I have to charge you full price of $450.
Amol: Full price? You can’t give me a break on the mail in rebate? I realize I don’t have the insurance, but dont punish me for that. I’m not asking for a free phone!
Rep: I can’t do it. Maybe I can fix it. If you leave it for a week!
Amol: Well, I’m not from around here (I was in Boston). I can’t really leave it.
Rep: Call up Sprint, they might be able to do something for you.
Amol: Maybe I’ll just buy it. What is Sprint going to really do? I broke it, it’s my fault, and I dont have any insurance.
So I go home, and call Sprint, and they say they’ll replace the phone for $35!! But the problem is, it might take 7 business days. Ok. I can wait for that. They just saved me $415.
I call on Monday before my train to DC, just to make sure the ticket has been submitted, and the rep says, “sir, your phone appears to be out for delivery. You’ll probably get it tomorrow!”
Amol: Tomorrow, that’s great! I’m travelling but still, at least I’ll know I’ll have it when I get home on Friday.
Rep: Is there any reason why you wouldn’t give me 5’s across the board for service today? (This is something every rep asked me, and I said the same thing. I think its a very powerful tool in service delivery. Finding out right then if anything is not up to par, and then taking the opportunity to correct it right there. At first, I thought it was an odd ploy, but after hearing it the second time, I really appreciated it. That opened up a dialogue between me and all three reps that never would have occurred.
Amol: No. I’d be delighted to tell you that everyone I’ve spoken to in this instance has been nothing but great. Your service over the past 24 months has dramatically improved, and I can’t wait to take the survey. Thanks and I hope you had a nice holiday.
Rep: Thank you for choosing Sprint.
Now its 30 minutes to go until I leave for my train on Monday, and I hear a knock at the door. “That’s odd,” I say. I don’t get visitors. When I open the door, its UPS…with my phone.
This is my lucky day. I start fiddling around with it, and I have to call customer service again. The prospect of having a working phone is enough to make me cancel my trip to D.C!
Again, the reps are great, walking me through every step to get it up and running, and I got into the cab, just stunned at a level of service, the ability to go above and beyond when I was technically not entitled to it.
My only criticism of the experience was this: They should have said, “Sir, we don’t normally do this, but because you’ve been a customer since 2000…”
I repeat: Sprint’s actions this weekend have made me a customer for life!