Behind Sprint's Overhauled Customer Experience Program



Cory Bennett
05/10/2011

In 2007, Sprint’s customer experience was at what Jerry Adriano, vice president of customer experience at Sprint, called a "bottom point." The company’s customer service lagged behind consumers’ expectations and subscribers showed little loyalty.

So Adriano created a plan; a balanced plan. Initially favoring customer service experience, the plan ultimately stressed cross channel consistency. With so many touchpoints for Sprint's users – over the phone, on the web, in the store – it can be hard to keep track of what Adriano calls the "customer footprint."

"One of the biggest challenges is ensuring that we have knowledge of what our customers have been doing in other channels across the enterprise so we have the history when we try to assist them," Adriano said, mentioning that prior to 2007’s customer experience reboot Sprint’s retail representatives would make notes on customer interactions that customer care representatives weren’t able to later access.

"The other part is having a consistently defined set of methods and procedures that align across channels so the customer is hearing the same thing from us regardless of where they go," Adriano said.

Sprint users have now reported 13 consecutive quarters of improved customer service, though. Adriano will detail the strategies and metrics used to get Sprint back on this upward path at the upcoming 12th Annual Call Center Week, held June 13-17 in Las Vegas. His presentation, "Turnaround Story – Building Loyalty through Improved Customer Experience," will not only enumerate past strategies, but also cover future trends and customer experience focal points moving forward.

No company can implement a proper strategy, however, until it understands and defines the "customer lifecycle" – the ways in which a customer interacts with a company across touchpoints from start to finish.

"What are all the interactions and expectations that a customer will have with us?" Adriano said, mentioning that Sprint customers will interact with a touchpoint directly or indirectly nearly every day. "What’s critical for us is to define what we want that experience to be and where the customer is conducting those interactions and transactions."

Armed with that definition, Adriano explained, a company should focus on metrics at the agent level, while providing managers with the proper tools to properly track frontline consistency. At Sprint, the agent level metric was first call resolution and the attached motto was "Serving, Solving, and Satisfying."

"It’s allowed us to identify upstream drivers for customer experience that were difficult for our agents to resolve [in one call]," Adriano said. "We’ve tried to improve representative behavioral performance in particular situations [as a result]."

At the managerial level, Adriano cited a new, real-time data collection system that aided in agent monitoring. He said it enhanced agent segmentation, a prior difficulty for Sprint.

"We could look at performance agent-by-agent, site-by-site, supervisor-by-supervisor and have that data in real time so we could provide feedback on performance and behaviors," he said, calling the data monitoring process critical to their success. "That’s a very useful management tool as well so you always have a view of going on in your environment."

Listen to CMIQ's full interview with Adriano above.

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