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$1,112.23 cell phone bill? Or how Sprint kept a customer with some unusual proactive work

By Phil Verghis on March 26, 2010

Sprint has a plan that allows international data roaming for $40 a month. In theory, it is very simple. You to call before you leave the country and sign up for an international data roaming plan (allows you to get mail, web content, radio etc. while traveling to countries where CDMA services are available) and cancel when you get back. This is significantly less expensive than paying by the byte. I’ve done it before, and it works well.

When it works.

My first hint that my last three week global trip may end up with a huge bill came when from ‘Jennifer’ at Sprint Customer Care called to see if I was aware my *upcoming* bill was going to be unusually high. When I asked how high, and she said well about $1,112.23 more than usual. We walked through the sequence of events, and it was clear Sprint had made a mistake. However, she could not authorize the refund because the bill hadn’t posted yet. 

She promised to call me back after the bill had posted. I was skeptical, and set a reminder to call Sprint back a day after the bill posted. Well wouldn’t you know it — ‘Jennifer’ called back and informed me that I would get a paper  bill for the higher amount, but to just pay the normal monthly charge and ignore the rest as she had taken care of it. Sprint sent me a survey after the call and I noted that while I was very happy with the support, I hadn’t seen the bill yet. Based on the survey answer, I got a call from another group following up, by which time the updated bill had posted. I also got a second courtesy call from someone in the Customer Care team making sure that all was fine.

Well done, Jennifer. Well done, Sprint. You have earned my loyalty.

Lessons for service providers:

  1. Scour your customer’s bills and call them (don’t just email) *before* the bill posts if there is anything unusual from the customer’s end. While I was unhappy, I would have been far less happy if the first time I learned of the  bill was when I had saw it and had to call in about it.
  2. Take personal responsibility. Jennifer called and said she would personally stay on the case until it was resolved. Even though she made notes in the CRM system, it didn’t replace the rapport we had built when she first called me.
  3. Set expectations properly. Jennifer warned me that the paper bill would be high, but not to worry about it and the online bill would reflect the right amount. So it has. 
  4. Trust  but verify. The follow up call was gravy from Sprint’s part, but well worth while.

Hats off Jennifer. Hats off to you Sprint. I’ve called to let Jennifer’s supervisor know of the work she did, and this is my public thank you to Sprint.

Interesting post on motivation in communities…

By Phil Verghis on March 10, 2010

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