5 Missed Opportunities By The @SprintCare Social Media Efforts.

So, I admit it. I’m spoiled.

I had an excellent interaction with the Home Depot via social media, which set the bar for other companies to treat me as their customer. Besides that, being a huge Social Media (SM) advocate, I know that SM can build great relationships with customers, or help tear them apart.

I recently had an interaction with the Sprint Social Media team.  This post is not intended to “bad mouth” Sprint but rather, in my opinion, show areas of improvement in their SM efforts.

Long story short. A few months back I made the switch from what my buddies called a “sissy texting phone,” to the then brand new HTC Hero. Shortly after the holidays friends started asking me if I received their text messages. I brushed it off for a few weeks, until more and more friends/family began telling me they had tried calling or texting, but I never received them. I took it into a local store, they played with my phone for a few minutes, then sent me on my way. Ensuring me that the problem was fixed.

It wasn’t. And as irritating as it is to have purchased a “lemon,” what is more frustrating is feeling like I need to jump through corporate hoops to get my problem fixed.

I sent an email to the Sprint Customer service team detailing my problems and asking for help. After basically getting nowhere, I reach out via social media to Sprint.

My thinking was that if they were on social media, they knew the importance of authentic interaction and transparency with customers.

My first two tries to interact via Twitter were met by silence. Missed Opportunity 1.

Was no-one actually maintaining their account, or did they not have any searches set-up to find people that were talking about them?

Finally, after asking if anyone was running their account, had two responses. One from @rpesce and the other from the @sprintcare team. I thanked them for responding and asked to be put in touch with someone. I wanted a REAL person. But, I was asked to send a e-mail to sprintcares@sprint.com detailing my problem.

Ok. Fine. I had already sent an email to them a few weeks back detailing my problem, but for the sake of an argument I copied my previous emails and sent a screen shot of the conversation that had taken place on Twitter. (I was hoping their CRM database was robust enough to see I had several interactions with various Sprint reps., and they would escalate this issue.)

A simple follow-up to ensure me my problem was being looked at would have put my mind at ease. Missed Opportunity 2.

Meanwhile, I would expect their Sprint team to follow me on Twitter. After all, I am a customer (have been one for years) wouldn’t they want to connect with me? If nothing else, wouldn’t they rather have a conversation via DM rather than an @ reply?  Missed Opportunity 3.

You read that right. My son had an emergency at school, and they couldn’t leave a message on my phone!

I digress. My e-mail was responded to by another customer service rep. who had no idea what was going on with my problem. So I had to provide additional information to get her up to speed. With @HomeDepot Stephanie reached out to me via Twitter, and she was the one that handled my issue. Missed Opportunity 4.

Finally, thought I was getting somewhere when, Lee, a Sprint technician called me. He ensured me that my problem was a “high priority” and didn’t want to lose me as a customer. He said one of the other technicians would call me within 24 hours to, yet again, gather more details.

72 hours went by and never heard from the other technician. Since I didn’t have Lee’s direct number, I thought the Twitter team might be able to reconnect me with him. I sent a tweet to them asking if they could have Lee call me.

No further questioning. No additional help.  And It’s been almost a month and haven’t heard from anyone else at Sprint. Missed Opportunity 5.

Again, I say, this post isn’t to find fault with Sprint. Though it might seem like I am.

I believe, especially in Social Media, companies have to learn what works and what doesn’t. I simply wanted to show the missed opportunities that the Sprint SM team is having.

Solution to Missed Oppty 1: Search social media for what others are saying so you can quickly respond.
Solution to Missed Oppty 2: Follow-up with customers so they know you are working on their problem.
Solution to Missed Oppty 3: Engage and interact with your customers on social media.
Solution to Missed Oppty 4: Streamline the customer service process.
Solution to Missed Oppty 5: If someone asks a question you don’t know, find someone in the company that does and digg a little deeper.

Again, I thought about blurring Sprint’s name because I didn’t want to bad mouth them, but I think it’s important to show how some companies are understanding and embracing social media, and other’s, though trying to drive ROI on SM, don’t understand the relationship aspect.

What are your thoughts?

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About AdamWaid

Adam Waid is a revenue marketer. With over 10 years of industry experience Adam is a strategic thinker who has a passion for producing revenue-generating results through solutions-driven marketing. Director of Customer Success at Pardot a Salesforce Company, Adam is focused on customer adoption, building scalable processes and programs, and delivering increased customer satisfaction and retention. Adam has a passion for ensuring Salesforce customers achieve the highest revenue possible using marketing automation. Adam is extremely active in the Atlanta marketing community. He was named 2014 Atlanta Interactive Marketer of the Year by AIMA; chairs the Marketing Automation group within the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA); organizes quarterly marketing automation meet-ups, teaches Digital Marketing courses, has written over 60 marketing blogs, 5 digital marketing eBooks, and speaks regularly at industry events.

9 responses to “5 Missed Opportunities By The @SprintCare Social Media Efforts.”

  1. Craig Fisher says :

    Adam, I wonder if anyone from @sprintcare will even see this post. Well done. I’m not completely surprised. It seems like there are many companies out there missing these opportunities. It only takes a few good bloggers getting burned to make some noise. I’ll guess you aren’t the first bloggy recipient such poor Sprint “care”. Maybe we should start monitoring Sprint’s brand for them 😉

    Cheers, CF

  2. adamwaid says :

    Craig-

    Maybe they will, maybe the won’t. I think more importantly is that we are all learning. All of us social media folks. Some, like yourself, know more than others. But in the end, we are taking each day and figuring out how to best use social media to build authentic, long-lasting relationships to help grow our business.

    My point in writing this post is not to smudge Sprint’s name over SM, but rather, I hope to spark conversation on their team as to changes that need to be made in order to get the best ROI from their SM investment.

    Thanks for your comment Craig. I appreciate it!

    -A

    p.s. Yes, maybe we should take control and monitor it for them! =)

  3. Sara Fitzpatrick Comito says :

    Sprint’s been the target of a lot of my social media-based customer service frustration. Frankly, I’m getting tired of writing about them. I would love to write about how they’ve seen suggestions put out there by voices like ours, taken them to heart and positioned themselves to seize the opportunities you’ve outlined instead of missing them.
    I’m mostly surprised another carrier doesn’t see their competitors’ names and contact us with a buyout offer.

  4. James Garvey says :

    Put dishnetwork as another great social media company. Their only opportunity for improvement is that they don’t seem to research old tweets (just based on interactions) or follow you. But they were able to activate a receiver in 2 minutes via twitter, avoiding a 30+ minute phone call to customer service.

  5. Kaitlyn says :

    Adam, I couldn’t agree more. As brands jump into social media, it’s often mistaken as an outbound communication channel rather than a 2-way dialogue. Brands often fail to realize that to make social a success requires dedicated staff, time and channel experts of various types – including customer service. Taking an extra minute or two to invest in a particular customer can not only solve a problem, but also create a customer who will sing your praises and spread your message to their personal network – a response that lives on long beyond a single positive tweet.

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