Periodically the blogs and internet light up with stories of how various corporations, media outlets, etc have instituted major restrictions on their employees and their ability to use social media in the work place and as part of their jobs. Chris Brogan did a piece last year about the ESPN policy that got everyone a flutter. I am going to tell you a true story of something that happened to me recently that challenges what these big corporate policies often prevent.
I don’t actually use Facebook for anything other than keeping in touch with friends and family who live afar. I have found it to be a great way to update people on the happenings of my children efficiently. So when I made an offhand sarcastic comment on my friend Jen’s status one day about my dissatisfaction with my Sprint Blackberry I expected it to mostly go unnoticed. Boy was I WRONG!
So here is how it all started. Jen’s husband gave her a fancy new phone for Valentine’s Day. So fancy that after a couple of days of using it she opted to return it. She posted asking for suggestions of devices she could trade for that are smart but not complicated. I posted saying my Blackberry 8830 World Edition was a great device so long as you didn’t try to leave the US with it. I paid $450 for a World Edition phone and all three times I had traveled out of the US with it - no service. I mentioned my contract was up in early March and I was planning to switch to the iPhone if she wanted my Blackberry as a hand-me-down to try.
I should probably mention I live in Kansas City where the Sprint Nextel World Headquarters are located so the fact that a Sprint employee read my posting doesn’t surprise me. They are the largest private employer in our metro area. I know dozens of Sprint employees and none of them has ever been able to help me with my non-functioning World Edition phone!
A few hours after expressing my dissatisfaction with my Sprint phone on Facebook I got an email saying Steve had commented on Jen’s post. Steve was not someone I knew but he is a Sprint employee and wanted more details asked if he could email me. On February 18th , I detailed my saga of going to various Sprint stores and calling various customer service numbers all in preparation for trips overseas. Every time the store employees would assure me when I got to Bermuda, London, Dublin, etc that all I had to do was turn on my phone and POOF just like at home. Except POOF turned into the phone being a brick and only providing time zone translation services!
Steve readily admitted he had no ability to fix or test my phone but as a good corporate steward he was determined to get some resolution for me and keep me as a Sprint customer.
So on February 19th I got a message from LaTaushia in a department called Sprint Nextel Executive & Regulatory Services. She explained her sole responsibility was to identify root causes to customer issues and fix the problem. She had received my detailed account of past interactions with Sprint stores and customer service lines and had already done her homework on my account prior to reaching out to me. I won’t bore you with the technical details of what was wrong with my phone but after three phone conversations with LaTaushia it was all better!
On February 26th I got an email from Lance, Director of LaTaushia’s department, apologizing for my previous run around and verifying that my issue had been resolved. Since I am not scheduled to travel to Europe again until April I won’t know 100% for sure that my phone works until I get there but I promised to stay in touch.
What can marketers learn from this experience?
- Everyone is your organization is responsible for customer service and social media listening
- Employee’s need to know where to direct a customer when they hear of dissatisfaction
- Social Media and your ability to respond to feedback is powerful and perception changing
Steve, LaTaushia and Lance had no idea I write for this blog or that I do marketing at all but I am furthering the power of social media simply by relaying this story to all of you. Delighted customers whether they be bloggers or mom’s chatting on a playground are the new frontier of customer engagement. How are you harnessing that power?
About the Author: Heather has spent the past 15 years advocating for the customer perspective in her approach to software development and product marketing. Her penchant for collaboration is what drew her to the Savvy B2B team. Read more of Heather's posts here or contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.