From Laggard to Leader: Sprint Reversed Its Poor Customer Satisfaction in Just Two Years

By Klie, Leonard | CRM Magazine, September 2011 | Go to article overview

From Laggard to Leader: Sprint Reversed Its Poor Customer Satisfaction in Just Two Years


Klie, Leonard, CRM Magazine


Not long ago, Sprint was a customer satisfaction laggard. The mobile phone service provider's first-call resolution was 20 percent worse than that of its closest rival. Customers had to call twice as often to resolve issues, and when they did call, the average hold time was nearly 14 times the industry average. Up to 35 percent of callers simply quit waiting and hung up the phone.

Sprint's internal management practices and the methods used to create, communicate, and enforce performance expectations were at cross-purposes with customer service goals. Employee compensation was not tied to service results, and outsourced call centers were judged on volume, not customer satisfaction.

Sprint was awash in data, but the information was unfocused and unstructured. "We were managing performance via spreadsheets with dozens of metrics," recalls Deeanne King, vice president of customer care at Sprint. "From the executives down to the agents, we were asking folks to focus on a host of metrics and, in many cases, pull the data themselves."

Realizing the need to change, Sprint employed the Compass performance management system as part of an ambitious customer service overhaul. Compass led to the creation of one dedicated business team for performance management. It also suggested improvements in internal management practices

by making better use of huge amounts of customer data and aligning Sprint's compensation and incentive plans to specific actionable goals and results for its call center and retail store employees.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Following that process, Sprint replaced its homegrown performance management system with Merced Systems' Sales and Service Performance Management software.

"Merced had a proven solution, with a large customer base," King says. "Others had similar tools, but they were not as widely deployed and not to the scale of the Sprint deployment."

The Merced system has led to higher customer satisfaction, as shown by a 20 percent drop in customer churn, from 2.25 percent in early 2009 to 1.81 percent now. Sprint was able to reduce the staff and the number of call centers, increase first-call resolution by one-third, and cut calls per subscriber by 39 percent. Billing adjustments also have been reduced. The result is a $450 million total decrease in customer care costs. …

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