My friend Peter Sachs posted a story to Facebook about two Denver area Sprint employees working at the Sprint Store in a mall. First the story, then my totally made up response from Sprint’s president… the one he didn’t but should have made.
Shoemaker and Mike McGee, co-workers at a Sprint outlet at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, were heading on break when they heard a cry for help from an aging security guard as a shoplifting suspect blazed past them — and instead of ignoring this plea, they chased the guy down, caught him, and held him until mall security and police arrived.
Guess who got fired? Oh yeah! Catching crooks is against Sprint corporate policy. Maybe it should be if you’re in the store. This was different. They viscerally answered a call for help. Good for them. Good for us!
Shoemaker and McGee were called in to separate meetings, where they were told that their Sprint days were over. “They didn’t really tell us anything,” Shoemaker says. “They didn’t let us know where they were coming from. They just said, ‘We looked into it further, and you’re fired.’ They labeled it a form of misconduct.”
Here’s what the guy on the Sprint commercials should do now:
Hi, I’m Dan Hesse, president of Sprint. You’ve probably seen my commercials where I try to look less awkward than I actually am while simultaneously attempting to make Sprint seem warmer and fuzzier. I have spoken a lot about my commitment to improving your customer service experience with Sprint because we know that will keep you as a customer.
I guess you’ve read about our screw-up in Denver where we fired two certifiable heroes. Nice. We look like idiots. Even my own children are pissed at me for this one. It was bad enough when my daughter just wanted an iPhone!
Of course the Denver guys did break our employee rules. Obviously there is a disconnect here, because even we realize these guys are the “Sullys of cellphones!”
Here’s what we’re going to do… and by we I mean me. From now on Sprint’s policy is common sense first, rules second. This not only applies to these guys (who are rehired with back pay and all the bad replaced by good in their personnel files) but to all our CSOs. From now on they are empowered to make common sense decisions in situations where the rules are obviously boneheaded.
We’re not saying give away the store. They will still be accountable for their actions. At certain levels they might need a supervisor to sign off on what they’re doing. However, no one gets fired for doing the right thing or what they sincerely believe is the right thing. And if the supervisor is busy, they can make the decision on their own. We’ll deal with it later. You’ve got better things to do than hang on because we didn’t schedule enough people.
Doing right for our customers comes first.
Isn’t this what I meant by improving customer service? Is everyone below me still brain dead from previous management? Good customer service starts with actually treating our customers as individuals (after the voicemail tree and other depersonalizing treats we’re not ready to throw out).
Sure, it might cost us a few bucks in the short term, but as the real me has actually said our enemy is churn. So if we give up a few bucks to keep you for life we’re ahead of the game. No one should be surprised the point of all of this is to make money. We’re a business.
We feel good customer service can be profitable. We’ve already tried bad customer service and for sure that sh*t don’t work.
My personal opinion is Sprint will relent. This is too much bad publicity over a good Samaritan act. If Hesse would then read from my script–icing on the cake. Their cake!