The Heart of the Matter

By Callie Field, Executive Vice President & Chief Customer Experience Officer at T-MobileOctober 06, 2021

As a CX team, one core trait infuses everything we do.

This is Customer Service Appreciation Week, when we recognize T-Mobile’s amazing frontline employees and the passion they put into their work every single day. The theme for this year is “The Heart of Service,” which speaks directly to the resilience and love my Care and Digital team members, along with our partners in Retail and Network Engineering, show our customers through every interaction.

There’s no other word for it: This team is the heart of T-Mobile, and I’d like to give you a few specific examples that illustrate my point.

First is T.J. Fountain, a care manager for small- and medium-sized businesses who works in our Las Vegas Customer Experience Center. T.J. is something like a small-business whisperer: As a department manager, he oversees a team of four coaches, three leads and 40 Dedicated Experts, encouraging them to work closely with their customers and Sales partners all over the Western U.S. and to invest in their success.

TJ Fountain
It’s called customer care for a reason, says T.J. Fountain, care manager for small- and medium-sized businesses: "You have to care about customers."

Every business, he says, builds a trusted family over time. Not just loyal employees, but the tax attorney, the accountant, the vendors and other close allies they bring into the fold and rely on to help their business grow. T.J. and his Experts aspire to be a valued member of that family.

It’s a big responsibility, and it entails soaring above and beyond. T.J. and his team immerse themselves into industries as varied as transportation, healthcare, baking — you name it — to better understand the technology that’s best for each. They read trade journals, talk to peers in other industries, and develop a genuine curiosity and competency for their customers’ fields.

With this practical knowledge, T.J. and his team deploy their emotional intelligence. They offer business guidance with positivity, empathy and tact. After all, T.J. says, it’s called customer care for a reason: You have to care about customers.

The result is what T.J. describes as a “professional concierge service for wireless.” Whether you need the latest tech or a sympathetic ear, his team has your back. This might include proactively checking in on the health of a customer’s business to ensure everything is running as smoothly as possible. Or helping a stranded customer connect with a retail store and replace a faulty device. Either way, it’s an all-in approach that stems from what T.J. calls an “attitude of servitude,” a phrase he learned at his first frontline Expert job back in 2018. I call it heart.

This drive to understand customer needs doesn’t stop at Care. Maddie Bach is a senior manager on the Digital Business team for emerging products. Based in Seattle, she’s a seven-year veteran of the digital side of T-Mobile Customer Experience. She and her team are focused on delivering T-Mobile Home Internet to existing and prospective customers. And to do that, she flexes remarkable left- and right-brain prowess.

Maddie starts by putting herself in the customer’s shoes. Which, as she points out, is easy because we’re all customers to someone. We all know how we want to be treated. We want long-term relationships, not anonymous transactions. Or we want total ease of use on our own terms.

Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes is easy because we’re all customers to someone and know how we want to be treated, says Maddie Bach, senior manager on the Digital Business team for emerging products.

Maddie’s group works closely with the Care and User Experience teams, poring over customer reports and results. This cross-team collaboration enables her to better grasp customer behaviors and expectations. How did they arrive at our website? Which page did they land on, and which page did they leave from? Where can we improve? The findings, she says, tell a story of customer behavior if you know how to read them.

Home Internet is a new product for us, so her team’s work is crucial in helping us learn what customers want and need with this service. For instance, new Home Internet customers recently asked for help setting up their service. In response, Maddie and her colleagues in Care, Digital and Retention developed an online hub that provides all the info they need to ensure a smooth and easy setup.

For James Holt, an elite Expert in account care who is based in Maine, improving people’s lives is the key to superlative customer service.

As a self-described “people pleaser,” James finds genuine fulfillment from his approach to care. He uses intentional phrases, questions and pauses that help put customers at ease and in the driver’s seat. With every call, James gives customers the tools to reach a resolution that they believe will genuinely improve their lives. And on the flip side, James is empowered to do whatever he can to help customers stay with us.

There’s a reason that James last year won the Kathy Woods Award, which singles out the top performer in Care. James intuitively grasps the fundamentals of customer psychology, and he uses them to help his customers feel heard and understood.

As a self-described “people pleaser,” James Holt finds genuine fulfillment from his approach to care.

For example, he worked closely with a customer who had lost her job due to the pandemic and couldn’t pay her bill. James set her up on a special payment plan and then kept in close contact with her to follow her progress. She found a new job but needed extra time to stabilize her monthly budget, so James helped her get on our Hardship Payment Program. Again, he stayed in touch to provide the support, moral or otherwise, she might need. Now her account is in good standing, and she’s remained a loyal — and grateful — T-Mobile customer.

I hear stories like these and know that rather than feeling sold to, customers feel taken care of. They feel loved. And in return they love us back.

Our Un-carrier idea of serving customers is not a matter of numbers or statistics. It’s not a matter of sticking to a script or dodging responsibility. Caring for and serving customers is a matter of ownership, of pride, of connection. It’s a matter of heart. And that’s something we can all appreciate.