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Product Review

Realtors Using Sprint PCS / E-Key- Notice

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Beware

 
Every Realtor using Sprint PCS that signed up during the initial phase of the E-Key launch that were offered freebies to change their plans should immediately be aware that Sprint is expiring those freebies.  Offers differed in many areas of the Country, so it is impossible for me to break down what problems you may experience.  These expirations come with no warning and you may incur serious charges for downloading your MLS data to your phone, text messenging, peak and off peak times, without refund or explanation.  Realtor beware, read your bill and pay very close attention to the “data usage” on your bill. 

We’ve spent the better part of 4 hours on the phone with customer retention as well as several hours in the Sprint store over the past month resolving these issues to the tune of nearly $1,000.00.  It is Sprint’s policy to address no charges more than two months old so I advise you contact Sprint immediately.  I would also recommend if you are unsure what exactly will or has expired that you contact Sprint Customer Service as soon as possible. 

I can only speak for myself when I say we were never told these plans would expire, nor was I ever told that the discount offered to Reators would expire- We have seriously been mislead, and the outcome is that the new plans offered by Sprint are much higher per month than what we switched from.  A Sprint Store manager stated while speaking to Sprint Customer Service by phone, “There’s going to be a lot of pissed off Realtors lined up in my store.” The Sprint response was, “The plans no longer exist.” 

According to Customer Retention, these plans offered to the local boards had a life expectancy of 2 years in most cases.  We found it odd that even the Sprint associates that were charged with signing up thousands of agents had no idea of any expirations of the promises being made by Sprint. 

I would assume that other services offering data phones and plans for E-Key such as Cingular will suffer the same fate.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Bill Lublin

    April 22, 2008 at 5:41 am

    You might guess there’s a problem with meeting customer expectations when a company needs to set up a department called “Customer Retention”

  2. Daniel Rothamel

    April 22, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Our experience with Sprint was the most horrendous customer-service experience we have ever had with a corporation. We switched to Alltel and couldn’t be happier. My advice– downgrade to the display key, and get a good smartphone. I’m partial to BlackBerry, but whatever floats your boat.

  3. Glenn fm Naples

    April 22, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    Lani – I have always found that dealing with certain areas of a corporation the individuals follow the policies and procedures as handed and explained to them. Sometimes the executive management in the corporation are not aware of how bad experience the customer is experiencing. Just a suggestion try finding the CEO’s name and corporate telephone number – and call the CEO. You might not get the CEO, but if you get the person’s secretary there will be some action taken, usually.

    As consumers, we do not “aggressively” assert ourselves and we should.

  4. TheHarrimanTeam

    April 22, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    And to think I was toying with the idea of switching to Sprint from Verizon, a company I have been with, and happy with, for over ten years, since they were known as Bell Atlantic Mobile. After talking to reps from both providers, I decided to stick with Verizon and simply buy new phones for my wife and me. I pay a little bit more per month, but the savings in stress and in not having to deal with the above-mentioned debacle is more than worth it.

  5. jaybird

    April 23, 2008 at 6:09 am

    Yes, try to reach what Daniel Odio calls the VITO–very important top official. His article on that is here: https://drodio.typepad.com/effecting_change/2008/03/how-to-pitch-pe.html

    I bet if enough realtors fuss one of the cell phone co.s will come out announcing their e-key discount permanent and will announce it through local real estate channels such as the association and RE offices to grab a disenfranchised group for the long haul as customers. 1st carrier to do this and set it in motion on a wide scale in each marketplace will take over 100s or 1000s of accounts of people who tend to have high cell phone bills.

  6. Thomas Johnson

    April 29, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Sprint is the K-Mart of cell phones.

  7. Les Sulgrove

    May 1, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Any more news on whether Sprint is actually ending the REALTOR package as described above? If so, does this constitute a change in our customer contracts with Sprint allowing us to depart their jail based contract period before our contract period expires without the penalty?

  8. Eric Blackwell

    May 17, 2008 at 11:07 am

    @Les– I didn’t see this post until just now, but i would think that it “would” constitute a change. I’d check with your retailer to find out for sure.

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Housing News

Avoid Blah-Blah Conversation With This Voicemail Cloaking Device

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Please Dear Lord, Don’t Let Them Pick Up, So I Can Leave A Voice Mail and Make A Quick Get Away.

You know those times when you have to return a phone call, share an update, remind someone about something?  And those times where there’s no getting around it, you have to make the call and deliver your message, but you’re short on time, patience, courage, or ___________?

Guess What? I Have Good News For You.

There’s an App. for that, and it’s called SlyDial.  At the Inman Reboot event in HoustonChris with TechSavvyAgent dropped this cloaking device on us.  Basically, SlyDial is a clever smart phone tool.

SlyDial allows you to make a call from your cell phone to their cell phone, but their cell phone won’t ring. Instead of their phone ringing, SlyDial lets you dial directly into their voice mail, and leave a message. Yeah, that’s right, call directly into their voice mail, and their phone doesn’t ring. Check it out, it probably works on your smart phone.

You can get more details and info here.  The App. is free and straight forward.  It looks like the picture below when it’s launched on the iPhone4.

It’s that simple.  Good luck with it.  I was wondering in which situations you’d use something like this?

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit

PS.  fyi, I don’t work for, nor am I in any way associated with, employed by, or even know anyone at SlyDial.  In other words, there’s nothing in for me by saying nice things about SlyDial, except the pleasure of telling you about a tool you might find handy.

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Product Review

New Realtor.com iPhone App

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Realtor.com launched their new iPhone application and gave a few of us the chance to play with it and tear it to pieces before the launch (maybe they didn’t quite put it that way, but it’s the way I’m approaching it).

When I first open these new apps, I always think of the intent and this one is pretty obvious.  The Realtor.com iphone app iss totally and completely designed with the end consumer in mind (sorry Realtors if you thought it could be about you).  It’s about providing the latest property information in the quickest, easiest and most user friendly fashion possible.

When you open the app, a home screen gives you several options, including searching for nearby homes for sale, nearby open houses or perform a new search by location or MLS ID.  You can allow for the app to use your current location and it actually gives you nearby listings currently for sale (also giving you the option to narrow down your criteria).  This can be really cool if you are driving in a neighborhood and just want to get property information without having to even get out of the car or make a phone call.  (Bad for agents that rely on the client to actually make that call to capture their business).

Realtor.com iphone app screen shot

You can view a map option or a list option of properties and are able to actually click on any given one and get detailed information, not only on the property, but also the listing agent and the brokerage (very similar to what you see on Realtor.com).  You can scroll through photos of the listing and turn the phone to get bigger photos and you can save the property and include notes to go with it.

Realtor.com iPhone app screenshot

What’s even more fascinating is the option to contact the listing agent on the spot.  You can call them by clicking on their telephone number, you can email them,  visit their site and add them to your contacts.  (I know I’m an over achiever, but wouldn’t it be cool if you could tweet or facebook them as well?).

Realtor.com iphone application
My favorite feature is the “drive around and use your location” to find listings – but you can also enter an address for a particular listing and/or its surrounding competitors and even enter the MLS number.

Great move on Realtor.com to empower the consumer.  Personally, an educated consumer is the best one in my book, but here’s the beef many will have…You can now say “Buh Bye” to Buyers’ Agents, with this app, listing agents will have the upper hand – this will give quick and easy information to the local consumer (not the end for those buyers agents that work with absentee and relocating clients).

Problem?

I can now see me getting bombarded by calls from people who “forget” to tell me they are working with another agent and just wanted quick info.  I can also see my clients calling other agents just because their information was handy.  We’ll just have to see how this extra communication tool will evolve….it could be detrimental for many.

The question of who does Realtor.com work for will inevitably come up.  Many will criticize this as a tool of disintermediation, but if we are smart, we will not only know how to use this information in our favor, but we will welcome it with open arms.  I do wonder if it could be possible to personalize this particular iphone app for a fee so that Realtors can offer it to their clients (of course I would try to come up with a win-win for everyone).

For now it’s time for everyone to make sure their contact information is correct on their listings, and especially Realtor.com.  Listing agents will have the ability to answer inquiries on the spot, staying above the competition with customer service always at the top of the priority list.

And for the record, I’m not associated with Realtor.com, so feel free to kill it if you have the itch.

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Product Review

Desktop Analytics – Polaris

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Keeping Track

polaris2 I’m a big fan of keeping a pulse on the health of my blogs and sites.  Polaris has released a desktop application that allows you to keep track of your Google Analytics, on your desktop. 

The free version only allows monitoring from one account, while the $15/year version will allow multiple accounts.

The system features are very easy to setup and it works on the AIR installation system, which most of us already have with the Twitter apps.  It was quick to download and install. 

 

Polaris shows total visits, pageviews, activities by date, visits statistics and tons more.  Essentially anything that you would benefit from in Google Analytics, but on the desktop.

newpolaris

The current product is cool, but the company is also advertising some interesting upcoming products.

    • Dopac
      • Dopac is our flagship web analytics solution that brings Google Analytics to your desktop with a host of new features and possibilities. Based on the success and experience of our previously released beta product, the “Google Analytics Reporting Suite”, Dopac takes the original experience to the next level and brings a lot of new concepts to the table.
    • Rayet
      • Rayet is our strange kid on the block. It’s experimental, funky and fun!
        With Rayet we are aiming to make web analytics reporting smarter. Instead of generating a lot of good looking graphs and charts Rayet will cut to the chase and analyze your data for you. Rayet will give you suggestions on how to improve your website experience based on the analytical data available. By comparing different time samples it will tell what works and what doesn’t. Being in very early development there’s currently no release date planned yet.
    • Phobia
      • Phobia is made for one single purpose; impress your boss, client or anyone else you need to suck up to. It gives you data ownership by allowing you to export or synchronize your data in any given format. Anything from smart looking spreadsheets, pretty PDF’s or entertaining presentations is entirely possible! More info on features and release will be up here soon.

       

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