Tech, Gadgets, Photography, Social Media and Poor Spelling
You are a new brand in the phone industry, not a new company because you are created of two heavy hitters, Orange and T-Mobile however as a Brand EE are a new player on the block, a new player who are very quickly getting a name for terrible customer service.
The thing is with communication, if you open up channels you have to use them, if you’re company has a phone system, and someone calls in, as the caller you expect to have the phone picked up, as a company you employ people to pick up the phone. This is a simple business concept well thought out over many years. Occasionally if the phone lines are busy, which is good for the company, the customer may have to wait on hold until someone comes free. Again, a tried and tested formula for this is implemented in most companies. Call waiting, no one likes it but we learn to use it.
The problem for most modern companies like EE starts however when communication happens over electronic form. for many companies this means eMail and more and more social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and G+
Companies seem to see these are one way streets for communications, where they are great to get the message usually positive, occasionally not so much out. However they forget that these are also conduits for reply, reply which is often public.
Lets take the scenario of my phone order to date and see…
User places and order on launch day with EE for a Nokia Lumia 920 which EE have brokered a deal to get as the sole supplier in the UK to aid the launch of their fledgling 4G service. The phone was announced by Nokia and Microsoft the day before and the stars seemed to align, after such a big press announcement the increased traffic to EE.co.uk perfect time for Nokia to shift a few phones and assist their bottom line.
The order was placed online and the user was send an automatic email stating that an EE rep would call them shortly
After waiting 2 days and having no reply, no call, no contact the user calls EE to see what is happening with the order, the user did try and call earlier but the call waiting had him on hold for over 2hrs. So as EE were using email as a conduit for messaging had also sent mail’s but had had no reply.
This isn’t something only EE have a problem with, Western Union, Qatar Airlines, O2, Three, Next are all companies which have a website pointing to a contact form, reply with an obligatory auto reply telling the user “someone will be in contact within 2 to 10 days” depending on the company and none of the above ever do. This does nothing but fustrate the customer. There is no reason on the planet a mail cannot be dealt with within working hours by a human to provide a response. Any company which tells you it will take 10 working days to respond to an email is not one you should be parting cash with.
So 2 days and another 90 minutes on hold, the user gets in touch with no an ee.co.uk employee but a tMobile employee who takes an order for the phone, is very helpful, takes a £19 charge for the phone and processes it. Tells the user the phone won’t be available to a couple of days but should receive a mail from ee informing about delivery. very good.
This is where it starts getting intresting as User hears that the Nokia 920 isn’t released for a while, so contacts EE via Twitter to find out when the phone is being released. the reply is “November” errr, it is November, several unanswered twitter messages later user goes Feral on EE and twitter bombs them with the same question “Can you tell your customers a date the phone will be dispatched” This started on the 4th November on the 6th Tweet back “Mr Field, the 9th November, please be patient”
First wrong move there by EE.. don’t tell a customer EVER to be patient, for 5 weeks leading up to the company launch i got emails, emails, facebook messages, tweets more communication than one man ever needs, now I have parted cash for your service it’s like i’m on Mars and the NASA funding has been pulled. Nothing, no public communication, no email telling me what is happening with my phone, no tweet replies for 2 days and you have my money, so no i’m orry I won’t be patient.. In fact I’ll be as patient as I’m guessing you will be if i don’t pay my first phone bill.. Could I mail you and tell EE.. “The money will come, be patient”
So Nokia Lumia Launch day, i get a mail from Nokia telling me the phone is shipped in the UK today, sweet i’ll get a mail from EE telling me just where the phone is, what day I will need to take off, while i sit at home all day waiting for a delivery which may ore may not turn up depending on which useless courier company they choose to use (previous experience with tMobile, this user watched the courier get out of the van, look at the flat and then get back in the van and drive off, caught him on Video doing it, courier stated he rang he bell 5 times no one in.. not on the video you didn’t my friend)
However nothing, no email, no tweet, and a facebook message on their wall from another Lumia 920 customer stating he had just been told all the 920’s were sent back as they didn’t work on the 4G network.
So i called them, however not on the number 0800 700 40000 on the mail’s i’ve been getting from them, because this number wasn’t working.. not on the number on the webpage as they don’t have one you can get to without a previous Orange or TMobile number, no on one halfway down the orange.co.uk website page on EE..
Was told (in a rather lovely Geordie accent) Just because Nokia are shipping the phone, doesn’t mean EE have received them..
Now call me stupid, again, no one can answer me this.. however i’ll ask again..
EE is a joint Orange and t-Mobile venture, two heavy hitters world wide in the phone industry, they need to make cash quickly on this network 4G wasn’t cheap to get up and running.
Nokia is all but bust, it needs this phone to be huge world wide, and then off the back of this make better smart phones.
I as a user knew the launch date of EE 4G was 31 Oct 2012
I as a user knew that there was a Microsoft event the day before promoting Microsoft’s new phone OS designed to work on a heavily promoted 4G phone.. Microsoft also need sales in Windows Phone 8 they are trialling very far behind the competition
So we have a phone network which needs to make money, a phone supplier who needs to make money and the provider of the phone OS who may not need to make money but does need to make ground quickly in this market..
yet 10 days after the first 4G network in the UK launches not one of these huge multi national companies can get a phone to a user?
Do we wonder why we are in a recession?
Ok, so i’ve been told on the phone i might get a contact mail on Monday or Tuesday when stocks arrive, this is good, however i’ve also been hitting Twitter hard for the same information all day and again, had spotted replies like “Mr Field, DM us your Name, DOB, phone number and order number” which i did but got no reply…
I got a twitter reply this morning telling me the phone might be dispatched on Wednesday, however may have to wait up to 14 days to receive my new phone…
Now this will be interesting if I do, as EE are actually coming into see me trying to get my companies business, a company VERY active in the IOS space right now.. I wonder just how the sales guy is going to feel when i tell him 28 days after ordering a phone from his company I still don’t have it.. If you can’t treat me right, then i’m not letting you near that phone contract..
Ok, yes, i’m whining, however not without just cause, this is displaying the root cause with big business today, social media, the internet is being marketed to hell by corporations, who can provide one way information, they are not able to follow up on simple procedures and keep customers informed once the money has been made yet will send you to court at the drop of a hat when you don’t communicate over bills with them. We want the economy to get better, how is this going to happen when companies can’t even get the simple things right? EE, Nokia, Microsoft are global employers and they cant get a phone to a user on a launch date.. When they go bust working people will loose their jobs.. hard working people, people who are often doing the jobs of 2 people to keep costs down.. because a few people at the top can’t sort their shit out..
Right now its a phone, this could be a gas or electricity supplier who don’t communicate with your elderly relatives due to cost cutting and cut them off, it could be a doctors surgery who don’t get back to a patient who ends up having cancer which could have been treated if it had been acknowledged 6 months earlier but wasn’t due to poor communication and over worked doctors.. Where does it stop?
If we are going to get this nation back on track then companies with great customer service have to be rewarded and even if that means they cost a little bit more. We need to start accepting that the cheapest deal isn’t the best one and maybe, just maybe we might get out of this hole..The tools are there, the tools are free lets make customer satisfaction more important than cost.