I always vowed never to write a piece based on my own personal experience as a telecom consumer.
But I am excusing myself just this once because two things happened to me in the last week that have caused me to question whether operators really are committed to improving the customer experience. And just to be clear, I am adopting a broad definition here of customer experience rather than the narrow big data and analytics part of the equation.
Strictly speaking, the first thing happened to my partner rather than to me. My partner has never been a big fan of mobile phones. She was late to get her first mobile phone and late to start texting. But like many such people she couldn’t now live without her mobile. Last week when her phone kept crashing every time she tried to delete a text message she called her service provider to ask for a new phone. It turned out that her (two year) contract had expired a month ago and, as such she was due a free upgrade. So far, so good.
But when she asked for the same type of phone as her current one – a Nokia feature phone used just to make calls and send messages – she was told by the customer service representative that there were no feature phones in stock and that he could only offer her a touch-screen smartphone or a Blackberry. He recommended a Samsung Galaxy S because “I’ve got one and I really like it.”
When my partner told me about her experience I suggested that she did what every discontented UK mobile phone subscriber does and call her operator back and tell them that she wanted her PAC code to change service provider. By this time she had done her homework and checked out the best deals available in the market. So when she was put through to the disconnections team she knew exactly how hard she could negotiate. And lo and behold, she got her Nokia feature phone (the one which was not available when she called the day before) and a much cheaper monthly bundle (£8 per month rather than the £26 she was originally quoted).