Mobile Network Customer Servitude

Mike Street of AirG on momoLondon recently caught my attention with the comment “Customer Service, like connection quality, doesn’’t seem to be a point of differentiation. Price, price & price are the only ones.”

I’ve certainly had that experience. Switching to O2 from Vodafone last year proved a disaster. Writing a two page letter of complaint and sending recorded delivery didn’t seem to trigger a response either. My problems surrounded roaming (I travel frequently and my bills range from £200 to £800 a month). The classic was spending 2 1/2 hours and 8 phone calls to sort out full roaming in Jan 2005 before a trip to New York; finally at the airport terminal it was confirmed I was unbarred (eventually someone WITH a brain I spoke to in Network Services sorted things out – not customers services – as I was almost boarding the plane), only to find that by the time I arrived at my accommodation in NY4am4am GMT) I was cut off again. This was after I had made numerous calls in the UK to try and make a pre-payment, and when I had finally got through to the right accounts dept they refused to take the payment saying I didn’t need to make a pre-payment. I’d just transferred from VF.

No-one could do anything, apparently because it was 4am UK time and my account was with “a different department” and they had NO numbers for that department, or any email addresses; nothing apparently. The dept in question opened at 9am. Questions to the call centre manager I was speaking such as: “You are telling me that you work for O2, the other manager for the dept I need to speak to works for O2, but you have NO contact information them? Not even an email address? Don’t you have a company directory?”….They said they would leave a msg to call me back at 9am UK time. No one did. Eventually after another 45 mins on the phone later the next day NY time, 24 hours later they reconnected me for international calls. Naturally I didn’t get reimbursed for the £30 international call I had to make to achieve this.

The truth is, all Customers Service at MNO’s are a disaster. I don’t know any one who has a good thing to say about any MNO customer service. I even wrote to an O2 Head Office about this, sent recorded delivery. I never had a response.

The worst telephone company however (other than NTL) has to surely be Talkland. A reseller of Cellnet many moons ago, my first analogue mobile was connected with them – forget customer service, even their bills were wrong. Talkland goes down in my mind as one of the most unprofessional disorganised companies of the 20th Century!

UPDATE–1804hrs
I was wrong, Mark Curtis said that he thinks Orange customer service is great. Any advance..?

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