Why is customer service so bad at mobile phone companies?

I have just wasted two hours of my precious Sunday off trying to do a straightforward transaction with O2. I ploughed my way through the automated answering system five times and spent an excessive amount of time in a queue and was cut off three times, once whilst speaking to an adviser. Why didn’t that adviser ring me back? Their system had asked me to input the number I wanted to speak to them about but that was the first question she asked me. We were cut off before I’d completed giving the number and the line was diabolical (I was calling from an 02 phone!)

I tried following instructions to join a text chat. The system fell over at the third question! So I got on live chat on the computer. They couldn’t help me because I needed to speak to someone! A not so virtuous circle.

Why can’t companies look at their service from the customer’s perspective?

This all started when we bought a new phone contract in one of their stores yesterday. No problems there. Helpful assistant, good choice of deals, our choice in stock. However now my daughter is no longer a student the time has come for her to take out her own contract. Quite reasonably she wants to keep her number which is currently in my name. In order to do this we have to call customer service a day after we set up the new contract which is where this saga began.

O2 customer service failure

My O2 phone should be able to have a secure connection to their call centre, shouldn’t it?

Why do I have to spend hours on my phone, probably to India, in order for them to give me a password to give to my daughter to change ownership? I understand the need to have the permission of the number’s owner which is why I went to the shop with her. Why can’t they design a system which the shop can use to help their customers right away?

If companies really looked at their service from their customers’ perspective I am convinced that both they and their customers would win. I can’t have been the only person calling 02 today to resolve something they would have preferred to do in store. If O2 designed their procedures so that their stores didn’t have to tell customers to call customer service that would automatically cut the queues so that callers would be dealt with more quickly.

Let’s be a bit more radical!

I can’t be the only parent who has taken out a phone contract for their child. Why can’t mobile phone companies design a contract in such a way that the number belongs to the child whilst responsibility for the bill is with the parent? Then when the child wants to take out their own contract they just take their number and the parent cancels their part of the contract. Simple! My business bank account is in my name but ‘Trading As The Training Pack’, it’s the same sort of idea here. So come on your lawyers and marketeers design a mobile phone contract for parents where the number and responsibility can be transferred to the child at a point of their choosing.

Here’s a challenge!

This isn’t the first time I’ve bemoaned customer service at a mobile phone company and sadly it probably won’t be the last. Between my immediate family we have tried them all and found them all wanting. If one company could really sort out their customer service they would probably clean up and the rest would have to follow suite or go out of business. So come on you mobile phone companies which of you will it be?

Glenda Shawley of The Training Pack helps small businesses to grow by selling more to new and existing customers. To find out how we can help you email blog@thetrainingpack.co.uk


3 thoughts on “Why is customer service so bad at mobile phone companies?

  1. I’m hopeful that the transfer is about to happen after speaking to a very helpful Andy in ‘retention’. However I only got through to him after speaking to a young lady who didn’t seem to think they could do what I wanted to do when I asked for it as the procedure Livechat told me I needed to activate. Come on O2 sort out your systems and make them clear to all staff and customers and you’ll save a whole bundle of time and a lot of customer aggro!

  2. Glenda, It’s a shame that most miss the true purpose of customer service. A customer service protocol (your call center/complaints department/returns policy) that is built around stall, deny, begrudge and finally, to the few who persist, then they might want to continue with their request, is a total failure.

    • You are so right Patrick. I did eventually get through to someone who did understand the importance of good customer service and did his best to retrieve the situation but by then the damage had been done.

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