Sunday, 19 May 2013

Immobile Phone

Nothing to do with cars this one, just a general moan about the mobile phone industry.

Mrs Blatter has a mobile as do the two daughter Blatters - as you'd expect. Mrs Blatter works for the education authority which entitled her to a discount from Orange, so all three of the girlie Blatters were with that network, on contract, with insurance.

Then the cost of the insurance went up, the benefits provided went down. Then the cost of the CONTRACT went up (the word "contract" must have some strange other meaning within mobile phone circles). The upshot is, my wife is currently paying £80 / month for three non-smart phones, one of which has a broken charger point - AGAIN (the third time this has happened).

In the mean time Orange has merged with T-mobile to form EE or some equally unlikely name. "Shall we call customer services, or go into town & talk to a person?" she enquired, I thought in my innocence, that talking to a person in a shop would get more accomplished, so we set off.

We went into the shop in the local shopping centre - there was a queue, between customers, one of the boys behind the counter suggested there may not be a queue at their other shop upstairs, feeling slightly incredulous, I followed my wife & youngest up the escalator & found another shop run by the same network. Here there was no queue.

We enquired about my wife's enquiry - a simple one, it said in the "contract" that after 1/2 the contracted period, she could switch to a lower rate (call me suspicious, but the rate hike mentioned above is starting to look pre-planned). The boy behind that counter couldn't help "because they are an ex-T-mobile shop, so can't help with ex-Orange contracts - you need an ex-Orange shop".

We went for a coffee, while heading for one of the dozens of coffee shops, we passed a third EE shop, we called in & asked, we were told that while they were indeed an ex-orange shop, they could do nothing in the shop, we had to call customer services. SORRY? you're paying High Street rates for ground rent & Sunday rates for staff to tell us that you're no use at all?

We had our coffee & headed back to the car. On the way we passed a FORTH shop run by the same network, also open, also with two boys in. We asked the obvious question first - they were ex-T-mobile, but asked if they could help - presumably out of sheer boredom. After a brief run-down, no they couldn't. Furthermore, "don't call customer services now" they said "you'll never get through, try 9:00 - 10:00 in the morning" (Mrs Blatter will be at work).

So, what we find is this:
EE run at least four shops on the local high street & open them all on a Sunday - 8 people.
Ex-Orange shops can't talk to ex-T-mobile customers & vice-versa.
The staff in those shops are mostly stood about with nothing to do.
The staff in those shops can't help with anything to do with an existing contract.
Customer services - who can deal with existing contracts - don't have enough people to man all the phones.

I have no business management training, but I can see some potential improvements to their business model.

Can you children?

No comments:

Post a Comment