Losing your phone can be a harrowing experience. What makes it even more harrowing is if your network provider can not understand the gravity of the situation and can not empathise by just doing their job right. I personally hold telecom companies in the UK in very low regard when it comes to customer service. However this time, EE crossed all limits and proved that it deserves the first prize when it comes to bad customer service. Here is a list of things EE can not do when you have a problem.
1) They commit to sending you an email in 48 hours with the information you need (I needed proof that I am an EE customer using my phone and its make and model etc). However they cannot fulfil that commitment. I mean how hard is it to email some information right? Lets give them the benefit of the doubt here anyway.
2) Next when you point to them that they did not email you, they tell you they did but the email didn’t reach you perhaps. Fair enough, the postman loses the post all the time, can happen to email too. No problem, surely they can forward it again in a jiffy? Nope. Another commitment to send it in 48 hours. Me patiently waiting then…
3) Once the said time has elapsed I check my mailbox, still no email. So this time I call them in all optimism to surely get this resolved. A fine lad tells me that he has escalated this (AGAIN) and on priority and he assures me the email will be sent in the next couple of hours. Nope. EE cant send an email. (I must add I specifically asked him not to commit to something he didnt have control over but he insisted that it would only be a couple of hours)
4) Now I am really frustrated. So I try to speak with managers and supervisors and guess what? I am being told that people at EE can’t speak to each other. They are not allowed to pick up the phone and just speak to each other in order to resolve customer queries. How ironic! The whole enterprise prides in facilitating effective communication but for itself.
5) I also used their Live Chat facility at one point. The conversation I had with the agent there and her supervisor was particularly entertaining from a non-EE person’s perspective so I thought I would hit the ‘Email Transcript’ button there and share it with you. Guess what? They cant email transcripts. (As I write this, I am laughing and crying at the same time!)
(In case you are very smart and wondering – Yes I have checked my Junk mail and Spam mail and have been receiving all other emails regularly and on time)
So finally after almost 4 days of misery, I am no where near to getting the email I need from them with confirmation of a few account details for the insurance company. What is particularly interesting is that I also dont know what next step to take. Everytime I call them, they ask me to wait ‘a couple of hours’. I am totally left at their mercy and they are not doing anything to help me! Just excuses after excuses and a promise that some bloke somewhere in the world is slaving away trying to help me.
At one point another lady tried hard to convince me there was a problem with their email server sending these messages out! Its been happening for a few days. Thats convenient – she should have been in sales, I’m thinking. She would make a killing. I give her the benefit of the doubt but still cant trust her given what I had been through. So I reset my password online. Email comes in fine confirming the reset link! Am I really wrong in assuming these customer services guys are just a group of cowboys (and cowgirls?) who assume all customers are stupid and you can feed them any crap you like as long as you are polite and keep saying ‘thank you’ and ‘please’!
Some great management lessons in there I think. How processes can go wrong, how untrained staff can ruin a company’s reputation and goodwill and how poor customer service has such a profound effect on a sane person’s mental health and blood pressure. It took me 2 Ecosprins before I could write this blog and I think I need another one now. If you don’t hear from me in a couple of days I am probably busy personally couriering all my emails.
20 Jan: 10:30 am
I speak to another sorry agent and then get transferred to his supervisor. The supervisor seems like a nice chap and offers to call me after 30 mins with a solid update. No call received for an hour (Length of call – 30 mins)
20 Jan: 12:10pm
I call again since the supervisor didn’t call me. This time I speak to another guy named Aaron. His brilliant plan to end my frustration is raising yet another request and emailing the backoffice team. Fine, do it. This time I gave him another email address, just in case. He advised me that the initial request should complete by tonight and this new request should complete by tomorrow 5pm. So if I haven’t heard back from them by then, I should call customer services and ask to speak to him. (10 bucks says, he wont be working tomorrow or I will never be able to get through to him! Lets see!)