back to article Mobile survey uncovers staff ignorance

A survey from has highlighted how little networks know about their own tariffs. Price comparison service called mobile phone operators 100 times each, asking a range of pretty basic questions about their call costs and roaming charges. The results were surprising, with up to 40 per cent of calls …


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  1. Duncan Lundie

    Orange customer services

    I tried to get Orange to replace a normal SIM for a USIM. It took 4 phone calls and a visit to one of the Orange shops for me to discover that they won't do it. Some of the responses I recieved were: it's already a USIM, we just need to activate 3G, go to the shop, there's no such thing, go to the shop and go to the shop.

  2. begbie

    call centres do not provide customer service

    call centre does not equal customer service. irrespective of industry. its the nature of the beast unfortunately. Staff turnover is high and as such companies dont want to pay too much because hiring costs are so high and then people dont stay so companies are constantly training (poorly if at all) agents to a minimal level in order to keep costs down. as a result in depth knowledge is scarce, overly complex billing structures dont help this, and the poor bugger on the end of the line straight from the job centre of arts degree doesnt have a clue what you're raving about. this is not going to change today or tomorrow. Call centres and customer service in general are viewed by companies as a cost that must be reduced at every opportunity. They do not want to invest anything really in this aspect of their business as it is non revenue generating. The future? Rampant skepticism on my part. I workin in a call centre for 4 years (for my sins) and performance and working conditions were worse when i left than when i joined. I have some sympathy for people working there but its bloody thankless stuff they do and no matter how hard you try you are one link in a chain and that chain will, nine times out of ten, screw you over the very second you promise a customer even a basic level of service. Still though, I'm not bitter...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    O2 are getting sloppy

    I have been with O2 for many years and although I can't deny their network coverage is good, their customer services and tariffs suffer heavily in certain areas.

    On many occasions when I have phoned the customer services, the person on the other end seems to be unsure of the answers and normally not interested in trying to answer them. It's clear the problems are within and it's us customers who are getting the brunt of it when phoning up.

    I would say O2 are making the common mistake of big brand name knowing new customers will always come to them but not respecting those customers who are already there!

    If there was ever a case of changing the management in the organisation then this is it. The company are going through what Marks and Spencers did a while back and starting to come apart at the seams. At least M&S changed the management and sorted things out. Can O2 do the same...?!!

    Finally, tariffs. I find the data packages on their tariffs are shocking as the maximum you can get is the 1mb free and a 1 x bolt on of 4mb, totalling 5mb. In the space of a month this figure can easily be overstepped and they offer no other options. As one member of staff said to me, 'sorry, this is the maximum we are allowed to offer. I know it's really bad compared to other networks but that's all I can do. I'd suggest moving networks if you need more data usage.'

    Hooray, finally an answer which was helpful and true. Shame it was another network they had to refer to though!

    O2...sort it out before other networks cash in on your negative publicity!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I have been with 3 for 12 months (of an 18-month) contract. Recently I decided to upgrade my 'phone for a new N93 - paid the difference and waited - and waited. A headset appeared, but no 'phone. Again I 'phoned them and was told that the N93 was not available at that time only the N95 and they were going to dispatch that to me next day. Great - an even better 'phone at a good price.

    Did it arrive. No. I have called them repeatedly and keep getting told that the 'phone will arrive. They have the handset in stock, or so I am told, and it is just a matter of logistics Where are they kept,; the moon?

    As to 3's customer care - they are based in India - the call centre staff do their best with the limited english that they have. Mind you, I have found that if you call between 11am and 3pm you do get to speak to someone in England.

    Will I renew my contract after the 18-month period - Never !

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call Centres and Customer Service: more

    Further to the comment by begbie, I would agree entirely - particularly as I have worked in this very realm for most of this decade.

    The most annoying thing is, not everyone is like this - some of us actually know our stuff and keep up to date with this kind of thing. The fact that many of the people we work with have customer service experience but little knowledge or enthusiasm for the products - meaning that fault diagnosis becomes hard as they don't understand the basics, or have no practical experience.


    My first employer in this sphere (one of the networks) put me through weeks of training to start with, with full network basics, tariff training, customer service training, etc - meaning that I had a full grounding in what I was dealing with. My current employer does nothing of the sort, which is hardly a way to ensure that customers have confidence in what they do.

    Until the networks and providers realise that providing customers with a mobile 'phone service is more than about the sale, the contract and related bonuses - it is about ensuring that customers are properly informed at point of sale and for the duration of the contract, which of course includes staff that know what they are doing - we will not see any improvement in the sorry state of affairs that are reflected by the results of this survey.

  6. Andy Hards


    I've just signed my second 18 month contract with 3 and have found the India based technical staff well informed and able to help every time. Not all the options get you through to knowledgeable staff but my experience has been great. I've even had to send my new N73 back twice (once due to software, the other due to me dropping it) and my other phone back once and every time it's been sent by me (my choice, they did offer to collect ) and delivered back within a week with the proble solved. Even when I had a problem with an unexpected 250 quid bill due to data charges as when you get x series as an add on the 1gig of data has to last you for two months. They removed the charges and now send you a text to tell you when you are approaching your limits.

    The shop staff however seemed to know NOTHING about their products and I had to tell them about some features of the x series 3 months after it had come out as the girl in the shop had heard of it but knew nothing about it.

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