When is an iPhone not an iPhone?

I find myself on the cusp of leaving my current mobile phone provider.

Not because I can get a better deal elsewhere. And not because their competitors offer better handsets or have erected more masts.

Let’s face it, an iPhone is an iPhone, a Blackberry is a Blackberry and a signal is a signal. Does it really matter which company you choose to provide yours? OK, so price can be a differentiator, but fierce competition means narrow pricing spreads. Which is nice.

For me the real differentiator is customer service.

On two separate occasions recently, one over the phone and the other in the flesh, my current mobile telecoms provider has stretched my patience to the limit and caused my blood to boil. The crime on both occasions was borne out of nothing more than indifference and laziness.

I’m not usually this tolerant. A single piss-poor customer experience is usually enough to push me into the outstretched arms of a competitor; something I have done twice in recent years, once with my digital TV provider and once with my mobile phone provider. That said, I’m normally a very loyal customer. Ask First Direct; I’ve been with them for 22 years and I still love them because of their exceptional telephone operators.

On this occasion it’s going to be a question of 3 strikes and you’re out, because in fairness up until a month ago they had been pretty damned good. But given that 3 out of the 4 mobile contracts in my household are with them, I’d say they are in a state of high risk.

I thought I’d try a little experiment. I’ve read quite a bit about how enlightened companies are using Twitter as an additional customer services channel by intercepting negative sentiment and proactively engaging with unhappy customers and turning them from public detractors to advocates. I even wrote about it myself back in April.

I thought I’d try my current mobile provider out. I’m going to give them a chance to redeem themselves by identifying me as a seriously pissed of customer and go some way to restoring my faith in them by showing some interest and offering me some assistance if appropriate.

Instead of complaining openly on Twitter in the traditional manner I’m going to try something a bit different. Through a few deliberately provocative tweets I’m going to give them the chance to identify me as their customer without me actually telling them that I am.

I’m hoping one or more of my tweets will lead them back to this page, where they can read that they have my explicit permission to call me, DM me or email me to discuss the reasons why I am so upset with them.

If they manage to do this I will not publish details of the two very shoddy customer experiences they have recently forced me to endure.

In order to narrow the field, I will merely say that O2, Vodafone, T-Mobile or Orange – it could be you…

5 thoughts on “When is an iPhone not an iPhone?

  1. When I get to the end of my contract I’m changing solely on the basis of shoddy product. I’m with Orange and how they can charge me what they do given that I can be sat in the middle of London, not at a football match or other event where thousands of people are all trying to do the same thing at once, but just in a normal cafe on a normal street, and I STILL can’t use the internet. It happens all the time.

    And as for all the hype about their deal with T-Mobile I’m certainly not seeing any changes yet. My BlackBerry, however, is on Vodafone and I rarely have difficulties with it. Vodafone – I’m a comin’ !

  2. @Mike Can you get internet connectivity at football matches on Vodafone? Have to say lack of bandwidth at the football does my head in but I assume it is the same for everyone and it is an excusable problem.

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