As you know I’ve been reading Richard Branson’s book “Business Stripped Bare” and from it you’d be forgiven for believing that great customer service was one of their key values.
I like Richard Branson, I like his books, I don’t like the way I was treated by his Virgin Mobile sales team.
This is a story about how NOT to treat a customer, and at the same time some suggestions to help any organisation “do customer service better.”
Let me explain what happened.
It’s Easy To Order A Phone
The problem is actually getting it!
I ordered a new phone on Wednesday 25th March. OK, no problem everything apparently went through fine. I was told the phone would arrive the next morning.
The next morning, no phone!
So on Friday I phone sales and ask about the phone. Oh yes, apparently I had too many phones on my account so I was referred. But it came back alright and they’ll get the phone out to me on Saturday.
Saturday morning, no phone.
I ring Saturday afternoon. Oh, apparently there is no order or any record of the phone. The very pleasant sales lady suggests that it’s probably because they’ve new systems.
Hmm. Anyway, she re-orders the phone and says she will make sure it goes through so I’ll get it sometime on Monday. And each time I re-order the phone I pay the delivery charge – I’m just hoping the mix-up also applies to the 2 delivery charges against my credit card and they’re not charged.
When Will The Phone Arrive?
Of course on Monday nothing arrives…
I begin to wonder whether I should be using Virgin Mobile for my mobile needs…
Anyway, I make the call to customer services again, who pass me through to sales. After some fantastic amount of looking through what’s happened so far, what the current state of play is they come back to me to tell me that the phone that I’m ordering as part of the contract now costs money because it’s been removed from the contract I’m buying.
OK, through slightly gritted teeth I point out that I ordered it some time ago when it was still available for that contract. The sales rep puts me on hold again…
I begin to earnestly flick through T-mobile and Orange sites to see if they’ve the phone I want.
Finally he comes back to me, of course they’re not now going to charge me for delivery. Good. And they will get the phone to me as though it were ordered when I ordered it! Well that’s all good so far.
The sales rep tells me that the phone will arrive on Thursday.
Wednesday I Get A Phone Call
Today I get another call from one of the many customer service reps I also spoke to. He’s a very nice gentleman and a credit to Virgin Mobile. He leaves a message asking me to ring him back if I still want to set up the contract I wanted…
I begin to lose the will to live.
Anyway, I ring Andrew up. He’s a lovely and polite customer service rep and informs me that my phone has not actually been set-up to be ordered properly!
I laugh! It does slightly verge on the hysterical. When I get my breathe back Andrew tells me he’ll sort it out and the phone will be with me on Thursday as planned. He intends watching it to make sure it happens and will ring me on Wednesday to tell me all is well for Thursday.
The Story’s Not Finished Yet
I’m hopeful that this time the phone will be with me as planned on Thursday. I’ll let you know either way.
The Customer Service Lessons I Took
I think Virgin Mobile needs to look at how the handover between different sales team and their finance and sign-off teams work. And some of the things that would beneit from a good review include:
- Make sure the whole customer process works!
- Find out why orders are not going through correctly, despite being ordered several times and fix it.
- Don’t tell the customer that the offer they thought they paid for is no longer valid. Just give it to them.
- If a customer comes back twice about the same subject allocate a member of the team to follow-up all the way through the order process until they’re satisfied.
- And volunteer to refund the money they’ve spent getting through and compensate them with mobile minutes or the time they’ve spent on hold.
The best way to improve customer service is to continually (each week) have a meeting to discuss and resolve one issue. Doing so will improve customer satisfaction, Virgin will make more profit. Currently they’ve lost the distribution fee I paid as I’ve now been given it free to part compensate for all my time.