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EE’s UK Customer Service Solution – 50p to Jump the Phone Queue

Friday, August 15th, 2014 (10:00 am) - Score 1,653

Some operators seem to have a knack for finding new ways of annoying their customers. As a case in point, EE has decided that broadband and mobile customers who call their support line will be offered the ability to jump in front of the queue for an additional one-off fee of 50 pence.

Until recently most customers who called EE’s support line would have done so without charge, although some still had to pay a standard call fee (depending upon the number dialled and whether it was from a home phone or mobile), but all would have been treated equally. The new 50ppriority” fee changes that.

As the BBC points out, customers of EE aren’t terribly happy about the move and some understandably fear it suggests that the operator might not be trying hard enough to answer non-prioritised calls or that the queue for everybody else will simply take longer to clear. Indeed if a batch of new callers all jumped the queue at once then we could imagine the situation becoming quite annoying for those left on hold.

All of this at a time when, according to Ofcom’s data for Q1-2014, EE remain the most complained about provider for both mobile and home broadband services (here). In fairness they have been improving, but this latest adjustment could potentially generate more complaints from customers who simply give up trying to get through. But so far the system hasn’t been live long enough to measure its true impact.

On the flip side operators are facing mounting pressures from the threat of higher licence fees for their radio spectrum (here) and Ofcom’s demand that calls made to 0800, 0808 and 116 numbers are FREE from mobiles as well as fixed phone lines (here). Not to mention Europe’s ever growing moves to wipe out roaming fees. So, at the same time as revenues are being hit, operators are also being asked to improve. Difficult.

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16 Responses
  1. Avatar DTMark says:

    Maybe the reason that EE get so many calls is because there is no means of contacting them by email. The only means of contacting them in writing is to send a letter by post.

    That and broken transmitters.

    There is a “complaints form” which enables you to write a message. I tried this, and got no response at all.

    Coincidentally, looking now, their contact page has changed slightly and there is now, for instance, a contact number for “mobile broadband” when there used to be none.

    But it’s a mobile number. Maybe it all goes to one guy who works from home 😉

    Customer service is certainly not EE’s strong point.

  2. Avatar steve says:

    Does the 50p charge ensure you speak to someone who know what the hell they are talking about rather than the normal fob off! EE/orange is crap, soon as my contract is up I am off.

    1. Avatar sentup.custard says:

      You need the £2.50 service, Steve.
      That’s 50p to actually get your call answered…
      plus 50p to be connected to someone who speaks English…
      plus another 50p to be connected to someone who also understands English…
      plus another 50p to be connected to someone who has vaguely heard of the existence of something called “the internet”…
      plus another 50p to be connected to someone who managed to find the “on” switch for their brain when they got up this morning.

      A bargain really. 😉

  3. Avatar Bo Selecta says:

    What happens if everyone chooses to pay 50p?

    1. Avatar DTMark says:

      It goes up to £1?

    2. Avatar CKMK says:

      The hire a couple of extra staff and the queue disappears.

    3. Avatar DTMark says:

      I reckon my suggestion is more likely 😉

      Actually, their ads really annoy me. The ones with that American oh-so-good-time guy on the roller-coaster. It that the same aggravating bloke in the “Enterprise – We’ll pick you up” (ha ha, what a pun) ad?

      I don’t really think they’re quite spreading the “US-style customer service” in the way the ads might lead you to believe.

  4. Avatar Kits says:

    Well once my mobile BB contract is up will be looking at other providers as Orange when using it in wales is very hit and miss on 3g.

    Also recently my EE contract phone has been losing signal more often or dropping down to 2 bars from 5.

    Time to try somewhere else after many years of being happy with them.

  5. Avatar Steve Jones says:

    How long before some company latches onto the idea of bidding for support calls. They could rank their staff in order of helpfulness and callers could place their stake eBay style, albeit on a shorter cycle. For the desperate they could have a “buy now” option…

    1. Avatar sentup.custard says:

      …but as it’s EE, selecting the “Buy now” option will only get you an error message.

  6. Avatar Captain Cretin says:

    @Steve jones.

    You can already do this on a legal help site I used last year; you post the help/question you need answering – and the amount you are willing to pay, and then the various “experts” decide if they want to make an offer for the work.

  7. Avatar Owl. says:

    The thing is they are just testing the water,if people totally ignore it then it will go away but if people start paying then they will push it out and probably start making some charge to be in the normal queue.Also no doubt that other carriers are monitoring this.?

  8. Avatar John says:

    Another reason i’m so glad they cut my contract off on thursday back there. Their customer service has definety went down hill in a very big way and this adds more fuel to a simmering fire

    1. Avatar Sledgehammer says:

      They were bad when they went under the name of “FREESERVE”, changed their name a few times and the help side of things has taken a downward slide at every change of name.

    2. @Sledgehammer Orange never operated or traded as Freeserve.

      Freeserve was acquired by Wanadoo. Wanadoo and Orange had same parent companies, France Telecom. Freeserve was rebranded as Wanadoo and then a couple of years later was rebranded to become Orange.

  9. I don’t care much about the re-branding.All that matters is good service delivery.

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