O2: phone service awful, store service great

iphonecant3 It’s been a major frustration since Boxing Day – no iPhone!

From one day to the next, my iPhone suddenly didn’t work. When I turned it on, all that happened is the screen you see in the image.

The most frustrating thing has been multiple (and all unsuccessful) attempts to speak to anyone at O2’s iPhone support department.

You phone the number, go through the recorded-voice menu choices… and you’re in a queue.

No matter which day it was, nor what time of day, I was in a queue. In total, I estimate I spent nearly 100 minutes on hold to O2 iPhone support during three call attempts, eventually giving up in each case.

And the hold music! Oh dear God, please don’t ever make me call O2 again if I have to endure that music! Here’s a two-minute sampler, a recording I made the last time I was on hold. Bet you can’t go beyond 15 seconds –

So a nice iPhone brick and I can’t get hold of anyone at O2 on a phone to talk about it. Today I decided to go and visit my nearest O2 store and see if anyone there could help.

Am I glad I did that! To my pleasant surprise, I encountered two O2 employees at the O2 Reading store – Sehana and Dan – who made me feel that a) they knew what they were doing and b) they actually did care about my problem and resolving it, even in a very busy store with long queues of customers.

Efficiently and purposefully, they investigated my problem and quickly concluded that a replacement under warranty was the thing to do.


No arguments, no quibbles, just enter some data, a couple of clicks, and get a printout confirming the exchange.

It’s not instant – it will be a week to ten days before I see the new iPhone – as it involves a warranty claim. That’s fine, I can live with that if it means the result is an iPhone without fault.

Plus I do have another mobile phone – my Nokia N95 8GB on a Vodafone contract – so I won’t be out of touch.

So while I think O2 really does need to have hard look at their structure for telephone customer support, and hoping I never ever have to call them again, as far as face-to-face in-store customer support is concerned, I cannot complain at all.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. topgold

    You've probably heard the ranting and the screeching by some Irish bloggers about their iPhone experience with O2. It sounds like O2-UK is taking a more customer-sensitive approach to things but I wonder why O2 isn't keeping an inventory of replacement iPhones close to hand.

    • neville

      It would have been totally awesome if the O2 store had been able to swap out the phone there and then. But I guess warranty claims aren't so easy to enable that without going through all sorts of procedures. And I noticed from the printout I have that all the data the O2 employees input was on an Apple site, not O2, and the new iPhone goes to the store in Reading, not direct to me, and I have to go in to pick it up.

      Not the simplest or quickest of procedures from the customer viewpoint but I'm ok with it.

      What would really have impressed the hell out of me would have been if the employees had been able to say "Can we provide you with a temporary phone while you wait for your replacement iPhone to arrive?"

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