No genius at O2

o2iphone I was in a Twitter conversation this morning with Luke Razzell about the iPhone and our different experiences when something goes wrong.

In Luke’s case, he had a problem with the antenna of his iPhone. He visited an Apple Genius Bar where his problem was identified and his phone replaced.

How quick was it? Luke says:

It literally took 5 mins on the spot—Genius checked it was a hardware issue (antenna), then swapped it.

While he waited, in other words.

Contrast that with my experience where I visited my nearest O2 store last Friday; they checked the phone and confirmed it would be replaced under Apple warranty… which will take a week to ten days.

Of course, Luke and I have different issues with our respective iPhones although the end result is the same: replace our phones for us.

So why couldn’t O2 have done the replacement there and then? Just wondering.

Hmm, let me just recap my recent experience with O2:

  1. After the iPhone conked out on Boxing Day, I spent the better part of 100 minutes over the subsequent week in three different calls on hold to O2’s iPhone support number, two of them on a landline at national call rate, the other on a mobile phone in which I’d plugged the O2 SIM card (and which call was disconnected after 30 minutes).
  2. In each call, I suffered the most awful hold music ever devised by man (or maybe it was an alien).
  3. Yesterday, O2’s PR on Twitter mused that my unsuccess in connecting with anyone in support was probably due to the iPhone’s popularity over Christmas: “Just seen your blog, sorry about the problems – iPhone v popular over Christmas. Let me know how you get on w/your phone returning.”
  4. A great experience at the O2 store in Reading last week was tempered somewhat by the fact that it’s going to be at least a week, and likely ten days, until a replacement iPhone arrives at the O2 store in Reading; they’ll call me and I then have to go into Reading to get it.
  5. Today I learn that my friend Luke popped in to his nearest Apple Genius Bar and got his faulty iPhone swapped while he waited.

I’m beginning to feel a little aggrieved with O2.

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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. David Hughes

    Hi Neville,

    I also took my iPhone to an Apple Store and it was tested and exchanged there and then – even though they were literally closing. In contrast to the O2 store opposite that quoted me a 10 day "exchange".

    I think that it is good that O2 are on Twitter but they run the risk of customer expectations and perceptions by not being able to more directly help and assist.

    After the iPhone pre-registration debacle you think O2 would have learnt that being busy is not an acceptable excuse for poor customer service. If a company hasn't the capacity that isn't the customers problem.

    David Hughes

  2. Brendan

    I feel your pain, in an non-iPhone way. I've been trying to get Virgin Media and BT to get together to flick a big switch to give me broadband since 26 Nov. It's taken at least five phone calls and careful explaining of the situation each and every time, often several times over. I've posted my grievances on several occasions online and neither company seems to have had the nous to be monitoring mentions online.

  3. Neil Chapman

    Neville – I followed your O2 travails on Twitter. I had an iPhone stolen over New Year. It was insured. With a couple of phone calls and a reference number I was able to walk into a store and leave with a replacement. It's through O2 also. I confess I was surprised about a 10 day exchange for something going wrong! I would have thought that would have been on the instant replacement list…
    And as for O2 contacting you on Twitter, what's that all about? As they say on Marketing Over Coffee – if your customer service is poor then social media won't help you .
    We exchanged comments about your Tesco's experience. Did Xmas take O2 by surprise too!
    Neil Chapman

  4. Adam Tinworth

    I had a similar, excellent experience with the Genius Bar and my iPhone. I was in there for an iMac repair, and mentioned in passing that I was having problems with my iPhone WiFi. They offered to test it, diagnosed a hardware fault and replaced it there and then.

  5. neville

    So what I'm getting from all your comments is two things:

    1. If I'd gone to an Apple Genius bar rather than to an O2 store, I might well have left with a replacement iPhone. Instead, after a visit to O2, I'm sitting here with no iPhone and about another week of waiting still to go before I see one again.

    2. A seriously increased feeling of being aggrieved about O2.

    As for the Twitter contacts from @O2UKOfficial, I'm a little nonplussed. I think the PR folk are trying to see how they can engage with people in the Twitter environment. That is terrific. Yet engagement in this medium more likely than not means addressing customer service issues. And I mean addressing. PR isn't the best avenue – unless the PR person can make things happen. No indicator of that so far.

      • neville

        Which is clearly my mistake – I saw the iPhone as an Apple product but O2 as the go-to place for service issues, especially a warranty issue.

        Traditional thinking; must learn to unthink :)

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