When Apple asked about O2

applesurveysm I had an email from Apple this morning, asking me to take a brief survey regarding my recent sorry experience with my iPhone which was replaced under warranty last week.

“Dear Apple Customer,” it began. “Apple would like to get your feedback regarding your recent iPhone service experience at your local Phone Network Provider,” they said. “The responses you provide in this survey will be used to improve our support services and our products.”

The phone network provider Apple refers to is O2, which is the exclusive mobile operator for the iPhone in the UK.

If you’ve followed my travails with the iPhone since Christmas, you’ll know what I think of O2’s iPhone support structure.

So I thought, here’s a great opportunity to tell Apple what I really think of O2.

Yet I ended up choosing responses in the survey that were more positive about my overall service experience: after all, the service I eventually received via the O2 store in Reading ultimately did resolve the issue, ie, I received a new iPhone replaced free of charge under the Apple limited warranty.

My dissatisfaction with O2 – the negative feeling about which is as strong today as it was a week ago – is mostly to do with the useless telephone support service for iPhone. That’s my whole experience of it: useless.

So I did take the opportunity of letting Apple know my thoughts about that part of O2’s service.

10a. Is there anything else that you would like to share with Apple about your recent service experience with the Phone Network Provider? (Note: 2000 character limit)

The iPhone telephone support service offered by O2 in the UK is the worst of any mobile operator that I have experienced. Before visiting the O2 store for help, I made three attempts to contact O2’s iPhone support line, each of which was unsuccessful: all I experienced was 100 minutes of being on hold. A useless service.

I hope Apple shares that with O2. But will that make any difference to anything?

My final thought: nice to hear from Apple asking for my opinion. Not a word from O2, though, since the warranty replacement. I did get some sympathetic noises from the PR on Twitter at the time, but that was it.

A Comcast Cares O2 is definitely not.

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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. Mike

    My thoughts are that nobody high enough to help ever reads these surveys.

    I used the feedback form on a website for the Ryman Auditorium to express my displeasure with some of their services. No reply.

    3-4 weeks later I get another ofrm by email and I reply with the same displeasure. No reply.

    Both times I left a phone number and email addy.

    Why do they bother to ask? Because some consultant told them they should.

    What they forgot to mention was that you had to read and take action on complaints. That would be “secret of the survey”.

    I think I’ll blog about that and link here !

  2. Jason Mical

    See, what I don’t understand is the need for a survey in the first place. It shows two things:

    You’ve been blogging and tweeting about this actively for a month. If they had been paying attention and monitoring the Internet, they should already have this information and know exactly what you think.

    And the second: if they were genuinely concerned with customer service / online PR (which are, I maintain, damn near one and the same) they wouldn’t have sent you a generic survey. The survey is likely computer-triggered when someone files a service report, and they didn’t even make the effort to fill in variables. Phone Network Provider? Surely they would at least know that it’s O2 from whatever service report that was filled in, and could fill that variable in correctly? And you’re ‘Apple Customer’ instead of ‘Neville?’ Even a minor step in personalization to make it look like they made some kind of effort? It’s about one step shy of some Brazil-like ‘GREETINGS LOYAL CUSTOMER #480965437, PLEASE TELL US ABOUT YOUR RECENTLY PURCHASED GOOD OR SERVICE BEEP BEEP.’

    This is more a study in the failure of the company to engage its dissatisfied customers online in a personal, meaningful way. You’re right when you said omcast Cares this is not. It’s practically an old phone opinion survey from the 1970s!

    There’s probably another blog post in here somewhere… Or at least some good tweets about it.

  3. neville

    You’ve both got to the heart of things. I think, though, that you, Jason, have really made the point in a very clear way:

    You’ve been blogging and tweeting about this actively for a month. If they had been paying attention and monitoring the Internet, they should already have this information and know exactly what you think.

    Someone at O2 HQ has certainly paid attention, judging from inbounds to this particular post from O2 domain addresses as recorded in my server logs. But no outreach. Even the PR Twitterer has gone silent on me over the past few weeks.

    But that’s ok, it’s in line with my low expectations of actual customer service.

  4. Jason Mical

    I’m not surprised they’re paying attention, and having been on the digital PR side of this equation before I can imagine exactly what’s happening: a big tech influencer has blogged negatively about an experience with their service, and they’re paying to have it monitored – but for whatever reason someone up the chain thinks that commenting here or getting in touch with you privately would somehow make matters worse.

    If that’s what’s happening, it’s kind of a neat little microcosm the state of digital PR right now. I bet the person up the chain wouldn’t hesitate to drop a hundred thousand pounds on a “viral video with guaranteed 100,000 views!” that does absolutely nothing in terms of helping the brand, but they’re scared of actually engaging with you, a real customer, for a far lower cost and potentially higher (but not quite as ‘measureable,’ whatever that means) returns.

    I didn’t mean to turn this into my own little essay, but it’s very very interesting that O2 is clearly monitoring this post but won’t send you even an email or a tweet about your experience, not even to ask how you would make it better – which would be something so simple and easy, and show they ‘get’ customer service in an age when any customer can tell the world about their bad experiences.

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