Customer Service Stories : Has EE Got Its Wires Crossed With ‘Priority Answer’ Service?
Article submitted by Sabio
EE describes itself as the UK’s most advanced digital communications company, however it would seem it got it’s wires crossed when it revealed its Priority Answer initiative that lets customers jump the queue if they’re prepared to pay 50p for the privilege.
In launching its new service EE presumably thought it was improving service by increasing customer choice. Unfortunately the initiative had the opposite effect. Social media responses were predictably forceful in their outrage, while a poll of over 3,000 Telegraph Online readers revealed that just 15% of readers would actually be prepared to pay in order to jump to the front of the service queue.
Why Did Everyone Get So Angry?
Largely it seems that EE broke an unwritten rule by actually raising the issue of prioritising customers. While we all secretly suspect that organisations have fast track services that aren’t available to everyone, most consumers would generally prefer not to know about them.
Twitter feedback to the EE announcement particularly focused on how the firm weren’t treating people fairly or equally. Fair enough, but perhaps not really surprising from an industry sector that has always divided its customers into PAYG (Pay As You Go) and Pay Monthly.
What Should EE Have Done Differently?
It would have been far better for the company to have chosen a more intelligent way of routing their customer contacts. The latest multi-channel contact centres can happily integrate both digital and traditional interactions, and are also able to combine both historical and real-time contextual information to improve contact quality. Given this, it’s surely possible for an organisation of EE’s stature to take advantage of the increasing level of customer context that’s available to them.
Traditionally organisations have only thought of context in terms of financial value – or how much money is this customer spending with me. Not surprisingly, high value has corresponded with attempts to prioritise service.
However, context can also now be applied in a much more three-dimensional manner. From EE’s perspective, a customer might have also been trying to get in touch via email or social media. They might have an ongoing support issue that hasn’t been resolved? They may be coming up to the end of their contract? It’s only when all these factors are considered that true prioritisation can be achieved.
What Should EE Do Now?
Probably the best thing is to apologise quickly, re-iterate how much they value all their customers, and look again at their prioritisation strategy.
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Sabio is a specialist customer service and contact centre systems integrator focused on delivering exceptional customer contact strategies and solutions based on best-of-breed technologies from partner organisations such as Avaya, Nuance and Verint. Sabio offers business consulting, systems integration and managed services and has worked with many major organisations across the UK including Argos, Brewin Dolphin, BT Business, Business Stream, Eurostar, Homeserve, Leeds City Council, Office Depot, Thames Water and the multi-award winning Lebara Mobile.
Published: Thursday, January 8, 2015
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