I wrote a couple of weeks ago about a friend’s challenging experience with a telecom operator struggling to deliver the omni-channel dream. I’m pleased to say that my friend eventually sorted out his bill. The charges for the cancelled line were all refunded, and the bills corrected going forward.
But I wish that was the end of the story. However, alongside the billing error, my friend was also trying to sort out another aspect of his new service. You see, in the operator store, my friend had signed up for a tariff that also included a free premium subscription to a music service. Now, as it happens, my friend was already a premium subscriber to that service so asked about transferring his existing account to the new operator-funded one.
My friend was assured he could simply accept the free offer, transfer his account and cancel his direct debit to save himself his current payment.
The operator concerned has been offering this free music service for around two years. I’m sure my friend is not the first existing premium subscriber to sign up for the deal and look to save his own personal investment. Strange then that neither the assistant in the shop, nor the online support team, nor the social media team actually knew the correct process that needed to be followed to achieve the transfer.
When my colleague was finding it impossible to activate the free subscription, he was told to remove/delete the service from his phone and then it would work. It didn’t, but my colleague lost all his downloaded music on his device and had to download them all again. My colleague was then advised to log out of the music service on all of his devices and then add the free subscription. That didn’t work either.
In the ongoing saga of attempting to sort out his other issues with the new contract, my friend was only trying occasionally to solve the music issue, but after about two months, he was advised by the operator to cancel his existing direct debit subscription first and then activate the free service – and to do so over a cellular connection, not over WiFi. That too failed, but it was the clue to the right approach.
Checking on the web forum of the music service my friend discovered that the way to activate the operator service was first to unsubscribe, then to wait for his existing premium subscription to run out. The service would then resort to the free, ad-supported version, but activating the operator’s promotion then would trigger the carrier-funded free premium account.
My friend told the operator’s social media team via email that this was the course of action advised. A few days later he received an email from the Operator’s technical support team also advising him to take that approach. He did, it worked, but his music will all need to be downloaded again in order to play it offline.
Of course, a true omni-channel approach would mean sales teams in the store, and the various customer helplines would know how this promotion worked and could advise straightaway on the process to be followed.
Frustrated at it taking almost three months to resolve the issue, my friend asked the operator for a refund of the amount he had paid for the premium service – after all he could have cancelled it straightaway if they had been able to advise him of the correct way to activate the promotion. The operator agreed and made the payment.
So in this instance, when an omni-channel approach doesn’t work, not only does the customer get frustrated and angry with the operator, the promotion ends up costing the operator real revenue in compensation. And that, most certainly, is not music to anyone’s ears.