Need help? Chat to a cut-and-paste robot.
January 19, 2013
So, I need to buy a mobile wifi device. Not a dongle but one that creates your very own wireless hotspot and allows 5 devices to connect at any one time. But I only want to use it every now and again so think perhaps pay as you go rather than contract. Google comes up with a plethora of information and I am drowned in a sea of meaningless contracts and GBs. 3G, 4G, 5Live. It’s all above my paygrade. My last encounter with a phone shop (O2 in Ealing) left me reeling from the aggression, unhelpfulmness and rudeness of the overweight girl who “served” me. (See how I got an irrelevant personal comment in there – shows how pissed off I was. I revert to being ten and trading insults.) But at least she didn’t get the sale (an iphone) as I took my business elsewhere. (OK, asked daughter to go the apple store and buy one as I was too bamboozled).
So with trepidation I clicked on the Three website to start seeing what they offered. I need to be prepared before facing the shop. And there I saw a little message “Need help? Chat to an advisor”. So I did and “Janet” appeared in a pop-up window. I put it in inverted commas because Janet is such a vintage English name. No-one under 40 is called Janet. And this Janet did not have a real grasp of English. I only found this out after I requested she stopped cutting and pasting her responses as this does not constitute ‘chat’. I would ask a question and every response would be three or four lines and not really answer my question. And she kept on and on asking me the postcode of where I was going to use it and I told her central London, W1. She needed more information. I said central London is fine for coverage, I’m not worried about it. But she wouldn’t let it lie. Meanwhile I am asking about how many GB I should opt for – what’s average use? I just have no idea. And she doesn’t answer, but sends me a link to a 40 page price package indicator. Grr. This really isn’t making things easier. So I ask again about average use for emails, surfing, listening to music…. And she asks me my postcode. And “Are you with me?” WTF? I said “Where?” As I understood it this was virtual reality. If I had been with her I’d've called her manager over by now.
But I do think online ‘chat’ is a great idea, but it has to be ‘chat’. Not cumbersome company-speak. Real person-to-person interaction. Just as if we were really talking. Otherwise I might as well go to FAQ page myself becuase if you aren’t going to actually listen to what I’m asking and just provide me with a generic answer it actually ends up putting me off your company rather than thinking you understand your customers.
This recent online ‘chat’ left me thinking I know more than her about mobile wifi. Which is a scary thought as I know fuck all.