When I think of Sir Richard Branson aka @SirDickBranson, I think of “The King of Customer Care”.
Love Virgin Atlantic Airlines and all your personal touches with the website. VA makes you feel like you are entering the First Class cabin if only you are traveling in the last row of coach. I pull up my page and in the upper right hand corner it says: “hello, gorgeous”. Now that’s customer service!
So why is Virgin Mobile such a departure from your mystique?
Several months ago I changed from AT&T to Virgin Mobile – it took 4 days, 2 without any phone service (I have only one phone), and the courage by me to call the Investor Relations department of Virgin Mobile in order to get it switched to VM. AT&T had released it right away, but VM and Sprint allowed it to fall into that virtual abyss where the black hole seems like a warm fuzzy place.
My origial plan of changing carriers was to save money from AT&T. My contract was up and I thought I would go with Sprint and purchase the Palm Pre as soon as it came out. I won’t bore you with the facts that one of Sprint’s resellers, Let’s Talk, gave me misinformation about transporting my phone number and cancelled my order because I wouldn’t accept another number. So I called Sprint who checked with “porting” and said the information was incorrect in that I only had to accept another number till the phone arrived then call Sprint and Voila! The transport of my old number would take place.
Thinking I would take this event as “someone was trying to tell me something”, I called a friend in Hawaii and we discussed all the geeky things about the phones and the networks. My experience with Sprint and Sprint’s reseller made me think not to take another chance with Sprint.
On Saturday, 8-15-09, with my normal, unbridled enthusiasm, I went into the AT&T phone store and said, “I want the 3Gs iPhone in white”. I even put my password (vKey) into the store’s computer, so I know it was correct. Gorgeous in an orange and black case, I sparkled.
By Wednesday I was still using your VM phone and the iPhone. So, lacking the same unbridled enthusiasm, I called AT&T who told me that according to VM there was no password. We were given the run around by 3 different people. Excuses that the system was going through an upgrade, to we are missing the password, to a request AT&T to change my street address abreviation from “Ln” to “Lane” and an equally inane request to remove the initials from my name . Do these people know how to program “globally”?
Day 6: This AM I got a call from AT&T, doing their follow-up. We started the conference call with VM. I’m not sure who we started with, but we asked for a supervisor and we got a “team leader” by the name of Mata. She wouldn’t give us her last name and when we asked to speak with her supervisor, she flatly refused to give us her supervisor’s name. I lost my normally cheerful demeanor and demanded to speak with her supervisor and explained that I had already filled out a complaint with the FTC (true – done night before), so I had nothing to lose at this point. I just wanted my new iPhone to be the recipient of calls in and out. Finally Mata told us the name of her supervisor, “Jennifer” but refused to connect us with Jennifer because Jennifer does not accept phone calls from the consumers. We were then given an “IVR” number of 888-322-1122 which was the phone number we had called in the first place.
Now my cheery disposition took on “total resolve”, the “squeeky wheel”, you know… And taking the ball and running with it was AT&T’s very able agent who asked that Mata at least ask Jennifer if she would call the porting department and find out what the status was with transporting my number. We waited for over 20 minutes to find out that the “updating” of the system had started on the “14th”. We had been previously told the “15th and 16th” by another agent. Mata cheerfully said it was just as she had been telling us about the system updating and that my phone number would probably be transported within the “normal” 24 to 72 hours”.
Yikes!!!! I lost it. 6 days plus another 24-72 hours! Is this 1892?
I thanked my new friend with AT&T who I convinced to try Twitter while we were whiling away the many, many minutes waiting to hear the “script” again. She was so cute when she said, “My mother would be saying and doing the same things you are…” I told her that her mother and I had earned the right to go to the top and work down, which was what I intended to do next: put in a call to Investor Relations.
Did it work? You betcha, Kimosabe! I made my day, Clint! Probably didn’t make your staff’s day, Sir Richard, but by this time I was high on adrenalin and as most men know, that is just steps from hormonal infusing and PMS-ing. Luckily I don’t own a gun…
Thanks to the lady who answered the phone at 908-607-4000, and Jose’ at “porting”, I had full iPhone transport within about 30 minutes.
Now I’m a happy camper.
Could you make me happier? Well, a trip to your Island to spend the weekend with you and your wife, but since that’s not going to happen, maybe a refund of this last month’s charges… ?? I’d go for that to cover a discounted cost of my time today.
Necker Island purchased by Sir Richard Branson over 25 years ago.
Have a great day.
PS. Get rid of that blight on your reputation. They don’t deserve you.