T-mobile self-service offering is woeful Thursday, August 07, 2008
Self-service is supposed to be beneficial to all parties - less costly administration to the supplier and simplicity, immediacy and empowerment for the customer. So why is it that many firms that boast of "self-service" portals actually restrict their functionality to such a degree as to render them pointless other than for trivial purposes?
Case in point.
I've been a long-time T-mobile customer and other than some weak coverage issues, generally have no major service complaints. However, the network apparently has a default setting of 15 seconds before it deems a call to be unanswered and diverts it to voicemail or forwards the call. Whilst that seems like a reasonable time when you read it, in my experience it's rarely enough unless the phone is within 1 metre of your person. Consequently, I've almost become resigned to not bothering to run to answer the phone unless I'm holding it and letting it simply transfer to Spinvox, knowing I'll never reach it in time. [And no, I'm not obese or unfit!]
Finally, I felt I should do something to extend the time. So I logged into my "self-service account" and whilst I could upgrade or add additional price plan options, there was nothing useful such as being able to amend such settings as time before diverting.
Searching on the web I found what purported to be settings you could send from your phone
Call divert settings on T-mobile
Set: **21*destination number#[SEND]
Set: **61*destination number*dd#[SEND]
(where dd is the delay in seconds: max 30 seconds, in 5 second increments)
Set: **62*destination number#[SEND]
Set: **67*destination number#[SEND]
Cancel All Diverts ##002#[SEND]
These were successful for setting the destination number but the number of seconds delay setting of 30 seconds did not.
Finally, I rang the [expensive] support number. The operator was able to change the setting instantly and confirmed this could only be done by the support team - not a feature available from the phone or the online portal.
Surely such "admin" functions as this could be available to users on the portal and via their phones? It's hardly a complex technical issue nor one warranting a support call.
In my experience, Financial Services firms are some of the worst at refusing to allow customers to update details and maintain their accounts online citing "compliance" and "risk" issues. Yet such attitudes are not restricted to them and the alternate paper procedures one has to follow [e.g. send us a letter to tell us you've moved] are usually sufficiently weak as to demonstrate that any risk assessment hasn't been properly thought through.
- If a call centre operator can do it off the back of a phone call - you may as well enable the customer to do it online.
- If you need to send in written instructions - let the customer do it online