T-Mobile vs. the customer: Round two (the change-up)

This is second in a miniseries describing my experience with T-Mobile as I try to upgrade my phone without paying more than a new customer would. You can read Round one here.

Round one took place entirely on the Internet. And it went well. Round two brought us back into the real world, in more ways than one. It began when I dialed those magical numbers on my mobile phone: “611″ and it was on.

After a short conversation with a computer, I was welcomed by “Andy”. Andy was a real person and he actually had some real personality. This was good (and more than I expected).  Score a point for T-Mobile.

The downside to having a lot of personality was that Andy talked a little too much. I could barely get a word in. So, we have to deduct one point.

Other than me having to fight for airtime, our conversation went well. When he wasn’t talking, Andy listened. he answered my questions and offered plenty of his own opinions. He sounded informed and interested in the products. Even better, he could carry on a real conversation. He jumped the script early on and never went back until the end.  Score another point for T-Mobile.

The bad news was, Andy quoted me a price almost $40 more than the website showed. He explained it by saying the other charges (roughly $20 for shipping and $19 for an upgrade fee.) would have shown up had I actually concluded the upgrade online.

That was a change from what their website had told me.

I told him that seemed misleading. I suggested that ALL the costs should be posted up front so customers can see the true cost of upgrading. Minus one point.

And deduct one more point for the “upgrade fee”. If I’ve been a customer for 8 years, why should I pay an upgrade fee? I’ve never paid one before. Andy was unable to explain why I had to pay one now. There seemed to be no added value for me.

When I told Andy I didn’t think an 8 year customer should have to pay more for a phone than a new one, he said he understood. He coughed up the company approved responses smoothly enough so it still sounded conversational. But beyond that all he could do was offer to pass me on to someone else who had more latitude which he did. He handled it well. Score one point for good presence on the phone.

But his lack of ability to help me is a fundamental flaw here. At this point T-Mobile seems to be running me through an obstacle course. If I persist I can probably get a better deal. But I have to take the time and effort to talk to a completely different person. If they really cared about keeping customers, they would give Andy the ability to help me. Minus 5 points for putting roadblocks in my way.

Adding up the points in this round, T-Mobile walks away with a negative 5. Ouch! They’re starting to look weak. I hope they turn it around soon.

Join us tomorrow for Round Three: The foul-up.

The article was written by Kevin Stirtz