Chris Croft's Personal Blog

June 23, 2014

Which communication method to use?

Which communication method to use?

Use the urgency and the importance of relationship building to choose the best method.
Consider moving up a level or two on the arrows.

January 29, 2014

Net Promoter Score – what you need to know about how it really works

Filed under: Customer Care, Managing People, Uncategorized — Tags: , — chriscroft @ 8:59 am

I discovered something surprising about Net Promoter Scores and they way they are calculated.  The system is as follows:

10 – Promoter
9 – Promoter
8 – Neutral
7 – Neutral
6 – Detractor
5 – Detractor
4 – Detractor
3 – Detractor
2 – Detractor
1 – Detractor
And then your score is calculated by the ratio of promoters to detractors.
http://www.netpromoter.com/why-net-promoter/know/
So if you give your company a score of 8 because you think it’s good, you are actually NOT promoting it!  And if you give it six, because you feel OK about it, or 5 because you are neutral about it, you are actually detracting, and cancelling out one of the rare 9-10 promoters!
This means that if you want to say your company is good you have to give it 9 or 10, nothing else will do.
Conversely, although it’s fine to slag it off if you want to, don’t accidentally slag it off by giving it 5 or 6.
Also you customers and your team members (there is now a thing called an Employee Net Promoter Score) need to know that if they think the company is good then they have to give it a score of 9 or 10, nothing else will do, and that even a 6 is detracting from the score and cancelling our a 9-10.
Tell them this! I don’t think it’s cheating to tell them – they need to know the meaning of their vote.
The best way to do this is to give them a coloured sheet with green amber and red, to show what’s what.
If other companies don’t realise how it actually works, and don’t tell their customers and employees, then you’ll be ahead of the game.
Of course, ideally you’d get real scores of 9 or 10, but in the UK I think it’s hard – we like to keep a few points back just in case, and from a British person 8 is praise indeed!

April 19, 2013

Practical actions to increase employee engagement

Filed under: Customer Care, Lists, Managing People — Tags: , , , , — chriscroft @ 12:15 pm

You can’t get great customer service, excellent quality of work, or creativity, without employee engagement. The people in the organisation have to care, otherwise you’re just going through the motions and you won’t survive.
There are lots of ways to STOP people caring – ignore them, reorganise them, freeze their pay, b*ll*ck them, etc. But a more difficult question is how to get them to engage with their work. Paying them a bonus isn’t the answer – that just makes them think about the money rather than the work, and there’s maybe also an implication that the work is so awful that you have to bribe them to do it.
So, how do we get people to care?

After 80,000 in-depth interviews with managers in over 400 companies, the Gallup Organization says that measuring the strength of a workplace can be simplified to these questions.

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

from First, Break All the Rules, What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman, Simon & Schuster, 1999.

So we know how to measure where we’re at. I think the question then is, how do we get the scores on the 12 questions to be better? How do we improve in these areas, and if we’re already doing the right things, how do we keep them in people’s awareness day in day out, year in year out?

Here are some thoughts (it’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a start and a work in progress)

1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?



Clear job description, clear statement of how each person can help the organisation to achieve its strategic goals. Regular meetings where joint plans are agreed – probably weekly, so that people know what is expected of them in terms of actions and objectives.

Clear feedback on what’s good about their performance and what needs to improve, so that people know what is expected of them in terms of quality of work and level of performance. This could be done as an annual appraisal and regular reviews of progress against appraisal goals.

2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?



Apart from getting this right, it would help to ask people if they have the materials and equipment and then to listen to and act upon what they say. Also involve them in planning availability of materials and selecting which equipment to get.

3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?



Again this is part of the appraisal process – discuss with each person what they feel they do best, and compare this with what YOU their manager think they do best. They can’t do this all the time, but you might be able to plan a certain amount of it into each day, and to evolve their job towards doing more and more of their agreed area of excellence. Make sure they know you are doing this, and discuss with them the longer term plans for how you will get them to be doing more and more of it.

4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?



This one is easy – thank everyone once a week! Find something they have done that’s good, and tell them. This requires knowing what they are doing, which probably involves Management By Walking About every day, but you can do that. Even plodders do good things every now and then, and need recognition for sticking at their task. Even people you don’t like need to be thanked. Even people you think are lazy need it, because that’s the way to encourage them to gradually become motivated. In fact, if they are lazy, maybe it’s your fault! Maybe you have failed to hook their enthusiasm?

5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?



Management by walking about, talking to everyone ideally every day but certainly every week, and ask questions and listen, really listen to what they are saying. Take some time with them if they need it. Your time is something that you can give away, that people really do value. Maybe sit and have a cup of tea with them. And act on what they are saying. Remember (maybe even put a note in your diary) and ask later if their cat is OK again now. Send flowers to the cat’s funeral.

6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?



Again a good appraisal system will help with this. How important appraisals are! Discuss the person’s future goals and plans with them, and what the organisation wants for them, how these two can overlap, and what skills and knowledge they will need, and how these will be developed. Development doesn’t have to be expensive; apart from training, face to face or on-line, they could be assigned to work alongside someone to learn from them, you or someone else could coach them in something to do with their work, and they could have a mentor (you or someone else), to help them think about their future more generally.

7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?



Everyone should be involved in decisions wherever possible. Suppose you are going to repaint the office, and you don’t really care about the colour (or even if you do) then instead of just picking a colour like the decisive person you are, it would be better to ask the people in the office what they think, have a discussion as a group, or even delegate the decision to them. How often is a machine bought without the person who is going to use it even being asked? At the very least have a vote occasionally and let everyone put in their opinion.

8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?



This one overlaps a little with Question 1, and the answer is to have a clear statement of how each person can help the organisation to achieve its strategic goals. And regular meetings where joint plans are agreed – probably weekly, so that people know how they can contribute to the overall plan.

For projects a Gantt chart could show the whole project and how and when each person contributes to it.

For processes each person should have ownership of part of the process, and maybe KPIs for their part of the process. Ideally their performance would be shown in financial terms – your section has made 20 tonnes of widgets this week and that has contributed £30,000 to the profit of the company. You have booked in 400 customers this week and those customers were worth a total of £40,000.

9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?



Quality should ideally be measured and publicized, with any problems examined and put right for the future by bringing in better systems and improved skills. Quality would be owned, so that each person has ownership of something, for some aspect of quality. But to get a higher score for this question it’s probably also necessary to hold regular meetings, perhaps quality circles (a team solves one big problem) or quality improvement teams (a team works on improving processes slightly, across the board).

10. Do I have a best friend at work?



How can management make this more likely to happen? Probably by encouraging team work (where teams solve problems together or deliver tasks and projects together), setting up a work environment where people meet as many others as possible (job rotation etc), where they get some time to talk with each other as they work, or during breaks, and where there is a physical environment that encourages socializing – maybe a coffee area, with free coffee. Also perhaps some social activities or even team building events outside of work. There could also be notice boards and intranet sites where spare time activities are encouraged and shared – the company chess club, the company dog training club, the company walking or foreign travel club – so that people with common interests can find each other and get together.

11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?



Clearly this is an appraisal question – what are your plans for the future, and how are you getting on at the moment in your work, etc. You can’t score on this list without a well designed and fully implemented appraisal system. So there should be both informal chats about progress and a more formal appraisal based one. And remember that appraisals aren’t a one a year shock immersion, they should be a drip feed of reviewing progress against the agreed plans.

12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?



Again a good appraisal system will help with this. How important appraisals are! Discuss the person’s future goals and plans with them, and what the organisation wants for them, how these two can overlap, and what skills and knowledge they will need, and how these will be developed. Development doesn’t have to be expensive; apart from training, face to face or on-line, they could be assigned to work alongside someone to learn from them, you or someone else could coach them in something to do with their work, and they could have a mentor (you or someone else), to help them think about their future more generally. You could even have a chart on the wall of everyone’s names, and what they are planning to learn this year, and a bar showing their progress so far.

It’s all standard good management processes, but how easy it is to forget all this stuff when you’ve got the usual every day pressures of jobs to go out, people off sick, emails coming in, and a boss wanting things done right away. But in the end the above list is vitally important – it’s the difference between the team doing everything for you, and you having to push it all along yourself.

July 19, 2012

Just out of guarantee

Filed under: Assertiveness, Customer Care, Selling and Influencing — chriscroft @ 6:26 pm

I sent out a tip about a problem I had with my Sony TV when it went wrong at 13 months and how Sony didn’t appear to care at all.

Here are some of the most useful replies I received:

 

 

Reference your problem with Sony.

I had a similar experience with LG. The on/off system collapsed just after the guarantee period.

Richer sounds – where I had bought it – said they could fix it but would charge shedloads. I quoted the Sale of Goods Act 1893 which requires all goods sold to be “of merchantable quality” and claimed that a £750 television which cannot last 14 months could not meet this requirement. I therefore insisted on its full replacement, free repair or a full refund. (I am not a solicitor, but all sorts of generalist law featured in my professional training.) They backed down, (possibly intimidated and fearful that I might actually be a lawyer who might sue them) and carried out a free repair for which they were going to charge over £200.

The moral of the story is that the product guarantee does not replace our legal rights and these can still be enforced.

Onwards and Upwards!

——————————–

The CD/DVD drive on my Sony laptop packed up after 11 months and 1 week.

They were superb.
Arranged a courier, gave me a log number, I could watch it as it travelled around between their distribution and repair centres in europe and then it’s journey back to me and because I worked 20 miles away from home they did the collection and return from my office.

I got it back as good as new. All Free.

BUT

During the first phone call they said if I’d gone past the magic 12 months they charge 20 euros [i don’t know how i would have paid that!] to ‘open a case’ on their repair management system before they would even discuss it with me. Then I’d be into paid repairs.

Although it can take some time and durability on your part your could complain quoting the Sale of Goods act. It often depends on a very arbitrary subjective judgment and the individuals that deal with your case because it makes moral sense to guarantee an item for a reasonable period that you would expect it to be operational for and a TV isn’t designed to work for a year. Would they put that on their ads – “Sony, Good for a Year” ?

For a washing machine with high energy input and lots of moving parts twelve months might be a reasonable guarantee period but a modern TV should last for ‘years’ and a 12 month warranty is nonsense.

I bought my cheap ‘bedroom’ TVs from Tesco for around £100 – no problems with them after two years plus.

My lounge TV I bought from John Lewis where they offer local price matching and a free five year warranty.

————————————-

Hello Chris

If you want to cause Sony grief, remind them of the two year mandatory warranty within the EU for faults present when the item was delivered.  The presumption is that a failure in two years means it was there when delivered
My favourite company Apple is in trouble over this in Italy.

Could be fun if you have the time to play!

———————————————

Chris,

Re the TV – just because its out of guarantee, doesn’t mean that the retailer  is absolved of all responsibility – there is an EU directive and also the sale of Goods Act which gives you rights for anything up to 6 years.  I’ve used the threat of small claims court in the past to “persuade” retailers to be reasonable – remember it’s the retailer, not the manufacturer you have the contractual relationship with….oh, and if you paid by credit card, the card issuer is also jointly responsible for the quality of goods/services supplied, provided they cost more than £100.

Have a look at http://whatconsumer.co.uk/is-the-guarantee-worth-the-paper-it%e2%80%99s-written-on/

http://whatconsumer.co.uk/forum/other-goods-services/1972-how-long-should-last.html#post3815

Kind regards,

Bill

—————————————————-

Yup, and how are Sony doing these days? Not so good. Their failure to be even a player in the iPod / iPhone market is one of the most staggering failures by an incumbent in the history of industry. They invented the Walkman, owned “portable music”, had a great brand, made computers, were the world leader in consumer electronics and even owned a huge amount of content via their investment in movie and music studios. In comes a computer maker into their territory, and they miss the boat completely, despite having 100% of the ingredients needed for success. They were out-competed by Creative, a Singapore-based start-up, for Christ’s sake.
I have a theory about the Japanese. They develop a perfect plan on the assumption that everything will go right – and, because the plan is so good, it usually does. It is then a loss of face to develop the plan for what to do when that goes wrong. Response to customer complaints, and development of a Plan B in response to unexpected competition, both fall into this category. They just don’t think about calculated risk very well.

May 21, 2012

Is money a motivator?

I had an argument with an arrogant tyrant today who was convinced that most people are only motivated by money.  “They wouldn’t come to work if you didn’t pay them!”

I think the truth is that money makes people do things, but it doesn’t make them WANT to do things.

“What’s wrong with that?” you ask.  As long as it gets the results.  But my point is that money will only get you the minimum that you’ve paid for – you’ll never get your people to go the extra mile, to be creative, to give great quality, to CARE.

In fact money does the reverse.  Once there is a bonus to be had, you get the following problems

1 – it will always be seen as unfair, and demotivate lots of other people

2 – the focus will be on the money, and things like “Doing something worthwhile” or “helping customers” are more likely to get forgotten

3 – the focus on the money means that anything that isn’t paid for won’t get done.  And you can’t pay for everything, so important things won’t get done in the rush for the bonus.

4 – people will be amazingly creative in finding ways to cheat.  All that effort that could have been put into looking after customers.  And all that extra expense that you will have to pay out as the bonuses creep upwards.

5 – How do you set the bonus?  There will be pressure for low targets, which is exactly what you don’t want if you are trying to be worlds class and reach for the sky.  Everyone should be ambitious and prepared to take risks.  They won’t do this if bonuses are at stake.

The question I would ask you is “If I arranged for you to be paid a bit more, would you work harder?”  I really hope the answer is no, because if the answer is yes then you already don’t really care about your job and you are wasting 5 days out of 7 of your life and you need to find a better use of your time!  Given that you HAVE to work to live, you might as well do the best you can once you’re there.  Otherwise, how do you live with yourself?

Similarly the question “If I arranged for you to be paid a bit more, would you do better quality work?”  For the same reasons as above, I really hope the answer is no!

Of course if your pay was cut then you might work less hard – motivation is asymmetric, and money is a hygiene factor.  But this is irrelevant, the question we are discussion is whether bonuses will motivate people.

Once you have a bonus culture then you’re stuck with it.  Taking the bonuses away will indeed reduce motivation, so yes, those people are indeed working for the money, because they have been damaged.  They no longer care about the bigger picture, just themselves.  As do people who have had bad management in the recent past.  They no longer care.  It’s not their fault, it’s a result of how they have been treated. They are now damaged.  You’ll never be world class, or compete, or even survive in the current climate, unless all your people care.

How to get them to care?  Well not with money, that’s for sure!  It has to be involvement, understanding the vision and their part in it, recognition and thanks, teamwork, interesting work, continued learning, ownership and belonging.  Not as easy as money but a lot more effective in the end!

Should better people be paid more?  I think yes.  How to do this?  Promote them to bigger and better paid jobs.  But while they’re doing a job then it’s inflation pay rates or whatever, the same for all.

April 4, 2012

Airport Queues Explained

There’s a simple equation that explains all queues, including the customs check-in ones. And the amazing thing is that the equation shows that there is massive sensitivity in the system, so that a small reduction in staff makes the queues become massive. Here is why….
The equation says that if the utilisation of a resource (number of customers arriving divided by the number you can cope with) is called U, then the average queue length will be U(1-U). Don’t panic, I will explain!
Clearly if the utilisation is greater than 100% (more people arriving than you can cope with) the queues will just grow and grow. But the interesting thing is when the utilisation is just less than 100% – let’s say 95%.

So if you have 1000 people per hour arriving at the immigration desk and because of cost cutting you’ve got rid of all spare staff, leaving you with enough staff to deal with 1050, so you are 95% utilised – a very tight ‘safety margin’ but should be OK, you are thinking. But no!  You are already going to get queues, due to random fluctuation of arrivals (several planes at once, varying numbers per plane, etc ) so the formula predicts an average queue length at customs of 95/(100-5) = 95/5 = 19 people. This was probably about the situation when the airport was running more or less OK a few years ago.
Now let’s say that this would take 35 staff – the actual number doesn’t matter, it’s just an example. What if you get rid of just one person, so you have 34 instead of 35 people and now you can only handle 1020 people per hour – “should still be OK”, you think. Just less waste, less fat in the system. Sounds good! (I’ve just made up the number of people to illustrate that a small change in the numbers of people has a huge effect on the queues) – from the formula, what will the queue length be now…?
Q = U/1-U, and U is now 1000/1020 = 98%, so Q = 50. The queue has more than doubled and all you did was get rid of one person out of 35! And you should still have been OK!
And suppose you got rid of two people and you now can only cope with 1005/hour – although you think you’re still OK the utilisation is now 1000/1005 = 99.5% and so the average queue rises to 200 people!
That’s probably where we’re at now.
This formula is a statistical law which can be shown with dice or a random spreadsheet (see https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B6BLBzKogj_iOWZlMzIyNzUtNWI1Mi00YmZlLTkxMWMtNzI2ZTY2MGUwODRi ) so there’s no point in trying to beat the system – it is what WILL happen. The answer is to accept the fact that you need at least 10% spare capacity, preferably 20%, and to pay the accompanying extra cost, if you want to get a decent service. And be very careful about small cuts when you’re already near the edge….

December 22, 2011

Third collection of PSs from tips of the month

Filed under: Computer tips, Customer Care, Gadgets, Music, Random stuff - uncategorisable — chriscroft @ 5:39 pm
    1. PS – Saw a hummingbird hawk moth in the garden yesterday.  My favourite insect – worth looking out for!  View pictures of them on google…

    PPS – An exciting new DIY product that I have only recently discovered:  self -amalgamating tape.  Weird, and brilliant.  How on earth does it work?  Bodges almost anything.

    PPPS – I’m continuing to discover things about google.  On the google toolbar there’s a thing called Auto-Fill which is marvellous – it fills in your name and address etc automatically when you buy things on-line….

    If there’s anyone out there who uses autofill, self amalgamating tape, and has seen an HHM in the last week, then I ought to award you the “Similar to Chris” prize.  But you don’t want that!

    PS – it’s getting cold and autumnal all of a sudden (apologies to my African and Australian readers!) and the positive thinkers just have to find something good in it.  Personally I am quite looking forward to foraging for mushrooms in the forest, maybe finding a hedgehog mushroom or parasol mushroom.  But don’t try this unless you REALLY know what you’re doing!

    PPS – MBA news: we now have our first ever person enrolled in an MBA following doing a DMS course (Diploma in Management) with me.  She is just starting at London Met, where she has to do one final year of their MBA, having got exemption from the first 2 years of their course.  Sunderland have also agreed a (distance learning) MBA final year.  Kingston have not agreed to it – we thought they might.  Details on the forum, or email me.

    PPPS – “British Airways:  Britain’s favourite airline”.  Well maybe, but not mine!  When stranded at Newcastle and needing to change a flight at the last minute, from Newcastle-Gatwick to Newcastle-Heathrow, they quoted me £190 even though both flights had spaces on them and the original ticket was only £50.  “Because it’s a last minute booking”.  Thanks guys – good to know you really care!

    PPPPS – greatly enjoying a book called “Watching the English” by Kate Fox – fascinating.  What an odd bunch we are!

    PPS – just saw Garage World from the M6 near Crewe.

    PPPS – Tour de France on ITV – marvellous!

    PS – listening to Blue Six “We had a thing” as I write this.  Mmm, nice.

    PPS – Thanks to Pete B for this hilarious and brilliant nightmare vision of the future!  It’s great to have all your customer’s details at your fingertips when they call, but you can go too far:  http://www.aclu.org/pizza/images/screen.swf

    PPPS  Being the renaissance trainer that I am, I have a sensitive side behind my rugged exterior.

    I have therefore been investigating poetry, and, as a person with the Hurry Up driver, it HAS to he Haikus.  Only three lines – brilliant!

    The official rules of Haiku are very strict (Seventeen syllables written in three lines divided into 5-7-5., must mention the weather etc) and I would like to propose ‘The Modern Haiku’ where you can write about anything you like, and the three lines have to be short but not exactly 29 syllables, as long as they ‘scan’ in some way.  It just has to “feel” right.  I also think we should try to keep the rule that there has to be a twist or clever observation or “aha” moment to the Haiku.

    I’ve put some of my efforts on the forum – but what I really would like is for readers to send theirs in, ideally to the forum but replying to this email would be OK too, and I’ll upload them to the forum – anonymously if you like.   https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/?s=haiku

    PPPPS – now listening to Audioslave – Sound of a gun.  Chunky!

    PS  thanks to Ben for this website:  Ever wanted to send a large file (e.g. a video, a Photoshop file) to a colleague but your server won’t allow it because the file is too big? Fear not. The website www.yousendit.com allows you to upload files of up to 100 MB (in the free version) to its server, which it will store until your recipient downloads it. The website even sends an email to your recipient telling them that they have a file waiting for them. (There is a professional upgrade which allows files of up to 2 GB to be uploaded but this costs $29.99 per month). It’s very handy if you work with large visual and/or audio documents.
    PPPS –  Open House London is this coming weekend.  A chance to have a look at all sorts of interesting buildings, which are opened to the public, for free, one weekend a year.  The gherkin is fully booked already, but lots of others, modern and historic, are worth seeing.  There are guided walks too, which are great if you want to know how and why things got built.  I went last year and I’m going again this year.   Sad or interesting? –  you decide!

    http://www.londonopenhouse.org/london/home.html
    and
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/whats_on/article2387236.ece

  1. PPS – this weeks stupidest website has to be http://www.pimpthatsnack.com/project.php?projectID=348 – if you want to see a 6 foot twix or a malteser that’s bigger than a football…

September 17, 2011

A customer care joke

Filed under: Customer Care — chriscroft @ 5:46 pm


A man was sitting in the bar at Heathrow Terminal 3 and noticed a really beautiful woman sitting next to him.

He thought to himself . "Wow, she's so gorgeous she must be an air hostess.  I wonder which airline she works for?"

Hoping to pick her up, he leaned towards her and uttered the Delta Airline  slogan. "Love to fly and it shows?"

She gave him a blank, confused stare and he immediately thought to himself  .  "Well, she obviously doesn't work for Delta."

A moment later, another slogan popped into his head.  So he leaned towards her again and said, "Something special in the air .?"

She gave him the same confused look.  He mentally kicked himself and scratched Singapore Airlines off his list.

He thought "Perhaps she works for Thai Airways ..." and said, "Smooth as silk?"

This time, the woman turned on him and said, "What the f*** do you want?"

The man smiled, slumped back in his chair and said: "Ahhhhh, Ryanair!"

 

PS – Watch this brilliant little video – a nightmare vision of the future as you order your pizza…  http://www.aclu.org/pizza/images/screen.swf

“If I could just pre-authorise your credit card sir?”

Filed under: Assertiveness, Customer Care, Travel and driving — chriscroft @ 1:02 pm

….“It’s just a swipe of the card, we’re not going to charge anything to it, but it’s more convenient if you want to add any extras to your bill”

 

There seems to be an increasing trend towards taking a swipe of my card when I check in to hotels, even though I’m not buying anything.  Maybe I’ve already paid for the hotel in full in advance, or maybe I’m going to pay for everything when I leave – either way, why do they need my card?

And if you say “It’s OK thanks, I’m not planning to buy any extras (meals, mini-bar) they start to insist on the pre-authorisation.

My fear is that they’ll accidentally charge me for the hotel room twice, or put all sorts of things on it.  So I really don’t like giving my card in for “unknown expenditure” at the start.  Not to mention the time it takes when I just want to check in and go to bed.

So – why are they doing this?

Is it in case I do a runner?  Or damage my room in some way? Seems unlikely – they already know my address etc, and anyway, they claim that they can’t take any money on the card without me signing for it again – in which case, what’s the point?

Does anyone know whether than CAN actually take money from the card without me coming back to sign a second time?

I do agree that it might make charging for extras easier, but then why don’t I just sign receipts with a pen as I go along, like most hotels, and then pay my bill at the end?  Especially if I’ve got to come back and do the card a second time anyway, it hasn’t saved me any time at all.

Thoughts anyone?

August 22, 2011

What happens when your phone contract runs out?

Filed under: Customer Care, Gadgets — chriscroft @ 9:53 am

I just discovered a couple of pretty unpleasant things, which apply to Orange and quite possibly the other providers – certainly worth checking.

When your 2 years of contract runs out, what happens? I assumed that your monthly charges just carried on indefinitely, with the phone company being glad that you’re carrying on. After all, they always want you signed up for as long as possible. In fact, you get a cheaper deal if you sign up for longer, so if you stay on with them afterwards you are getting a worse deal than you could have had.

Anyway, my phone bill just shot up (an extra £20/month) due to two things:

a) Apparently I negotiated a special rate for my 2 year contract, which has now finished, so I go back onto a standard deal.

b) Last time I upgraded they offered me the chance to upgrade three months early if I signed up for another two years, so I did. Little knowing that at the end of my two years I then have to serve the three months that were left of my previous contract. Since my new contract was better than my old one (they always are) this means I have three months of expensive contract still to do. So changing early doesn’t mean that the last three months vanish (in exchange for them getting you committed to them for another 2 years), oh no, those three months come back again in two years time. Amazing!

The worst thing was that didn’t tell me any of this at the time when I renewed, or last month when I went up to the higher rate. It just appeared on my bill.

So look out if your contract is about to end, you might just find that your bill is going to go up, without you being told…

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.