Okay, just posting an update on the whole Alexia-O2 thing, since I’m being asked about the state of affairs constantly. So, you’ve read part one and you are wondering what happens next..
Well, last Sunday I was feeling a little pissed, as you would imagine, and I discarded the whole idea of buying an iPhone until the end of the year. The thoughts of wasting more of my precious time standing outside O2 stores didn’t appeal. The last thing I wanted to do was go into an O2 store.
Early on Monday morning, I got Twitter messages and emails about the iPhones hitting the O2 online store. I waited and waited and waited. As the hours flew past, I thought long and hard about why I had decided to not to buy the iPhone. The truth is, that the whole debacle left me crushed with disappointment. Last Saturday was a battle of wills and I had lost, but at the end of the day, the child inside still wanted to play with * that * gadget. That love wasn’t rooted in branding – Apple, O2 or whatever. Just pure curiosity. So, I plumped for a 16 gig model in the online store. Of course, the black model was sold out. And against my better judgement I picked up the white one. On reflection, though, it looks quite nice.
Anyway, a courier attempted delivery on Wednesday, but I wasn’t home. Impressed by the speedy dispatch, I picked up the phone in Rathmines yesterday morning. Coming home was like a Christmas morning rush to rip open Santa’s pressies. On opening, I was struck by the emptiness of the box. I know Apple are elegantly barebones about packaging and info, but I was surprised with what box didn’t contain like a card with the PIN and PUK codes or any other branded O2 manuals. Inside the box was an invoice, a page with the returns policy, an envelope and the iPhone box with the SIM card in a holder stuck to it. That was it. Okay, I said. Fine. The PIN code must be 0000 because O2 wouldn’t forget to include important information like that. I typed in the default code, and of course, I get the incorrect PIN message. I was a little annoyed. So I scamper off to the O2 site to search for a support number as I’m damn sure I want to avoid an O2 shop if at all possible. One thing you’ll notice about the O2 ‘Contact Us’ page is that there is no support number for Bill Pay customers calling from Ireland on landlines. See?
It seems a little strange, right? So I called the Limerick number suggested for Bill Pay customers calling from International destinations. The support analyst was friendly and agreed to look into the issue. She put me on hold. She then came back and told me that Apple do not include documentation with their products. I said I knew that, but my issue was with O2 and not Apple. She said it looked like an oversight, but that she’d be happy to give me the codes over the phone. Grand, says I. I take down the PIN and PUK codes. She hesitates and tells me that she has the PIN2 and PUK2 codes as well and would I like them too. It’s been a while since I’ve studied telecoms. GSM is a faint memory, so I ask her what they are used for. She says she doesn’t know as noone ever asks for them but would I like them anyway. Alright, I’m a bit geeky, but is it too much to expect a knowledge broker, which is what a support operator is, to have answers to these questions? Hmm. She was perfectly helpful, though. So, I enter the PIN code and get a screen filled with numbers including the IMEI. She says that the screen is normal and it only means that I need to charge the unit. I find this a little strange as others reported that their phones were charged, so I leave it to charge for a bit.
After a few hours, I come back to it and the screen is exactly the same. At this stage, I’m a bit worried. I connect the phone to my laptop. iTunes boots up and I’m happy. Yay. We have progress. So the 200meg+ update starts to hit my phone and things are looking up. While this is happening I get an email from O2 saying that they read my post and wanted to know more about my experience. Would I like to call them. My phone is effectively bricked for a few hours, so I pen an email describing what happened up to this point – my unsatisfactory time at the O2 Experience store, missing PIN information, the dodgy contact page and the fact that their support doesn’t know what PIN2 is. As part of the mail I included that some of my friends had crappy O2 experiences too. That was yesterday lunchtime.
I booted up the phone and played with it for a bit after the firmware update. It’s really nice to play with. I’m still learning the ins and outs of it, but I love the way I easily switch from checking mail to Twittering and from calling to texting. So today, I remembered that part of the advertised online shopping experience with O2 is that you need to return signed documents containing the information you entered on the site at checkout time. And yes, I held out all hope that they would be sent separately. I hadn’t received them today, so I called O2 support again. This time I got to speak to another analyst. I explained my situation and she looked at my account. She told me that my phone hadn’t been activated correctly and that she would do it for me at her side. She also said she’d instantly send me out my missing forms and apologised. She was extremely helpful.
Each step forward has been accompanied with a matching step back. I have worked retail in different places. I understand the boiler situations retail staff can find themselves in, more than most. At the end of the day, business is about numbers, but good salesmanship is all about making the customer want to come back.
Just this evening, the O2 person that contacted me sent me an acknowledgment of my mail and said they would look into it. I was hesistant to blog this update as my dialogue with O2 is still ongoing. My experiences with O2 have been patchy so far. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes next.
Update: John has just published a lengthy post on his disappointing O2 store experience. He tried emails and calls to no avail.