After paying for mobile phone insurance twice over with Carphone Warehouse, our chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says it’s time mobile phone providers learnt about the art of communication themselves.
The hardest job for companies is winning your custom, so naturally they channel their efforts into convincing you that they care. But truly good service is when existing customers feel a company always acts with their interests in mind (if not at heart).
Some time ago, I replaced my daughter’s mobile phone at Carphone Warehouse. She ported her number from the old phone to the new, and we took out Carphone Warehouse insurance on the new handset. I can hear many of you quoting the Which? view of mobile phone insurance – that it’s rarely worthwhile – but my daughter’s phones are in the habit of getting dropped or run over…
Paying phone insurance twice over
After we’d bought the new phone, somewhere in the Carphone Warehouse system some data must have existed about the insurance policy on the first phone, plus a new phone which had inherited the number, and another insurance policy on this new phone.
Many months later, while trawling through bank statements I noticed I’d been paying for mobile phone insurance twice over: on a new phone, and on a now-defunct one. We asked Carphone Warehouse to refund the premiums for the latter – totalling more than £250 – but it replied that it was up to the customer to cancel.
What did this company do to show me it had my interests in mind? Where was the communication about the insurance policies? Carphone Warehouse says that for the last year, it’s been issuing goodwill refunds for cases such as this, and reminding customers annually about insurance they’ve bought. This is what it always should have offered, in my view.
Unlock better mobile deals
There are wider issues with mobiles – the whole sector has a way to go to improve its communication. For example, four in 10 mobile customers think there’s probably a better value tariff for their usage. We’ve launched a campaign to urge networks to give better information to customers about the deals that are right for them at the end of their contract, and to unlock their phone for free.
For as long as companies take a ‘caveat emptor’ attitude, they’ll continue to generate unhappy customers, and coverage like this.