EE charges customers 50p to jump long customer service queues
Back in August 2014, EE introduced a service that enables customers to jump call centre queues if they pay a surcharge of 50p. When calling the EE helpline, EE users are greeted with a message which gives them the option to pay to be fast tracked on to a 'priority service'. This service was made available to all 26 million EE customers, and the company publicly admitted that the move was to fund investment into their stores and call centres.
At the time, the launch of this service raised concerns that
those who did not pay the extra 50p would experience even longer
waiting times before their call was answered. Further outrage was
expressed, as many EE users (quite rightly) felt that the odds of
receiving good customer service should not be dictated by your
ability to pay more. After all, any one customer is as important as
The ugly truth is that the answer is 'perhaps not.' For years,customer service call centres have prioritised and decided in different ways who reaches the front of the queue first. The most obvious example of this is that you'll never queue on a 'Sales' line, but it goes a little deeper than that.
It's well known in the industry that callers are often
prioritised on the amount of value or potential sales revenue they
are worth to a company. Technological advancements mean that
increasingly, we are now asked to identify ourselves by entering
account numbers, or by using speech recognition software before our
call even hits a queue, thus ensuring that the high priority / high
revenue customers are identified and fast tracked.
You could argue that from a business perspective, it makes sense - keeping the most profitable customers happiest seems logical. But from a customer perspective, it's kicking us when we're already down. And we're down about a product they've already sold us, that isn't performing as it should (why else would we be calling a Customer Service line?)
So it defies belief that in addition to this age old selection
of preferred customers, we've now reached a point where companies
find it acceptable to charge consumers to make a call about an
issue with a product that
they already pay for, and then ask them to pay yet again to obtain an acceptable standard of service.
I wonder if 'high value' customers actually get asked to pay the 50p?
We'd love to hear your views on this. If you are an EE customer, have you used the queue jump service? Did it really make a difference? Or are you one of many people who either cannot, or will not pay extra on principle? Let us know.