EE Queue Jump Incentive | DMA

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EE Queue Jump Incentive


With the recent shake up of regulations around the use of 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers for customer service lines from June 2014, the decision by EE to introduce a queue jumping initiative is certainly unexpected. The change in regulations was an acknowledgment to putting high quality customer service at the forefront, no matter what, which EE now seems to be contradicting.

If a consumer is calling a customer service line it’s often because they have an issue that they are unable to fix themselves. With that in mind, surely a brand should be treating each consumer to a high quality experience to turn a negative brand experience to a positive one?

Looking further beyond this, EE have to consider the management and operation aspects of the initiative. Customer service offerings should be capable of handling incoming calls within the industry standard time frame of 10 seconds. If an incoming customer pays 50p to move to the front of the queue, surely this will delay other customers and ultimately impact on waiting time across the whole operation. EE have to ensure this is managed correctly as further delays can create a negative view of the brand and its ability to deliver good customer service. Ironically, the initiative introduced to enhance customer service may have the opposite effect.

With brand loyalty at an all-time low with the customers of today this initiative is a risky move for EE. Yes, consumers are time-poor and impatient, but they also expect high quality customer service to be part of the overall brand experience, not something they have to pay extra for. The 50p queue jumping program creates a hierarchy, implying one customer is more important than another, which is unlikely to enhance the overall brand experience or engender loyalty.

In a competitive marketplace, where customers have a wealth of choice, the launch of this initiative is likely to see more customers switching to alternative providers who are able to demonstrate understanding of the individual needs and deliver a joined up experience that puts customer service first.

In light of the above, it’s difficult to see how this type of initiative could become commonplace within the market. The customer has, and always should be placed at the core of everything a business does, but in monetising customer service through this initiative, EE is contradicting this and going against the new regulations.

Brands should be focusing on ensuring they are investing in comprehensive training across their call centre operations. The agents are effectively the brand guardians, responsible for delivering a high level of customer service, which is in keeping with the overall brand experience. Alongside this, the operations must be correctly managed and set up to manage the volume of customer calls in efficient time. Above all, they need to have flexibility to react and adapt to spikes in activity to avoid risking customer facing delays and loss of earnings. Brands who do this well are more likely to see a far higher level of customer loyalty, and in return can reap the financial rewards as a result.

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