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Comment Re:A disservice (Score 1) 438

Sometimes I'll offer some pre-sales advice before transfering to the correct department, normally if I'm discussing options regarding which handset they're going for it's because the one they have is faulty or have changed their mind about it within our cooling off period.

I'm always completely honest with the customers, I'll tell them I'm biased towards Android and if they phone back and speak to another person they'll get completely different answers and the next person will also give them a different answer as there's no such thing as a best phone.

I think the iPhone is a great gadget, I'm always honest in saying it's a great choice if you want something that just works, but I see Android as a happy medium between iOS and Blackberry. Your average non-technical customer doesn't need an iPhone, they also don't need a Galaxy S2 or a Nexus.

On our network you are paying for the name, you can get a Galaxy S2 for less than the iPhone 4 8GB (not even the 4S) and you're getting more minutes with the S2. If I'm speaking to someone who just uses their phone for calls and texts and doesn't want anything else neither of them would come into the conversation unless the customer brought them up anyway as a feature phone or one of the low end Android handsets would do nicely.

Mainly the iPhone comes up in conversation because it's the one phone everyone knows, I'm happy to discuss the pros and cons of any phone with them, but I'll also be up front about the cost (around £900 over 2 years to get the phone for "free", that's with no data and at least two times more minutes than your average customer needs). Normally when I'm discussing Android it's as a replacement for a feature phone and they'll end up with something like the Galaxy Ace or the HTC Wildfire S, Windows 7 phones are cropping up a bit more these days.

In general terms based on my experience people who want iPhones will stick purely to iPhones, people who use Blackberries will normally stick with them too, you'll get the occasional person who will stick to one specific brand, but most often people see it as iPhones vs Blackberry vs Everything else.

In terms of issues we get with phones we get amazingly few issues with malware, they may go undetected or it might just not be a massive issue, I'm not sure.

My advice to friends and family is always to take out a SIM only contract and buy whichever handset they want outright, it's going to cost more up front, but you'll save a lot in the long term.

Comment Re:Apples Warranty (Score 1) 438

Most seem to offer 24 months, the only exception that springs to mind is LG, but their handsets tend to be pretty low end (at least the few we carry) so we generally take the hit for those ones.

I agree, warranties are very poorly documented and I don't know how anyone can be expected to know what length they are although I was initially pretty surprised about peoples understanding of it. I generally only come into contact with the customer when first line can't help them and it's getting to the point where the phones are getting booked in for repair. In general customers don't know anything about the warranty on their products, they'll often have the phone for 6 months, it will have developed a fault, call us, we'll do what we can, but ultimately it'll need to get repaired under warranty then they'll ask something like "how much will that cost?" or say something like "but I don't have insurance" although on the flip side of that we'll occupationally get something along the lines of "I've cracked my screen, but it's still under warranty".

To be honest I'm not a whole lot better when it comes to the way I deal with my purchases, I generally will pay attention to it when I'm buying an expensive gadget, if something goes wrong 99% of the time I'll repair it myself or replace it myself, the only time I look into claiming on the warranty is if something fails a lot earlier than I'd expect it to although I think this job has changed the attitude I'll take to returning or having something repaired in future.

Comment Re:Apples Warranty (Score 1) 438

I always tell them to make an appointment, I usually tell them to type "genius bar" into google and go to the first match which is "Apple Retail Stores UK" as a URL's are too complicated for a lot of them. I'll normally refer them to you guys as it's a better experience than our stores who are mainly interested in sales and will try and fob the customer off to you anyway (most likely without an appointment).

Our trashy in-house insurance is insurance, not an extended warranty so it wont help when a phone is faulty. We will generally try and sell them Apple Care and explain the difference, I try to make sure they're aware there would be a charge for a repair if they're outside of the 12 months without Apple Care, but at the same time I despise this sales through service nonsense so I may mention it, but I'll never push the point.

I don't get commission and I don't work in retentions so I'll be as honest with a customer as I can be and will do what I can to help even if it costs the company money or a customer if it's the right thing to do so keep up the unbiased advise, I'm quite happy with it and you're still sending a lot of customers our way even though we're not the cheapest.

If someone's asking for advice when it comes to what phone to go for I'll generally steer them away from the iPhone anyway unless that's what they really want, the phrase "you're paying for the name" comes up a lot :)

Comment Re:Apples Warranty (Score 1) 438

Fortunately I've got a great manager that will allow me to do things that other managers wont so I can go outside the company policy to "improve the customer experience" and just order up a new iPhone, but that's generally if they took the contract out directly through us. If they've taken it out through an Apple store or elsewhere they're generally (not 100% of the time) out of luck, but we still get the grief for that as they have an airtime agreement with us.

Comment Apples Warranty (Score 3, Informative) 438

I work for one of the UK network operators which had made me develop a new level of hatred for iPhones.

One of the way the iPhone is hurting carriers is that Apple only offer a 12 month warranty as standard, sure you can extend it with Apple Care, but no one bothers even if they take out the iPhone as part of a 24 month contract.

A customer will phone up over 12 months into an 18 or 24 month contract to say their iPhone is faulty, all we can offer is a chargeable repair as the phone's out of warranty, naturally they're not very happy ("I got it from you, not from apple!") and they'll either want to cancel their contract without any sort of termination fee or get a working phone, 99% of the time if they complain enough they'll get a free of charge replacement iPhone just to keep them happy in the hopes that they'll upgrade at the end of their term (and it works out cheaper than having the call escalate further). This is happening hundreds if not thousands of times a day where I work, sure it happens with other brands too, but to a lesser extent and normally with lower price handsets.

I'm shocked that so many people are willing to accept a 12 month warranty on a product that markets its self as the best in the market.

Comment Re:Linode (Score 1) 375

Another vote for Linode.

They're the only VPS provider I've used so I'm not sure how they compare, but I'm using their basic package for $20 / month and I haven't had any problems and there seems to be a great community based around them so support isn't really an issue.

Comment Re:RIM are wussing out... (Score 1) 272

I share your frustration, RIM have been making the odd statement it certainly doesn't feel like they're doing enough when you're on the front line and you have people who expect their BB to be replaced with an iPhone free of charge because of this outage.

I'm sure there must be some dialogue between the operators and RIM, but all that's filtering down to my level is pretty much "Yeah, it's up" (when it's not) or "Nah, it's down" so I'm pretty much relying on twitter and the BBC site for information although I'm not blaming RIM for that.

For consumers I certainly feel that they're on their last legs, their QA sucks as I'm dealing with faulty Blackberries on a daily basis, the Torch was buggy as hell and the BB 9900 is a joke (so many are DoA), I'd never recommend a Blackberry to anybody!

Comment Re:Not Surprised (Score 1) 327

No clue what the stock will be like to be honest, I'm just glad that I'm mainly in a 2nd line role as I'll be working on Friday which wont be much fun! Assuming there's stock they'll have no issue buying your contract out, taking out a new contract, buying one outright or going for a fast track upgrade (if you're tariff's over £40 you can buy out what's left minus the 20% and minus VAT, if not you can change your tariff and have it come into effect next day if it'll work out cheaper that way).
Unless you already have an iPhone or have a lot of purchases on iTunes I'd save some money and go for the Samsung Galaxy SII which is pretty similar spec.

Comment Re:Not Surprised (Score 2) 327

Yeah, pretty much although it wont be hard to get around (just find somebody with an unregistered PAYG SIM that's been used at least a month ago). Until stock settles down it'll be for existing customers only, existing customers are called as anybody who has had an O2 phone, dongle or home broadband for at least month before the 4th of October.

Comment Not Surprised (Score 2) 327

I currently work in a call centre for a mobile operator that has around 45% of the UKs iPhone customers (should be easy enough to work out who!), I've been speaking to people on a daily basis for months who have enquired about pre-ordering whatever the next iPhone turned out to be. The stats are a big anti-climax, but since the announcement I've been speaking to plenty of people who are upset that we're not taking pre-orders and are threatening to go to the competition.

Sure the majority of tech savvy people are disappointed with the 4S announcement and were expecting something more, but the majority of iPhone users I've spoken to about it (taking at least 30 calls a day) want one and are returning orders or putting off upgrading in the hopes of getting one, my colleagues have been experiencing the same.

The average slashdot user wont see what the big deal about the 4S is, most of our friends and colleagues wont either, but your average consumer who's been waiting for the latest iGadget is still going to lap it up, it's new, it's shiny, it's expensive and it's Apple so it MUST be the best!

Comment It depends on the company (Score 1) 735

I think this really depends on the company, the place I used to work for was a small family run company, there was a few insanely loyal employees who had been there for longer than I've been out of high school (and in one case longer than I've been alive), unfortunately for them when redundancies were announced my job was safer than theirs and somebody who had been with the company for about 30 years, would work on his holidays if requested, never had a sick day and knew the directors since they were kids, he was one of the first people to be made redundant, another who had been working for the company had been there for about 15 years was also up for redundancy.
It was a small family company, we all got on well, it was a close knit group and we'd all quite happily go to the pub together, but at the end of the day it's a business, they'll put the company first if it comes to it so you need to make sure you put yourself first.

Comment Disturbing (Score 1) 86

It might just be me, but I find this rather disturbing, an incorrect OS on a device is a pretty obvious mistake to spot, if HP can accidentally ship TouchPads running an OS they never intended to release then surely there's a real risk of them shipping PCs, servers or switches preloaded with rootkits/backdoors that are designed to be well hidden?

Maybe I've just been wearing my tinfoil hat for too long though!

Comment Rather disturbing (Score 1) 1

I find it rather disturbing that a company like HP can "accidentally" ship a product running an OS that was never intended for release, if they can ship TouchPads running Android rather than WebOS who's to say they can't accidentally ship PCs or servers with undetected rootkits? If something as obvious as a completely different operating system can slip through the cracks then surely a small rootkit wont have any trouble?

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