O2 Online Customer Service Chat

May 26, 2015 9:13 PM

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I got a marketing email from O2 today, something about being a dog and not paying for a phone.

I tried to unsubscribe because I don't remember asking to receive emails from O2 but the unsubscribe link didn't work, so I asked the phone giant for help via the online live chat feature on their website.

This ended up being the most bizarre dialogue I'd ever had with a customer service advisor and amazingly it went on for 45 minutes.

To protect the identity of the customer service agent, let's call him Dougie.


Dougie: Hello, it's Dougie here. What can I do for you?

Steve: Hi Dougie, I got a marketing email from you today and when I clicked on the 'unsubscribe' link the page didn't work so I couldn't unsubscribe. Just need you to remove my details from your database if possible please.

Dougie: I will help you with this. If you are account holder, Can I have your name and number?

Steve: I'm not an account holder. This is the unsubscribe link I was given... https://www.o2wifi.co.uk/etc-etc-etc

Dougie: Steve, are you consumer or business customer?

Steve: I'm not a customer, I've just some how ended up on your mailing list and in accordance with data protection law in the UK, there should be an unsubscribe option

Dougie: Please allow me a minute for this.

Dougie: Steve, I want to tell you that as you are not a O2 customer so we have not send any email to you. This must be a scam email that has been sent to you.

Steve: You sent me a marketing email! It promotes dogs and cats and things and your current services.

Dougie: Steve, we have not sent any email to you as you are not a O2 customer.

Dougie: This must be a scam email, please ignore it.

Steve: You don't send emails to non-customers? You advertise on TV don't you? You do do marketing to people who aren't customers?

Steve: It's not a scam!!! It's a MARKETING EMAIL! It links to your website and talks about your current offers

Steve: Look... "How do I know this is really from O2? This email is sent from Telefónica UK Limited, a company registered in England and Wales. In relation to consumer credit, Telefónica UK Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority."

Steve: The unsubscribe link is at https://www.o2wifi.co.uk/

Dougie: Steve, I want to tell you that your service provider has provide your number to send advertise so you have to contact to your service provider and they will stop this for you.

Steve: NO! It's nothing to do with my service provider.  If ANY company sends an email, they need to provide a way to unsubscribe. You HAVE provided a way to unsubscribe but you your webpage doesn't work, have a look... https://www.o2wifi.co.uk/etc-etc

Steve: You try to clicking 'unsubscribe' for me

Dougie: Your service provider allows us to give information to you so you have to contact to your service provider and they will stop this for you.

Steve: Yes, I understand your explanation of how I may have got on the list but your webpage doesn't work, it's broken and by law you need to remove my name if I make that request

Dougie: It's not broken as website is under maintenance so this is the reason it is not opening.

Steve: It does open, it just doesn't work or display correctly.

Dougie: Steve, How can I stop this for you as your number is not listed with O2?

Steve: I'm not talking about my phone number

Dougie: Your service provider has allowed us to advertise to you.

Steve: I'm talking about EMAIL communications, my service provider is GMail.

Dougie: Your service provider has allowed us and they are the only one who can deactivate this for you.

Steve: What?? Is there anyone else I could talk to? I think you've failed to grasp any of this.

Dougie: I'm sorry, your service provider is gmail or your email account is with gmail?

Steve: My email service provider is GMail, yes

Dougie: Then when you have registered with them, you have chosen the marketing texts or calls options that's why you're getting the marketing emails.

Steve: No, not TEXTS or CALLS!!! I'm talking about an EMAIL!!! I got AN EMAIL from you.

Dougie: Yes because you have registered with marketing texts.

Steve: I work in online and am very familiar with the laws on marketing emails, the link in your email should work.

Dougie: Oh great !

Steve: Text has nothing to do with what emails I recieve. Vodafone are my phone provider, they don't have this email address.

Dougie: If you work in online then you should know that, when you'll subscribe for something then only you get the emails, otherwise how we get your email address in the whole population of UK?

Steve: I understand that I could have got on your list, this is not my issue, I'm asking you to remove me

Dougie: Then just remove the name from the list and you'll not get the notifications.

Steve: This is what I'm trying to do

Dougie: How can we remove you?

Steve: I click on the unsubscribe link and the page is broken. Otherwise, you could have someone in your CRM team login to your mailing platform which is probably something like Insightly or Sales Force or Zoho and have them remove my email address from the database

Dougie: No worries, I'll check this for you and check with the team when the text was sent to you, because we also give this work to back-end team who send texts from O2's behalf, we don't personably send this to your email .

Steve: No NOT a text!!! It was an email

Dougie: Sorry, email.

Steve: You should really log the fault with the web page too because this could have been resolved in two clicks for me if it was working

Dougie: I've forwarded the request now and team will send you another link to unsubscribe it.

Dougie: Steve, I already told you that website is under maintenance so some features don't work .

Steve: It should really say if that's the case

Dougie: I do understand that by clicking unsubscribe, it'll get stopped.

Steve: But thanks for your help, I'm glad I persevered and you eventually believed me. What a frustrating conversation, I don't think I'll be rushing to move my contract to O2 any time soon

Dougie: I believed you since the chat was started but this is not sent by us directly and if you don't want marketing emails, then you shouldn't have to chose the option, while creating the email address. Sorry but this is not O2.

Steve: Hahahaha! when creating the email address??? Google don't sell on email addresses, and besides, I created my account in 2006.

Dougie: As I told you we give this work to some other third party services and they send the emails.

Steve: Yeah, I understand that but to start with you told me it was a scam. Then you said I have to ask Gmail to stop YOU emailing me. Brilliant!

Dougie: I told it was scam, because I thought you're getting text from your service provider, as you haven't explained it was on Gmail. We usually sort out the mobile and network related concerns here, so I thought it was from your service provider.

Steve: Many companies outsource their email marketing to third parties, that's fine but the owner of the data is still the one who has the power to remove names from the mailinglist... the reason for this is that to the average company, a name, address and phone number is worth £6.

Dougie: Thanks, finally you understand something that it is not us, it is some other party.

Steve: Ahhhh you thought I was getting texts.... because you didn't read where I said "marketing email"

Dougie: Steve, if you have smart phone, and I believe you have one currently, and when you get notifications on it, we call it texts, in general form. And if not, then you also get marketing emails on the phone as well, related with your service provider email account.

Dougie: You get one on smartphone as well, and we are service providers so if someone come for query , first click on mind is that you have got it on the handset only , because we deal with these stuff only.

Steve: Sorry? I got my email on my laptop

Dougie: But you haven't mention you have got it on the laptop and for just a notification, you're saying this is a frustrating conversation and compared our network as average.

Steve: It was an email... I could have got it anywhere, that's surely not relevant? You must know you can get email on PC and laptops and all sorts of places

Dougie: So, next time, be precise for the query and it'll help us to sort it out asap.

Steve: I don't follow sorry, I said I got a "marketing email", I didn't think I'd need to mention HOW I received that email, should I have told you which room of the house I was in at the time? Another thought might be that it would have been quicker if you'd have read my initial query properly so you'd have then understood that I was talking about emails instead of keep telling me about texts and calls

Dougie: Yes, but at the start of the chat we check the account first. And then your query is about marketing emails, so it'll be stopped from service providers end only.

Steve: You mean my phone service provider? That's not linked to my email account in any way. Vodafone don't even have the email address this email was sent to.

Dougie: I don't know that who is your service provider in starting of the chat, later you explained me that you have just got an email and you want to unsubscibe it.

Steve: My first message to you was "Hi Dougie, I got a marketing email from you today and when I clicked on the 'unsubscribe' link the page didn't work" .... that seems quite clear that I was talking about EMAILS

Dougie: I'm sorry but service providers are also linked with it , so that's what I thought . I didn't know that you just got a simple notification on your email only.

Steve: No, Vodafone have my work email address, this was my personal email address

Dougie: Because we deal with the phone and contracts only and you have got something which is not handled by me or my department.

Steve: It doesn't matter how I got on your list, that wasn't what I was complaining about, I just wanted to be removed and tell you that your unsubscribe link was broken

Dougie: Yes, I told you that website is under maintenance so it might be the reason that it was not opening the correct page for you.

Steve: The fact that there is an unsubscribe link in the first place is a pretty good indication that O2 are able to remove me from the list and not Vodafone (who as I said don't this email address)

Dougie: But you said this conversation is frustrating, I'm not taking contract with you- and all these gifts just for a notification. Yes, I'm an O2 Advisor too and you're connected to wrong department because we don't deal with back-end stuff.

Steve: Your agent on Twitter advised me to contact you via this tool

Dougie: I'm sorry !

Steve: I'm not really famlilar with how you're support agents are set up and assigned to departments internally. Next time I will be sure to check what the department deals with first and what their expertise is.

Dougie: I do understands but we're from customer service and we don't know how the third party services work, how they send malls and how it work. Still, I have forwarded your request and helped you, by clarifying the things, but what i feel bad is, you have compared our network as average and said it is frustrating.

Dougie: I told you that I have forwarded the request but still you said you're at 6

Steve: I didn't say the network was average! I said "I don't think I'll be rushing to move my contract to O2 any time soon" but that's based purely on the confusing information I received from the customer service team at the start of this conversation, it's in no way a dig at your network, which for all I know could be way above average

Dougie: Yes, and you also said - the main reason for this is that to the average company, a name, address and phone number is worth £6

Steve: Hahahahaa! The average company! As in "most companies" Are you joking?

Dougie: Sorry ! If you feel bad, I have forwarded the request and you'll get a unsubscribe link soon. It's really nice chatting with you today. Is there anything else I can help you with?

Steve: This chat has been great, I've really enjoyed it!

Dougie: Great! It's a milestone for us. You're most welcome and thanks for giving me opportunity to help you today.

Steve: Ok, well thanks and have a lovely evening

Dougie: Goodnight and take care!

Update: In Fairness To O2

O2 have been very helpful on social media, they replied to my initial tweets about this quickly and after reading this blog post left a message in the Facebook comments below to apologise and offered a valid and easy resolution, as well as a full explanation which is great.

Now here's the serious bit and it's something which has popped up in conversation with friends a couple of times over the last week or so.

Large companies have become very good at customer service on social media but sadly that level of service doesn't filter through to the rest of the company. This isn't an attack at O2, this is merely an observation about our current culture and the importance we place on social media.

Twitter is often the first point of contact for a customer, it's quicker than queuing on a phone line and easier than complaining in store and companies like Tesco, Pret a Manger and mobile phone service providers are quick to respond to comments and usually are able to resolve most problems. Then there are companies like Virgin Media and First Great Western who's social media service is excellent, in fact it's used in teaching good social media to others, but as soon as you speak to call centre staff, on-site staff or an engineer that level of service vanishes. Promises aren't delivered, staff are difficult or inflexible and levels are service are simply not met.

Why is this? Perhaps the culture and expectations of young, savvy social media agents is better than old school, customer service agents who work off of hand-me-down knowledge and training.

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