Thursday, April 22, 2010

Customer Service at its Best: Wind Mobile

For someone who lives and breathes customer service as part of my profession I am very critical with companies I deal with as I have a high expectation on the type of service I should receive. I’ve finally found a company that does a fantastic job at servicing its customers across many channels and you know I have to blog about it.

Up here in Canada we’ve had three main mobile providers for as long as I can remember. I won’t go into the history of these guys but I can tell you that we have been royally screwed with poor customer service, high prices and a general disregard for the customer. Late last year Canada finally agreed to open up competition on mobile carriers and it’s been a breath of fresh air. Enter Wind Mobile into the picture. Amen.

At the same time that Wind was getting set up in Canada, I was focused on tightening down on our spending with a new baby and only one income. I noticed that my wife has had some outrageous mobile bills due to our close family that we have in the US and in other parts of Ontario. There were probably ways that we could have saved money by dialling a number before making a long distance call but why does it need to be so difficult? Wind offered us unlimited calling in Ontario and for an additional small fee, unlimited calling to the US which is not a service that the other “big 3” provide (unless I’m wrong). This was a small miracle for us because it essentially cut our mobile bill by a third and we quickly became one of their first customers. I can’t say I’m usually an early adopter but in this case I was willing to take the risk. Here’s the good part – besides the cost savings we enjoy, the story gets better. The company itself continues to demonstrate that it cares about its customers and these are some lessons that we can all learn from them.

Customer Service 201 from Wind Mobile

Wind goes way beyond 101 so that’s why I’ve started at the 201 level. Have a look at these and see if you’re company is following them:

  • Easy Access to Customer Support: This is a no-brainer yet there are many companies out there that make you jump through many hoops to get the help you need. While Wind provides the ability to email them, I’ve called them each time. I’ve found that I never have to wait more than a few minutes and the agents I’ve spoken with have all been very nice and courteous. For example, I’ve complained that the there were long distance charges on my bill due to Wind not having its network fully up and running. They quickly corrected my bill with no argument. Activating my phone could not have been easier and they were helpful in porting over my old number from my previous carrier (a newer development in Canada). Overall, I’ve always felt that they cared about my business when I interacted with them which is more than I can say for the other “big 3”.

  • Provide a public forum for feedback: Ever go to a seminar and have the instructor/presenter ask you to fill out a survey on how they did? Ever thing to yourself “this feedback will probably be tossed and is a waste of my time”? Wind takes this head on by providing a public forum where customers voice their opinions - good and bad. Wind

    The result is the appearance of a company that is bold and transparent and has a growing customer community. I loved this one discussion where a dissatisfied customer explained why he decided to go back to a previous mobile provider. When another person (his forum handle is @TBR)chimed in to further criticize Wind he received the following rebuke from a Wind supporter:

    @TBR - Are you even a Wind customer? From other posts I have read, you are not. So I suggest you do not comment on this type of stuff until you experience Wind's service yourself. The poster joined Wind to make up his own mind on their service. As he stated he read all the complaints but wanted to make an informed decision. So I suggest you STOP being a troll loser.

    Now that is a loyal community! How much more real does the company appear to you with a forum that is public?

  • Listen and respond to customers: Wind is actively monitoring the forum and responding when needed. One of the complaints that we had when we first starting using the service was the ring beep you heard when someone tried to call you. It was the European standard and not the North American standard. A number of people trying to call my wife were confused when they heard this weird ring and unfortunately hung up. Let’s just say many Wind customers were not happy with Wind over this. Wind listened to the complaints and modified the ring beep within a reasonable timeframe which made many people happy.

    Wind also conducts surveys and has their CEO regularly contributing to the corporate blog. Here is one quote that is inspiring for all Wind customers:

    Over the past three months, our network and service offering have improved tremendously. I’d like to thank those of you who’ve been contributing constructive comments here on the site, via other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and through our Care Centre and stores.

    Wind is setting a good example on how companies should be using various social communities to retain and acquire customers.
  • Provide existing customers with deals – not just new customers: When Wind launched a campaign to give customers $150 in credits they didn’t hide this promotion from existing customers. When you login to your account details, you can clearly see that you can get this credit.
    image When I called Wind, they quickly activated this promotion.

How Can Wind Improve its Customer Service?

While Wind is doing a great job, there is always room for improvement. Let’s look beyond the details of individual complaints. Here are a few general suggestions that I would recommend based on my observations:

  • Respond better on Twitter. I know from my own experience that I fired off a few positive tweets regarding Wind and didn’t even get a retweet or even a thank you. That’s OK but those little things can build loyalty. We’ll see if they read and respond to this post.

    What I found even more disturbing was that when I did a quick Twitter search on “windmobile” there were several inquiries that were not addressed. It’s 2010 Wind Mobile! Time to step it up and engage customers on this channel. Take a look at @comcastcares and follow that example. I must say, they do a kick ass job of responding on Facebook so maybe that’s where they’re focusing on.

  • Enhance customer communication. Below is the only email I get from them.
    There is an opportunity to drive people to new blog posts or promote any new features within this transactional email. In addition, Wind could consider sending an additional monthly e-newsletter. I’m not saying I want to get spammed but if they have promotions or if they’re improving service – I would like to know! Consider creating an automated welcome nurture program for new customers to gauge them on their experience for the first three months.

As my NYC tour guide told us “so they’re you go”. Wind Mobile provides some great examples on how you can take your customer service up a notch – regardless if you’re a B2B or B2C company.

Chad H.


Erin O'Neill said...

Hi Chad...thank you for your feedback about WIND Mobile and sharing your experiences and insights. Trust that we are listening to the conversation and appreciate all of the great ideas and feedback that our community provides..whether through our blog, Facebook and yes, Twitter too. And we're looking for ways to provide even better service as we continue to grow. Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

I tried to talk with a WIND Mobile customer service representative. After holding for apx. two hours, my battery got out of power. On the next day I called them again. But this time I took the call back option. They never called me back. Is this "Customer Service at its Best..."?

Chad said...

Hey anonymous - they should call you back but without leaving your name here with a comment, it's a little difficult. In addition, I was pointing out specific areas of their customer service. Did you leave the same comment on their web forum? I hope you get your issues resolved.

D said...

I switched to Wind about a month ago. I have since switched back to my previous carrier. I was on hold for hours trying to get through to customer service. I was promised return phone calls by customer service that didn't happen. I repeatedly asked for updates on my service issues, waited weeks to get them. When I was finally told that the service issues would take months to resolve, I switched back. I was dropping calls all over. I had no coverage in or near my home. They claim that their prepay is identical to post pay. But it is not because roaming outside of Canada does not work. I was forced into prepay because of their business practice. It seems like they launched prematurely. They do not have enough staff and are lacking cell towers in many areas. No idea why calls drop, but it is obviously a network issue.

Chad said...

Hey D - thanks for your comment. I went to the US and had no issues with roaming. In fact, their US roaming fees kick ass over other providers (another BIG plus). Sorry you had so many issues. I had issues early on with coverage in my area of Toronto but it was resolved within a few weeks. I expected some issues going with a new provider and being an early adopter. Make sure you add comments to Wind forum about your issues.

Outsource Call Center said...

Great post! I learned a lot here. Customer service is vital to the success of any business. Despite how good your product or service is, customer service can make you or it can break you. Thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, in my experience, the Wind Mobile Customer Support is atrocious. I am trying to port my number from Speakout Wireless to Wind and have been trying for almost a week straight. I've been calling every three hours. The 15 or so employees I've talked to don't care at all about my problem. I found out that they are not listening to the fact that my service provider is Speakout, only saying they can port from Rogers, Bell, Fido. I've had to wait thirty minutes on hold just to be told that they'll call me back in an hour and never call back. It's happened five times already. In five days! If Wind is like this to a new customer they can generate future streams of revenue from, imagine if I were an older customer that they're comfortable with screwing over. This is a great example of caveat emptor. Cheap plans come with cheap service. If you're ever thinking about switching to Wind, don't. It's the worst service provider I've come across. Stay away if you want great service, because you sure won't be getting any from Wind.

Chad said...

Hey anonymous - why anonymous? It took me a week to port my wife's number from Rogers but we got it done. I have never heard of Speakout but I would have confirmed that it was possible to port the number before switching. Sorry you're having problems. I've always and still receive excellent service and continue to save $$ every month using Wind over any other carriers. I have never been happier and am pleased that I was an early adopter to this company. That said, try reaching out to them via Twitter or other social media channels and try using your name. That way they can respond. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Wind has awful Customerservice you must have shares in their company



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