Operators Opinion

Three UK: Fascinating example of a missed sales opportunity

Screen shot 2011 05 10 at 23 17 23

No one has my 3UK iPhone 4 number. I don’t tend to call people on it. Instead I use it as a data consumption and creation device. So when an 0845 number called just a moment ago, I thought it might be 3UK calling.

It was.

The chap calling was one of those highly proficient, very polite and very informed sales guys you often come across. He asked if he could put a special offer to me. I agreed.

I listened. It was a good offer for ‘me or for any friends or family’ — thousands of minutes, thousands of texts, and a free phone all for £15 a month.

I thanked the chap and declined on the basis that I didn’t need a new account from 3UK. I already have 3 contracts with them.

I did explain that I would welcome the opportunity to extend my existing contracts with 3UK. My price plans are wrong, you see. I’d actually like to buy more from the company. I just haven’t taken the time (or, perhaps I don’t quite have the inclination) to deal with their outsourced call centre in India. I have found that this team is very efficient at dealing with standard arrangements. I am not a standard arrangement though. Multiple contracts, multiple devices and so on.

“I imagine you won’t be able to help me,” I said to the chap. I heard him clear his throat as I followed up, “I will probably have to call your call centre, right?”

I could hear the disappointment in his voice.

I’d just explained that I’d like to do WAY more business than a paltry 15 quid a month. I’d like to — for example — add perhaps 2-3 more devices to my existing contracts along with decent £35+ contracts.

“You’re right,” the chap sighed.

He thanked me for my time.

I thanked him.

He hung up.

Isn’t that ridiculous?

Somewhere in a rather flash boardroom in Maidenhead, someone has commissioned this guy to call existing customers to offer them this special offer. I imagine at some point, somebody in the boardroom wondered out loud what their sales people would do if customers had an existing enquiry. And at some point, somebody senior at 3UK will have slapped the idea down with the assumption that if the consumer wants something beyond the basic offer they’re flogging, they can damn well phone customer services. Or go into a shop. Or order online. This outreach is ONLY about the special offer.

Deary me.

Do some segmentation analysis.

Or, no — better still — why don’t you properly equip and empower your sales outreach teams to actually take some cash from me, rather than offering me some (good) but irrelevant deal?

If the chap had asked, i think I’d have told him he could put me down for an HTC Cha Cha, an HTC Flyer, a BlackBerry Bold 9900 and … you know what, this afternoon — right now — I’d have bought another iPad 2. Right now I am in the mood to buy. You know how it is. And this guy was good. I knew it when I heard him speak. He could have sold me a ton of stuff with a few ‘beads to the natives’ sales techniques like doubling the minutes or adding some token stuff to make me feel good and to allow me to spend more with him.

I want to be clear that this is — I dunno — let’s add it up… 35 quid x 4 = £2,520 over 18 months. That’s almost ten times the £15x 18 month target (£270) the sales guy was trying to achieve.

I will probably feel entirely different tomorrow. But right now the sun is shining and it’s just gone 5pm. So I’d have done some deals.

Anyway. We move on.

I’ll get round to sorting out my price plans and getting some new phones at some point with 3UK’s call centre.

In the meantime though my wife will no doubt be happy: To all the executives at 3UK reading this, that two and a half grand additional revenue I would have given you will probably be spent on some curtains.

Update: There’s a possibility that the chap who called was actually calling from a third-party sales agency not working at the direction of 3UK. I hope to have some confirmation from 3UK about this shortly.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

5 replies on “Three UK: Fascinating example of a missed sales opportunity”

I suspect this could be outside of 3. I had a long discussion when they phoned me recently about an offer and the guy offered me multiple options and eventually came up with something too good to turn down.

For all of the faults of the call centres for coverage, price, customer service and almost everything else 3 is way ahead of the rest in the UK in my experience.

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