04 Nov 2011
Anyone misguided enough to follow me on Twitter will know that I am embroiled in an ongoing dispute with mobile network 3 about the whereabouts of a phone I sent in for repair last month.
In fact I have spent so much time on the phone to 3 in recent weeks, I have now added "haranguing mobile network providers" to my list of interests on Facebook.
To cut a (painfully) long story short, I dropped my broken smartphone off at one of their stores on 9 October and now it has gone missing.
The store claim they sent it off to the 3 repair centre on 21 October (more 10 days after I dropped it off) and that it should have arrived the next day. Only it didn't and now no-one knows where it is.
Actually, that's not quite true. According to 3's Twitter-based customer support team, my phone might be one of a "batch" that has "gone missing" while in the hands of 3's courier firm, DPD.
Three are now trying to establish whether or not this is the case, but I reckon the chances of me seeing my phone again are slimmer than Dave The Dealer's hardware margins.
The fact my phone has gone missing is a trifle annoying. So is the fact that I'm still being made to stump up more than £30 a month for a handset I don't have, and for smartphone services I can't use.
But, neither of these things have infuriated me as much as dealing with the robot-like approach of 3's call centre-based customer service team.
Every question I ask seems to be greeted with an automated, "you are a highly-valued customer, Miss Donnelly," or "we are treating this as a matter of urgency," by one of their call centre drones.
I appreciate (having done a stint in customer call centre work myself) that it is important to remain calm and measured while dealing with irate callers, and that it is hard to get enthusiastic about - what is often - thankless work.
Even so, a little bit of sympathy and understanding really wouldn't go amiss, and would do far more to assure me of my customer value than listening to some call centre bod repeatedly try (and fail) to deliver empty platitudes with any kind of sincerity.