Are You Interested in Cost Saving Tips?

Are you a Consumer and also in Business? Then you will be interested in knowing how I have found some excellent suppliers, delivering some excellent savings.

Whenever I research a supplier I evaluate not just the cost but also the customer service ethos, including how they have dealt with my complaints. I am not really convinced that UK suppliers know how to deal properly with complaints, so I will just say that all of them have been satisfactory on that front, apart from one who has been truly outstanding. And yes I do have very high standards when it comes to dealing with customer complaints. I think it comes from my many years in the Textiles Industry and my training within it, which means I am very critical when it comes to receiving customer service, especially when you are connected to foreign call centres, and are given the runaround.

Anyway let's get on with it;

Supplier no.1 is Plusnet

They are a telecoms and broadband company, supplying landline rental, calls and broadband. For the purpose of this article, I am only going to discuss the broadband.

BT have recently upgraded broadband services in the area where I live (Wyre Forest, Worcestershire) and have installed fibre to the green boxes on street corners. It's still copper from there to the house, so it's not cable like Virgin. I have kept looking out for fibre for a while and when I got confirmation that I could get it, I went for it.

So I have fibre broadband for the home/business at £19.99 per month, delivering 55mb download and 18mb upload with an allowance of a massive 250gb per month. This doesn't only satisfy my personal and business requirements, it copes with everyone in the household as well, including accessing internet with iPlayer through the TV, all my video education and my business requirement to upload a lot of videos quickly.

Plusnet are actually owned by BT and only use the BT network. Therefore any upgrades that BT make Plusnet will immediately benefit from this.

If I introduce customers, I can get discounts, so if you are interested, please follow this link.

Click here for information on Plusnet products.

Supplier no.2 is GiffGaff

GiffGaff are a mobile network and run by it's customers, an interesting concept, so as far as I know there are no call centres, but an excellent forum to post questions and interaction via the web with agents.

Freedom from the contract lock-in, when you buy a sim only agreement with a monthly top-up. Your phone does need to be unlocked. So this is what I went through.

I was with T-Mobile, who I haven't had major issues with, but I have just found them too expensive an not very forthcoming with deals. I have been with them for many years and loyalty counts really for nothing when you are in a lock-in contract with a mobile phone company.

  1. I requested T-Mobile to unlock my phone.
  2. I ordered a sim from GiffGaff.
  3. Phone was unlocked, which did take far too long with T-Mobile (30 days and it should only take 10-28 days and costs £15)
  4. I gave T-Mobile also 30 days notice and requested a PAC code, which they gave me straight away.
  5. I activated the SIM online with GiffGaff.
  6. I synched my iPhone with iTunes, plus changed some other settings, which GiffGaff sent via text, which was for MMS settings, although you can do those manually very easily.
  7. I gave GiffGaff via their website the PAC code and when I wanted my number ported across.
  8. They moved my number across on the day I requested and job done.

GiffGaff runs on the O2 network and I know you'll all be thinking, well that went down, but as you will agree that doesn't happen very often, well part from blackberry that is, oops!

Anyway the package I have got with them is just £10 per month, with 250 minutes, unlimited data and unlimited texts, which is a bargain!

If I introduce customers, they get some discount upfront and I can earn points too for discount.

Click here for information on GiffGaff.

Supplier no.3 is 1&1 Internet

1&1 are a hosting company, who provides hosting for my wordpress website, plus domains.

There is not a huge amount to say really apart from the fact that it's easy to use, great support and I mean great support and very good prices.

I also use them for my email against my own domain name and because I use and iPhone, iPad and Mac and they support IMAP for my emails (Internet Message Access Protocol), which means wherever I read my email or delete, its instantly updated on all my devices, which is brilliant.

Same with them, if I introduce customers, I can earn some discount on what I pay.

Click here for more information on 1&1 Internet.

It's really interesting how these companies are very clever in suggesting introductions to others and thereby getting some discounts.  With the advent of Social Media, this is really easy to do, as people like to investigate personal recommendations, as supposed to having to investigate from scratch.

I hope you check them all out and receive the same support and savings I have been able to achieve with these companies. Let me know how you get on!


Customer Service in Social Media

I am sharing with you my own personal experience of the impact of social media in customer service. Now my experience of conventional customer service was very poor, but via social media it was excellent.

Firstly a little bit of background.

I am a T-Mobile customer and have been a customer of theirs for about 6 years, when I decided to purchase my very first blackberry, when the Blackberry Pearl was released. I was with Orange ever since I became a mobile phone user, so it took a lot of convincing for me to move to another network.

The service I had received from Orange was superb.

Anyway I made the jump and that was it. I was equally impressed with T-Mobile's service and their agents did an excellent job. So it all worked out for me. I was a very late adopter in the Blackberry market, but felt with the smaller phone my wait was justified.

Now fast forward to September 2010 and for my Birthday I treated myself to an iPhone 4, and had an early contract upgrade, which was a real gift.

All seemed to be well and my first bill was a bit of a mess coming out of one contract and starting a new one. Anyway I decided to leave it for a few months and review it again to make sure all was well. I don't get paper bills, so I get a monthly text to let me know that the bill is ready online. I don't know about you but when I get that message I don't immediately jump online and check my bill so I ignored it for a few months. I did notice that although I am not a huge user, the bill appeared high so decided to investigate further.

I then discovered they had been overcharging me ever since my changeover for Blackberry Booster, which of course I did not need or indeed use on my iPhone! So I decided to call.

I will just summarise this quickly as I want to get on to the social media bit.

I initially phoned their customer services and connected with the Philippines and it was not a pleasant experience at all. Basically I could not hear them properly because of the line quality and on top of that the agent would not allow me to speak and if I did speak she would repeat back what I had said to make sure she understood what I had just said. This meant a lot of wasted 'yes that is correct' sentences on my part.

After a long while, when she finally realised she could not solve my problem, she ended the call by saying she would send my account for re-calculation.

I decided to share my frustration on twitter and I received a nice response from T-Mobile.

In the end I had to email T-Mobile to get them in the UK to call me to sort it, which in fairness they did quickly.

My bill should now be showing the correct figures. OK when I did check a few days later, surprise, surprise it did not. Better still they had given me an early termination penalty for cancelling my Blackberry booster. I have not had a Blackberry for 4 months now! After sorting that with the Philippines again, they confirmed all should be well. However my bill online was still incorrect, so I resorted to Twitter.

What I received from T-Mobile via twitter was a very fast and satisfactory conversation that was resolved to my satisfaction, whereas the initial telephone conversation I had was far from resolved.

For me it shows that Social Media can work and have significant impact on the Brand, providing it is done well and T-Mobile have done this very well on this occasion.