Part of a Whole

My name is Nicolas Steenhout.
I speak, train, and consult about inclusion, accessibility and disability.

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You Did Not Lose Me As A Customer, You Pushed Me Away!

I am continually amazed at businesses that just won’t respond to me. Businesses may commit many sins, may have many faults, but the one thing that is sure to send me looking at other options is if they don’t speak to me. So, ok, this is not a post about accessibility, but I needed to get it off my chest!

In these difficult financial times, I would think that businesses would work very hard at retaining existing customers, and acquiring new ones. You hear business folks say "we lost customers this month", and lament about that. The thing is, they haven’t *lost* customers. They pushed customers away. This happens a lot, but I’m thinking about two specific experiences that happened recently:

2 Degrees Mobile Limited

The recent new company on the mobile phone market, 2 Degrees, was running a pre-launch campaign. People who signed up for it were promised a free $5 SIM card, for a "chin wag". Cool. So I went on the website to sign up. I encountered problems, the site just did not work for me, whether I used the computer at home or at work, whether I used Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Explorer or Opera. Annoying, but not the end of the world.

I rang to sign up, they took my details, and said that they would send me the SIM shortly after they announced their pricing in early August. I waited.

Last week, I received a txt from 2 Degrees telling me that my SIM card was in the mail. Post in New Zealand pretty much takes two business days to arrive. It has now been 7 business days since I received the txt from them. I asked on Twitter for updates, but have not received any response whatsoever from @2degreesmobile. Not to several public tweets, nor a couple DM’s. Yesterday, I finally responded to the txt I got, asking for an update. No response.

At this point, I don’t think I *would* actually sign up with them. Setting aside the fact that they don’t really cater for high-data users, the mere fact that they’ve been repeatedly and continually ignoring me is speaking louder than words. Their silence is telling me this: They don’t actualy want my business. They did not lose my business. They pushed me away. Here I was, ready to give them a fair trial and check them out. And now, their actions (or lack thereof) have pushed me away.


We’ve been Orcon customers for a while now and been satisfied with the level of service we got. Didn’t really need to contact customer service for anything.

Then we contacted them to discuss upgrading our plan. We did as they prefer, dropped a ticket on their site. Did not hear back from them for two weeks. Dropped another ticket, still no answer for nearly a week. Rang, on hold for nearly an hour, no real help at all. Eventually, after a few calls we were able to speak to someone who was able to help. During the discussion, we learned that if we’d rang the line for new/prospective customers, the hold is about 5 minutes, whereas the hold goes nearer 60 on the existing customers line!

The lack of response from Orcon was quite disappointing. Here we were, wanting to upgrade our plan, and they weren’t talking to us!

Orcon did not *lose* us as customers. They pushed us away.

Final Thoughts

If you are running a business, just be responsive to your existing and potential clients. Build a relationship with them. Don’t ignore them, because if you ignore them, they’ll go somewhere else. You might have the best price, or the best product, but if your interaction with customers is crap, you’re pushing them away.

The same could be said about FOSS projects too.

Just sayin’…

7 thoughts on “You Did Not Lose Me As A Customer, You Pushed Me Away!


    The Chin-Wag simcard was a free offering. They are not obliged, it is not as of RIGHT! They are just being nice by allowing you to use their service for free.

    Go call NZ Post, it is not 2degrees fault.

    Furthermore the fact that you tried to find out more using Twitter and texting back to a non-reply text service; just shows how IGNORANT you really are.

    If you want to use 2d go open your purse strings and pay the $2.

  2. Steven, thank you for your very helpful and constructive feedback.

    The chin-wag was a free offering, yes. But once offered, the company really ought to follow up on their offer. They don’t *have* to, of course (although the advertising commission may have something to say about that).

    I don’t believe for one moment that 2 Degrees “lets us use the service for free” out of being nice. They did this as a marketing activity, to try and convert people to their service. This is completely normal and expected behaviour from any company releasing new services or products.

    There was nothing to indicate that the txt came from a non-reply service. As for Twitter, I tried to get their attention there, because they had actually interacted with me on Twitter before the release of the service.

    It is not about money for me. yeah, I *could* go and spend $2 on a SIM. But I don’t want to. I don’t want to because 2 Degrees have shown me that they are not interested in my business. They have not responded to many of my attempts to contact them, in many different ways.

    As I said in the post, everyone makes mistakes. That, in and of itself, is not reason enough to be disatisfied. The problem happens when the mistake is mishandled.

  3. I agree with Steven’s sentiment, if not the way he put it! You can’t blame 2D if they don’t respond to your tweets and you texts unless they have told you that is how they will communicate with you. Why not call their 0800 number like the rest of us; I’ve found them helpful and doing the best job they can with a crap website situation.

    If your text was like mine then they will have told you that delivery may take a while. It’s not up to them to chase you at this point, but it’s up to you to decide how much you want to use what looks like a cheap and effective service. Your call, not theirs.

  4. Jez, I’m glad you’ve found 2D helpful. It’s not been my experience.

    My text was not like yours, they just said the SIM was in the mail.

    My point with this blog was simply that if a business doesn’t respond to people, particularly in these times of tough financial climate, they are not attracting or retaining clients.

    I think it is generally more important for a business to attract or retain clients, than for clients to try a new service.

  5. Your an ant, Your a consumer! Unfortunnastly you don’t get it, they get thousands of requests every single day. Perhaps wait till they can settle down a bit then you can complain.

    They are not like your friend who you can just call, they are a business and they are working hard. Just look at their facebook page, the admin tries their best to help out.

    You could pay 2x the price on VF & Telecom. Good luck.

  6. Hello again Steven,

    This attitude that customers are just “one of thousands” is what has led to the demise of many companies. Businesses cannot afford to treat potential customers that way anymore. And I am not just referring to 2 Degrees here.

  7. Dude,

    My 2D sim card did not turn up for awhile either – but I got an e-mail about a week after I was informed by text it was in the post asking me why I hadn’t started using it, and if it had disappeared to send them an e-mail at and let them know. Sent them a message and got a new SIM a couple of days later :) Just remember that they are in the middle of a massive launch – a nationwide effort is pretty difficult and they’ve done pretty well so far. I can assure you from experience that logistical exercises like this are always going to have hiccups, and if they are like any other good kiwi company, once they know they’ve made a mistake they will do everything to get it fixed up for you. And anyway, I’m sure that they would _love_ to keep you as a customer and would not mean to be pushing you away like that… give them a call or send them an e-mail and I’m sure they’ll get you up and running asap :)

    The call center thing with Orcon is a whole other story – I can definitely tell you, from working in a Sales team at a major call center in New Zealand, that I still find it funny when customers call through to my team because they think it’ll be a bit faster. There is a _lot_ more routing and logic that goes on here, and the time that you wait will more depend on what customers have decided to do at the time you have called, what skills an agent has and most importantly, what the workforce optimizer forecasted the call volume would be – which is kind of like trying to predict the weather. If you do find you’re having to wait a little while to get through to a call center, next time you speak with them, ask them what time they are quietest. For example, if you call our centre around 2.30pm on a weekday, I can guarantee we’ll answer your call within a minute or so, if not instantly, as opposed to Mondays between 9am and 11am where you could be waiting anywhere between 2 and 40 minutes – and this is for the Sales queue as well. There is a lot of misinformation about call centers and the way they are run – so if there is anyway the team you are speaking with can make your experience better, just let them know. In most cases, they’ll be pretty happy to help. We are all human, and if you’re reasonable you’ll never be treated as a number.

    I know I’ve kind of gone on a bit here, but figured its always good stuff to know – I hope you get the sim card soon because 2degrees does look pretty promising and are still ramping up.

    Cheers, Jamie.

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