Thursday, 13 October 2011

A useless O2 and the BlackBerry Crumble


The last three days have been very interesting.  I was amazed at how many people had their lives SHATTERED by the failure of Research in Motion to put a lid on the problem affecting the BlackBerry.

I say shattered but in some instances it was akin to the Earth ending.  I can understand businesses being effected but it was a real eye-opener to see the dejected, jaded, and confused staring at the little black plastic block in their hands.

I was one of them, at the start.

The situation did uncover something that had been hidden from me though.  Just how stupid O2 customer service are.

They were 'unaware' of any problem up until Monday evening!

I had a remarkable exchange with 'Tony' at O2 on Monday afternoon when I called to enquire why I couldn't get Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.  It was unable to connect to the BlackBerry server! 

He gave me a staggering piece of advice...

"Have you taken the sim card out and rubbed it on your trousers?"

I had to admit, that hadn't been my FIRST idea.  I had assumed it was something a little more technical than that.

"No I haven't done that Tony and quite frankly I don't intend to!"

"Why not, it may work." He answered.

I then went on to ask how a quick rub on my jeans would 'free up' the BlackBerry service, which was the only function not operating on my phone.  Was the sim card THAT clever to only take what it needed from a rub on my jeans?

"Tony, I am not going to take the sim card out and rub it on my jeans for one simple reason.  When my Mac crashed, Apple didn't tell me to take the hard drive out and stick it up my Ass!"

"Er...."

"And another thing Tony, this is a problem with BlackBerry.  It's not the phone."

I hung up and checked Twitter.  There it was, BlackBerry was trending with various permutations of the name.  It was obvious that there was a major problem.  If only someone had told O2.

I tweeted the above exchange and copied the name @O2 into it. 

I got this reply from O2 on Tuesday. Remember, this is in the MIDDLE of all the BlackBerry problems as it travelled around the world wiping out millions of phone systems:

@O2 O2 in the UK @mooreconsortium Doesn't necessarily has to be your trousers, could be any clean cloth. Did it resolve the issue or still persisting?

Guess what Sherlock?  It IS still persiting!  Tell me; Do you actually KNOW what is going on? 

And what's with the grammar?  ("Doesn't necessarily HAS to be...")

Still persisting?  The problem was halfway to India at that point!!  And it carried on travelling to the USA.

If that was the normal advice dispensed to every BlackBerry customer that called O2 then the static electricity generated by the millions of people throughout the EMEA when they rubbed their sim cards furiously on all manner of fabrics would be enough to trigger off a change in the Earths Orbit and set light to Europe!

Hey O2!  Why not put a comment on the front page of your website informing that there is an issue or is it because it wasn't anything to do with you?  Even a message on your Customer Service answerphone would be cool. 

You know the one I mean.  Its the one that gives you hundreds of options, asks you to enter your number, press this button, is this correct, enter your number again, is this correct, press one of these 8 options, enter your number and then, when you finally get through to a carbon based life-form, they ask you for the number of your phone!!!

Heres a quick tip when calling O2.  When you hear that woman who sounds like she is smirking at you, press '0' and then again every time she says 'Sorry', THAT way you will go straight through to Customer Services...where your REAL problems will start!

After two days it was obvious that there was a major, MAJOR, problem at Research in Motion.  It only rectified itself at 4am on Thursday morning.  It was obvious as I was awoken by my Blackberry doing a very passable impersonation of R2D2 on speed.

I can't help thinking that if Steve Jobs had been alive he would have grasped the opportunity and sent a message to the thousands of people who were moaning on Twitter and all other networking sites about the loss of service, and made them a very quick offer for an iPhone.  I can't help but think that BlackBerry, or Research in Motion (should that be MotionLESS?), would have lost an awful lot of customers in the blink of an eye.

I hate to suggest it but having had no real answer for the problem, well not one that is understandable to anyone without a science degree, is it possible that this picture is closer to the truth than we wish to believe?

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