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Mystery Caller: Prepay handset for the elderly

Paul Withers
August 11, 2014

This issue Mystery Caller is shopping on someone else’s behalf. Grandma needs a new phone so I’m looking for a cheap and easy one for her to use. The only problem is she doesn’t want to be tied in to a lengthy contract, so it’s prepaid handsets only   

5: Vodafone

Moses asked whether my grandmother could use a touchscreen or not, to which I explained it wouldn’t be an ideal choice

Manner – 2/5
Understanding – 2/5
Knowledge – 1/5
Helpfulness – 3/5
Clarity – 2/5
Overall – 2/5
Total – 12/30

4: EE

Theresa offered an alternative handset in case I was prepared to spend a little bit more money

Manner – 5/5
Understanding – 2/5
Knowledge – 2/5
Helpfulness – 2/5
Clarity – 3/5
Overall – 3/5
Total – 17/30

3: Three

Ashley mentioned she rarely deals with prepay over the phone so she had to double check everything

Manner – 3/5
Understanding – 2/5
Knowledge – 2/5
Helpfulness – 5/5
Clarity – 4/5
Overall – 3/5
Total – 19/30

2: O2

Again he tried to direct me to checking them out online but, barring the work one I’m typing on, I don’t have a computer available

Manner – 3/5
Understanding – 5/5
Knowledge – 5/5
Helpfulness – 4/5
Clarity – 5/5
Overall – 4/5
Total – 26/30

1: Virgin

Ruth said she had the perfect phone for my grandma, the Nokia 206. She would even be able to listen to the ’wireless’ on it

Manner – 5/5
Understanding – 4/5
Knowledge – 5/5
Helpfulness – 5/5
Clarity – 5/5
Overall – 5/5
Total – 29/30


Buying a new mobile can be a daunting task even for the experts, so for an elderly person it must seem like a nightmare.

With most networks trying to tie every customer into lengthy deals, it was inevitable that most CSAs would push me towards a SIM-only deal.

Moses from Vodafone wasn’t very comfortable selling me a prepaid phone and that became evident when I asked him about what I’d get as top-up rewards.  Theresa had a lovely manner but again seemed short of knowledge about prepaid deals.  Ashley from Three had the same problem – her questions were aimed solely at contract customers.

Scott from from O2 was excellent. Unfortunately, he was a little bit impolite.

The clear winner was Ruth of Virgin Mobile, the only CSA who showed any real character or  a personal touch. She convinced me she had picked the right phone.

Full article in Mobile News issue 569 (July 28, 2014).

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