Why is nobody getting back to me?

Hi,

Yesterday I received a message from UPS, not from technical support, to inform me that my mobile was on its way. So I guess the problem is getting fixed.

I’m very disappointed with the treatment I received from the technical support team and for the month and a half that I have had to wait to have my mobile.


While I really understand your frustration for having to wait.

Please take a few things into consideration here:

  1. Technical support is a “technical” support and right now overwhelmed by requests regarding technical troubles with especially the Android 10 update for the FP3(+), that many users experience. (According to a recent posting, they are on the finish line in fixing this problem).
  2. We are in the midst of a pandemic with lockdowns all over Europe right now. Therefore employees might be under quarantine, so the workforce could be reduced. Others will be working in homeoffice or have to take care of children because of closed schools/kindergartens, which is messing up well established working routines.
  3. The UK is no longer part of the EU since the beginning of this year, which makes for border controls and lots of formalities, that prolong transportation of goods.
  4. Fairphone - if I got it right - did hand the parcel to UPS almost instantly.
    And then UPS took its time for delivery (see points 2 and 3).
    What should or could tech support have done to speed things up? Since it was just a few days past Brexit, there wasn’t even enough experience, that could have made them chosing another delivery company.
    Now they know, that UPS might take a month to deliver and could possible chose another company.
  5. Brexit has just started.
    Most likely such a start is a bumpy one. All the new processes and formalities for cross border transactions between EU and UK are new and have to be established. People have to learn them and get used to following them. And it’s not the same as exporting goods to other countries, since there are special regulations for the Brexit parties.

So, in my opinion, blame this on Brexit, Corona and UPS. But, while technical support has been blamed appropriately for delays in servicing bug reports and support requests for defects, in this case, they are not the right addressee for complains.

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BertG, who are you responding to?

I’m not in the UK. And yes. I know, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. But still it should be possible to at least acknowledge they got my notice and let me know how long it will appoximately take. Instead you get a generated answer, telling you „we aim to get back to you within 5 days“ – I waited for more than two weeks until I started action. If they had let me know „hey, we’re in quarantine, we’re doing what we can, but we’re sorry you will probably have to wait another X weeks.“ – that would indeed have been a help.

Having said this: I am also a single working mom of three school children. If I worked like that I’d be out of my job real fast….

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I was just responding directly to the posting by @rost.

Your case is a totally different piece of cake and clearly falls in the category that I mentioned in italics at the bottom of my posting

… technical support has been blamed appropriately for delays in servicing bug reports and support requests for defects, …


I am sorry, if you got the impression, I was meaning you. At least I handle my postings in such a way, that I either respond to the preceding posting or I reference the posting I am replying to by quoting it or addressing the user directly (@).

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Hi @BertG,
I do agree with or believe most of the points you mentioned. However, what I can see in several topics in this forum is that people start to be angry because they don’t know what is happening. They are alone in the dark.

Fairphone talk about ethics but is missing the point here. If they have problems, with Brexit, with FP3+++ and android 10, with UPS or with Covid19, they should estimate the imact of such problems and COMMUNICATE with each stucked customer.

It is acceptable/understandable to say “Due to x or y problems, we are overwhelmed with work and usual deadlines will be multiplied by 4. We do apologise for inconvienents and will do our best to recover from this situation”. And then if deadline x 4 may still not be respected they must communicate again and explain that. It will help to turn anger into patience. It’s the basic of ethics (and customer relation).

Thank you @rae to explain that (again, maybe) to Fairphone strategists!

Long life to FP3 and ethics!

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Clearly FP are unable to estimate what initially are unforseen circumstances, which they hope are temporary so they do not lay out an alternative date etc.

The main problem I see, as you put it, is not being able to answer emails promptly and not being in a position when they do to provide prompt and efficient emotional or practical relief.

However the company wasn’t designed to be fair to consumers but to the labourers, that we expect it is down to our consumer ~ first in line for satisfaction ~ world history.

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Right, @amoun, at first it was difficult to estimate exteral problems in March but, well, internal problems added a tough job last summer.

Well said, it’s exactly the point!

I don’t believe that ethics can consider just one category of people. Fairphone say “We care about human rights and worker well-being.” We are all human. Nowadays, the G… HBGBN do no respect customers neither workers. I hope that Fairphone will not choose who to respect and who not to respect.

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Time will tell… If things stay as they are in terms of service at least they won’t be selling greater numbers of their products. There are a lot of people that consider a clean production chain an important thing but the bigger amount of people does either not care or will run away as soon as it gets too inconvenient.

And another thing that really matters - at least to me - is honesty and transparency in customer relations. Unfortunately it seems that the fair phone industry has to improve a whole lot here (and I’m not talking about Fairphone alone…).

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@ all who are talking ethics: well, not everybody who owns a fairphone in the white western world is a super privileged person. Some have medium to small incomes, and need the phone to do their job properly. And even if not: I think fairness applies to everyone. And I think it is a point of being fair if you at least communicate. I quite agree, we can’t expect to have every obstacle removed for us in a matter of a short time. But it would be so much easier for everyone just to communicate and let peolpe know what’s going on. Not least for FairPhone employees: would generate loads less angry comments…

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@JohannaG
Appologies for my views in that being fair to others is not an option, being honest is difficult and being able to satisfy others needs is impossible.

A persons satisfaction is related to their desires and factory workers in China or wherever have a more demanding cause for fairness, so tough on us Europeans who are not happy with our purchase and involvement.

I don’t expect or want Fairphone to succeed I’m just happy that they make the issue more public. That’s what I’m buying not the phone. The investment is a show of concern and appreciation not a solution to the labourers’ or my problems.

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@amoun: well, I’m buying both. I did decide on FairPhone for a reason – could have gotten a different, cheaper one. But I did go for FairPhone, because I wanted my phone to beas fair as possible fort he workers.

On the other hand, guess what: even as a European I have certain needs. And I have needs to meet. In this case: I need a working phone to get my job done. Otherwise I may not have that job for much longer.

And I can’t afford two phones – one for the job and one for conscience – plus, that doesn’t make any sense at all, if FairPhone is also about being careful with our resources and environment. And that’s what I thought it is.

Also, if FairPhone carry on like this, they’re not making a good cause. Things will only change if the product sells – and it won’t, as long as service is as bad as it is.

Again: I understand when things are difficult. But I think one should at least be told about it. Better communication would be sooo helpful.

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Hi everyone :sunflower:,

Thanks as always for sharing your feedback with us. It really is helpful insight and helps us find our own blindspots too. As promised, regarding all the points raised in this thread regarding longer waiting times and software issues, we’d like to offer some more context and detail to these:

Taking the lessons learnt from the Fairphone 3 launch, we staffed extra capacity in our Customer Support team months prior to the Fairphone 3+ launch and therefore we had an average of 1 day reply time during launch. As soon as the software issues occurred it became difficult to keep up. Between the delay in delivery, the questions about upgrading to Android 10, combined with the critical nature of the software issues, we believe a perfect storm was created. We had more requests coming in per day than we could handle as a team.

Our Customer Support team focussed on those that needed our help most, prioritizing as much as possible all urgent cases of non working phones, repairs and software issues. We foresaw that this could take longer than expected and proactively started recruiting additional support staff continuously since September.

Additionally, a lot of support tickets were related to software issues which needed time to investigate. Looking into these questions with each customer to clarify symptoms, troubleshoot issues and find possible workarounds took some time. As a consequence, this meant that some other questions didn’t get a reply from us until much later.

Customer Support worked together with other departments to flag and categorize these issues and identified 3 critical ones. To keep our customers updated about the status of these issues, we posted frequent updates in our blog. In this blog, we also asked everyone experiencing these issues to contact Customer Support, which further increased the backlog. However, it is important to us that we know about each case – knowing the amount of customers affected has helped us further prioritize and find clues on possible causes/trends. This resulted in us finding several fixes (shared in the same blog post). Customer Support was/is also then able to individually update each customer who has reported issues.

Based on customer feedback and internal learnings, we have now made some changes to the way we handle the occurrence of software issues in future. Currently, we have a much better response time, although we are not fully back yet as not all issues have been resolved. Most new questions received are responded to within 5 working days. However, those who are waiting longer usually have an open case related to a software issue and are still waiting for an update. The upcoming software release at the end of February should address the issues this last group of very patient customers have, however should the waiting time be too long, please give our support team a call.

Besides the progress mentioned above we also have extended our webcare team who have been able to respond to your social media requests faster than ever before. We’ve expanded our Tech Support and Quality Team to better flag, identify and reproduce any issues reported, and we have refined our internal communication processes and are continuing our work on improving the structured way we approach any concerns we receive. Our newest colleagues in the Customer Support team are at the tail-end of their training period, have settled in nicely and are ready to answer all your questions. As you already know, the first line of Customer Support has only been brought in-house in 2019, therefore we don’t have years of data to rely on, but the learning curve has been steep. We have a long way to go, but we have also made some notable improvements.

That said, if you are waiting for a reply from us we promise to get back to you soon. If you need urgent help, instead of sending a new email or a reply please give us a call.

There was also a question on our software testing. To give you a bit more insight on this, we test on 3 different levels: at the assembly partner in China, field testing in Europe and the software testing of our sales and distribution partners. In the future we plan to increase the testing process and capacity further. Part of this would also entail improving the software roll-out strategy, favoring staged deployments of a new software release. This could then allow us to closely monitor issues before they affect a large number of people.

Thank you all once again for your patience and understanding thus far. It is much much appreciated!

Best,
Rae

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Thanks, @rae, for the open and detailed insight with all your explanations and perspectives. This really provides for a better understanding. At least I now have the feeling that Fairphone is not as ignorant towards its customers as I thought.

Now I am just hoping that my personal remaining problem is going to be solved soon as well. It has been a support issue for more than 14 months. You have to understand us customers, too: Having paid almost 500 Euros for a phone, we wish to have a device that fulfills at least basic functions that have been standard for 10+ years.

Again thanks,
Thorsten

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@rae , sadly enough, I need to follow up on this issue again. Support is still not doing its job as desired. After you took care after my ticket no. on Feb 10, I received exactly one single email from support promptly on Feb 12 (after 3 months of total silence). That email, however, did again not provide any help or solution (just referred to the latest update which did not solve anything). Later I received the February update which also did not change anything, and I wrote that within the support ticket on Mar 15, once again asking for a solution for my support issure raised in December 2019(!!). And again no response, no reaction, not even an attempt of a solution. Two more months have passed with zero communication, making my problem last for more than 16 months now. This is so sad - and absolutely no good advertising at all. HELP PLEASE!

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Hi @MrOreo

Noting the ongoing lack of resolution to your support queries I’ve tried to find out what the problems are but you posts don’t give much detail.

Maybe you would create a new topic for each of the issues you have and some other users may be of assistance?

Bluetooth?
LED?

All the best

Hi @MrOreo ,

Really sorry to hear that. Have you perhaps heard anything from our support team since you last posted?

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Hello @rae ,

Sadly: No, I have not yet heard back from anyone. It’s just a mess.

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@MrOreo, apologies once again that your ticket has been ongoing for a while and for the frustration caused. I have however checked in again with my colleagues in Customer Support and I am told someone is already in contact with you to answer your questions.

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@rae , thank you for your reply. Yes, indeed, I was contacted just yesterday. So once again there is hope for some solution some day.

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