The Plea To Three

As a mobile network here in the UK, Three are the most vocal when it comes to social media but not only do they communicate with customers online they take the feedback and use it in a positive way.  For example when The One Plan launched on a rolling 1 month sim only plan instead of 12 months there was no option for tethering.

Everyone took to Twitter to complain and show their feelings on this and within 3 days the policy changed and now customers were allowed to tether!  This shows that when people have a voice it can make a difference and Three are listening.


So now comes a very public plea from myself to Three.  We know that the company watches the website and takes on board feedback we have and we have had a great relationship with the network for a while now even securing a free Nokia Lumia 800 to give away.

As a fan of the brand and a former employee I have seen lots of positive change within the company and that is great to see.  There are two points I would like to raise and hopefully readers will comment on their thoughts.

This is NOT a rant, more constructive feedback from a fan, a follower and a customer of a long time

Data Roaming

A few years ago Three changed the roaming market with an ideal package called 3LikeHome which meant if you were roaming in a country with a Three network and you used that network (Three Austria for example) then you can use your use as you were in the UK!.  Calls, Texts, Data it was just like being at ‘home’.  Unfortunately this service stopped over a year ago and despite being available on other Three networks around the world, the UK company stopped it but also has nothing in place to replace it!

We are heading out to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and current prices for data are £1.28 per MB… no packs available just a standard MB charge.  Now consider using a quick map on an Android phone for a single direction from the hotel to the event might cost around £3-£4!.

Looking at other networks, T-Mobile, O2, Vodafone and Orange all offer daily data packs for a set price from £1.50 for 15mb on O2 to 25mb a day free on certain Vodafone plans.  I would love to see data bundles available on Three soon even if enough to check a few emails and tweet friends and family whilst on a holiday.

Customer Services

Three have made a forward step with customer services by introducing @ThreeUKSupport on Twitter and let me just say that this team are FANTASTIC!.  However there are still many times you need to call 333 from your phone, especially as the twitter team are not available over the weekends and this is where things start to get really bad.  There are many mixed stories over the internet about 333 and the service given, unfortunately for the company there are far too many negative ones which is having an impact on the company reputation.

Here is a recent example from my own experience which has been fed back to Three to make sure others do not go through the same.  When looking to close my 15GB rolling sim contract down a week ago as there was no need for it due to recently taking out a 24 month One Plan contract giving me AYCE data with tethering there was no need for a modem deal costing me £16 a month so I called cancellations who asked my reasons for leaving so I explained the above. I was then told that tethering use will be STOPPED on the One Plan from March (now before you make the same mistake I did please note that this is NOT TRUE and has been confirmed by Three that tethering IS STAYING).

This was a big concern to me so I had to wait for an official reply from Three who looked into the matter and said there was no change to policy and tethering IS allowed.  This looked to be just someone from cancelations not wanting to have a mark against their record for the day for allowing someone to cancel but left me with a really poor experience and a concern about my phone line on something which was made up.

The problem with Three here is that even myself, a fan of the brand, a customer of a long time and someone very ‘tech savvy’  when it comes to the UK market ended a call with customer services concerned about incorrect information given.

Now Three have CS in the UK for Business customers.  Surely customers on the ‘premium’ One Plan who spend £30-£40 a month MINIMUM should have access to this centre too even as a trial with some users to see if it makes a difference.

With the UK market being so competitive these days no network can afford to lose customers, especially those spending large amounts of money because of poor customer service.

I cannot knock the network of Three, sitting here at home with average speeds over 8Mb/s due to having a HSPA+ mast near my house and the fact the network allows AYCE data is really good and does away with bill shock, plus lets customers get on with using their phone and not worry how they use it.

So thumbs up from me there!

Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts so Three can see our feedback and fingers crossed take this constructive feedback on board.

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  • Rob Little

    I’ve just had to lodge a complaint with 3 myself, and was shocked by how bad their customer services were. The last time I used their customer services – which wasn’t THAT long ago, they were great, so I’m really unhappy now, and considering my options.

    I was already unhappy enough as it was – the complaint I was lodging was about the fact that they’d effectively rendered my contract useless by changing the terms without even notifying me, and couldn’t believe how difficult it was to actually discuss it with someone – and amazed to find that they were accusing me of behaving badly by simply trying to use a service I was paying for! (and I was barely using the service at that)

  • Rob Little

    I’ve just had to lodge a complaint with 3 myself, and was shocked by how bad their customer services were. The last time I used their customer services – which wasn’t THAT long ago, they were great, so I’m really unhappy now, and considering my options.

    I was already unhappy enough as it was – the complaint I was lodging was about the fact that they’d effectively rendered my contract useless by changing the terms without even notifying me, and couldn’t believe how difficult it was to actually discuss it with someone – and amazed to find that they were accusing me of behaving badly by simply trying to use a service I was paying for! (and I was barely using the service at that)

  • Guest

    I would certainly agree with the customer services being bad, called up to cancel a monthly rolling mobile broadband subscription and had to listen to about an hour of quite hard sales tactics before being advised it would be cancelled. A month later I received a bill and the contract hadn’t been cancelled, so called them back and after several escalations was told couldn’t find any notes but as a GWG would cancel it then. Several escalations and a lot of phone calls later I eventually got it cancelled and the money refunded but it has left a very sour taste in my mouth with regards to the network and I would certainly have to think long and hard before committing to a contract with them.

  • Guest

    I would certainly agree with the customer services being bad, called up to cancel a monthly rolling mobile broadband subscription and had to listen to about an hour of quite hard sales tactics before being advised it would be cancelled. A month later I received a bill and the contract hadn’t been cancelled, so called them back and after several escalations was told couldn’t find any notes but as a GWG would cancel it then. Several escalations and a lot of phone calls later I eventually got it cancelled and the money refunded but it has left a very sour taste in my mouth with regards to the network and I would certainly have to think long and hard before committing to a contract with them.

  • Dave

    Wish all ayce data plans allowed tethering and not just the one plan. Why should they be able to say HOW you eat your data??

    • Billinge

      I’ve just signed up with Three on a 1 month rolling contract, seemed that safest bet considering the CS horror stories.
      I checked at least 3 times that the deal I took out (£15pm, 300 mins, 3000 sms, AYCE data) allowed tethering, and each times it was confirmed as allowed.  I’ve been trialling a PAYG sim for a month, and have been tethering away on a £10 PAYG plan offering 100 mins, 3000 sms, 500MB data.  Also had confirmed that voicemail access comes out of my monthly allowance, rather than being charged separately.
      I’ll see how 3 goes over the next few months.
      They also told me that tethering on PAYG is to be phased out in March…(?)

      • Terry King

        Hi…I have a payg £15 rolling sim ayce with tethering since July 2012, yesterday they stopped it without warning and now argue it was never allowed and I was “lucky”. I only bought it for the tethering as I was living in motorhome for a while, but the call centre in India are adamant it was never allowed.this was not the case as I spent hours trawling through 3s website to find it was allowed at the time. I have cancelled the dd! Never again three, this is the second time I have tried you.

  • Dave O

    I was on Three a few years back.

    1) I called CS mid-contract to request a new number – any from the pool – and was told no mobile operator does this. I’ve done this several times before on most networks. I told him he was wrong 3 times before, oh look, Three do it, and they have a procedure in place and everything!

    2) I wanted to block all outgoing calls/texts for 1 number on the contract, CS said they couldn’t do that. Again, after telling him he was wrong a few times it was suddenly possible.

    3) When I called to cancel my contract after it expired, I had a full blown argument with a woman who refused to let me cancel. She said the other networks were worse, that I was being silly, and which upgrade phone would she put me down for. After saying, calmly but firmly, I was leaving Three she hung up on me.

    Ever since Three I’ve always asked friends and family what CS is like on their networks. You might not use it that often, but you want it to be painless when you do.

    I like the look of The One Plan, good phone coice, but I still hear bad things about CS – which stops me dead in my tracks.

    Good article. It’s the one area they *really* need to work on.

    • Rob Little

      Having said all that, the reason I left Orange was because their CS went down the pan – and I had similar arguments with them about silly things that they should have known better about.
      I moved to T-mobile, and then left them simply because I really didn’t want to be with a company that had anything to do with Orange…

      Of course she might be right that the others are all worse, but that’s hardly an excuse, and she really had no place saying that. You could – just about – give up your mobile phone altogether AND still survive ;-)

  • Anonymous

    Excellent article, and one that rings true from my experiences. To be clear, Three do have a bad reputation because of poor customer services, and it’s definitely losing them customers. The problem as I see it is quite clear – Three’s UK customer service (in particular their Twitter & Blog team) are EXCELLENT, however it is the Indian(?) call center staff that are letting customers down, and spoiling Three’s reputation. Whilst I have yet to had the need to phone Three CS (instead using Three’s blog and having good results) a good friend had a nightmare experience! She wanted to leave Three because where she lived in an area where she got no reception rendering her phone useless – I’m sure we can all agree that is a very valid reason to want to leave, but to cut a long story short, she really had to jump through a lot of hoops to finally leave, and will never use the company again as a result. I have heard similar stories about Three making it almost impossible for customers to leave! Now, it us only natural to want to retain customers, but this should always be done fairly and with good retention offers! As a solution, Three need to make sure their call centre staff treats customers fairer and better, and possibly expand the UK customer services team. The Three blog is great, and so is the UK Twitter team, but not everyone is on Twitter or would know to reply to blog posts etc, so maybe, there could be a help portal on the main Three website with direct online contact to the UK Three CS team – in a similar way to the blog, but unlike the blog where you’re replying to specific post topics, this help section would always be there for any help needed. Better still, UK only call centres please!

  • Sleighty

    I’m on a Three business contract having left Orange, I’m very happy to say that Three CS has been absolutely fine on the few occasions I have had to call them. Orange business CS were good a few years ago but seemed to reduce the service and opening times. The Three network coverage has certainly been better for me in the areas I use, so overall I’m happy with the switch to Three. The issue of data usage abroad is a very good one, I hadn’t heard of the 3likehome plan, sounds like a winner to me and Three should definitely reconsider. 

  • Steve

    Big companies need to learn that saving money by outsourcing support abroad, actually harms the business. Sure it may save money in the short term but you WILL lose customers.