Why isn’t Ting picking up right away when I call?

By Andrew Moore-Crispin

We make a big deal about our no hold, no transfer customer service. That’s because we’re proud of it. Right now, though, if you call us, there’s a good chance we won’t pick up right away.

There are several things happening all at once that are driving call volumes higher than anyone could have anticipated.

Before we get to that, though, let us say this: Every time we don’t pick up the phone right away and someone gets put on hold, we view it as a broken promise. We are taking this very seriously. This post is intended to offer you the best explanation we can. It certainly isn’t intended as an excuse.

The short version is this: The Ting support team is overrun right now due to circumstances entirely outside of their control. For questions that aren’t account-specific, “self service” via the Ting help site is the best bet, wherever that’s possible. Read on for all the details.

What’s going on?

The sheer volume of calls coming in is the root cause of us not picking up the phone as quickly as we want to. Our customer service team doesn’t follow a script and instead works on the mandate of helping people find actual solutions to problems. This as compared with the customer support norm of trying to get people off the phone as quickly as possible. That’s an exacerbating factor. To be clear, though, that mandate doesn’t change, even in times of stress like this.

What’s driving calls?

Sprint’s new “financial eligibility date” (FED) check is driving the majority of the calls, and the fact that we still don’t have hard and fast answers is frustrating for everyone involved.

People are also calling in with questions about Ting on a GSM network, to find out if their device is compatible and what steps they need to take to get started.

People continue to call in with general questions about Ting after hearing about us in the latest Consumer Reports “Best Cell Phone Carriers” survey results.

What is Ting doing to correct this?

For the past couple of weeks it has been all hands to the pump. The various other Ting teams are helping the support team whenever we can. We’re jumping in to answer help requests as they come in. We’re not jumping in on the call queue and getting on the phones because we’d probably end up more a hinderance than a help.

For the biggest call driver, FED, we’re getting all the information we can and sharing it internally and externally. FED is in an awkward place. We still don’t have all the answers yet and so our project and development teams can’t design around it. As it stands, it’s a real pain point. We know all too well how frustrating it is and we sincerely apologize.

We’ve put together a program to help people falling on the wrong side of FED. We continue to gather all the information we can on FED and will share it as soon as we’re able to make sense of it.

Everything else is quite manageable… or would be if our support team weren’t tied up with FED fallout. It’s growth that the support team has been preparing for.

As our customer base grows, we’re always hiring new smart and talented people to pick up the phones when you call. This temporary spike in calls is just that, temporary. We just need to dig out from under the pile of calls and emails before we’re back to delivering on our promise of no hold customer service.

In the interim, though, we’re very sorry if you get put on hold. This isn’t something we’re about to make a habit of.

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