There are few carriers like T-Mobile anywhere on this planet. And every once in a while, I step back after reading reader experiences and can’t help but be impressed.
Beginning Friday, and over the weekend, the carrier opened up pre-orders for the new iPhone 6. But to say that it was a little bumpy is an understatement. Pre-orders went live 4-5 hours late, even then orders failed multiple times as customers resorted to calling Customer Care staff. Then on Saturday, to the annoyance of some, JUMP! pre-orders were given priority over non-JUMP! customers. Frustration grew more as customers received messages claiming their order was “backordered”.
But T-Mobile has spend the last three days responding to customers, to help make the best of a bad situation. The @TMobile and @TMobileHelp twitter accounts have been tweeting like mad, but perhaps more impressive is John Legere’s own personal involvement. He’s been responding through Twitter and email, even responding in lengthy messages to help customers understand the situation. Also, getting his fellow executives involved in handling the numerous emails.
Thanks to readers passing on messages, I’m able to help clear up some of the confusion. As I like to do every now and then.
T-Mobile’s “backorder” buzz-word doesn’t mean exactly what you might think (or it might). If you pre-ordered really early on Friday and received the text telling you that your device was backordered, and weren’t given any specific shipping date, there’s good reason for it. But there’s no reason to panic.
First – Every single customer received the same text. Whether you were 1st or 1,001st in the list, you got the same message. It’s not an indication that you’ll have to wait months for your order to come through.
Second – T-Mobile didn’t have any physical stock of the iPhone 6 at the time of pre-order. So technically, all devices are back-ordered. Once stock comes in early this week, devices will get matched to individual customers.
“Backorder is a word that we are going to discontinue use of. If does carry connotations that you might not get a device at all. In this case all it means is that we haven’t received inventory from Apple yet (which we should early this week) and will begin matching customers selections on model, color and variant.”
Third – T-Mobile is going to discontinue using the word “backorder”, just because of the connotations it holds.
On the face of it, the JUMP! priority was a big kick in the back for loyal non-JUMP! customers, but the reasons for doing it are completely fair. The truth is that of those who struggle getting pre-orders through on Friday, JUMP! customers suffered the worst.
One of T-Mobile’s executives working alongside John Legere stated the following to a customer:
“…we had material problems with our JUMP! Ordering subsystem that prevented them from registering their order. The impact on this cohort of customers was even greater and lasted significantly longer than any other type of customer such as yourself, a new customer etc.”
JUMP! customers who tried to get their pre-orders in on Friday more than likely failed because of a system error and would have been among the first in line for the device. That’s why they were prioritized over the weekend. There’s also the fact that JUMP! was created specifically so that customers can get a new device when it comes out. They’re paying for that benefit, and to punish them for a system failure, leaving them 3-6 weeks without their desired product hardly makes for a good customer experience.
There have been far too many responses to customers. T-Mobile’s been proactive in putting out fires, and helping customers in this situation. It’s been great to watch, but I’m sure both customers and the company would have preferred it if the pre-order weekend went a little more smoothly. Let’s hope by next year they’ve prepared better for the huge interest in the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (or whatever they’re called).
Thanks all who passed on messages on this.