Frustrated TracFone Customer

by Glenn
(Portland, OR)

I've been with TracFone for a year or so. I rarely need a wireless phone so wanted a cheap plan.


I cannot imagine how any company survives with as chaotic a customer support system. When I initially signed up it took several MONTHS, literally, to get my previous number transferred. I was dealing with folks on the other side of the world with poor english and less technical knowhow who constantly had to "check with my supervisor".

More recently I've been trying to reactivate a phone with an expired plan. About an hour and a half on line, several restarts and still no luck.

How do they survive?

Comments for Frustrated TracFone Customer

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Oct 01, 2012
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Tracfone fits my requirements NEW
by: UrsaMajor

I spend a good period of time each year in the USA the least expensive method of having a phone here without breaking the bank has been Tracfone. Have had one for 15 years the service is great and works all over the USA. I agree their customer service is poor, however they have moved to a competent computer access, I pay $99 for a year,keep my number that way top up if necessary. It is a breeze.

My opinion of how they could survive, because let us face it not everyone wants or needs an iPhone and they are far too expensive for many people there will be a customer base out there !!

Half the problem with the customer service is their English accent they find it hard to understand us and we them. Often their written English is fine.

Sep 13, 2012
Rating
starstarstar
Try AT&T Gophone NEW
by: booch221

I had TracFone for a couple of years, their customer service wasn't the greatest, but my experience was not as bad as yours.

I would have stayed with them but I wanted a smartphone and they didn't offer any at the time.

There are a number of other prepaid services for you to consider that are as cheap or cheaper than TracFone. Look at AT&T Gophone, TMobile & PagePlus.

Sep 10, 2012
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Customer Experience Is The Key Differentiator NEW
by: PrepaidWirelessGuy

It’s interesting because TracFone has a long history of selling super inexpensive phones and plans. Historically, they actually had the largest customer base as well. That’s no longer the case, however, they still are the largest if you count the fact that they grew solely via their own sales, and not by acquiring other prepaid companies.

They never had the most profitable customers, but they had enough of them to have a profitable business. Of course, operating at such a low margin requires that they have a very low cost structure. One of the most significant ways prepaid providers can reduce cost is to move Customer Care overseas; it’s literally a fraction of the cost of having call centers in North America. Historically that strategy has proven out well, and has allowed carriers to remain competitive and provide the best possible pricing to customers.

Recently (the past few years), however, this strategy has been called into question. As phones have become more complex with smartphones proliferating the prepaid space, and plans and features becoming far more complex, it seems as though overseas call centers are struggling to maintain quality. Simply put, customers expect more. We expect better customer support, and more effective first tier resolution; i.e. we don’t want to be transferred to supervisors.
A lot of carriers have either started, or are looking into moving some or all of their call centers State side. However, let’s be clear; this has a massive cost impact their business model, and is not something that can be done easily. The historical thinking has been that even if customers have to call back more than once due to poor customer experiences, it’s still cheaper than paying American salaries. That said, as reducing customer churn (i.e. customers leaving) becomes a top priority, customer care becomes that much more important to help keep customers happy.

How can TracFone (or others) survive if they have a poor customer care call experience? It’s a difficult question. If they keep things up, they could lose too many customers and go under. However, if they pay the price for better agents, that cost in and of itself could bankrupt them. It’s undeniable that the customer experience is going to be key for wireless carriers (prepaid and postpaid) to grow and thrive. In fact, it may be one of the best ways for carriers to differentiate themselves. After all, at some point any carrier will be able to get any phone, and network performance will be essentially the same across carriers, and price is very easily adjusted. Customer service is likely the most important and meaningful area of the business on which to differentiate.

It’s highly likely that TracFone will survive one way or another. They may see more growth in their Straight Talk and other similar programs, and there’s no doubt that they’re talking about the customer experience as we speak!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Monthly Plan Reviews.


Be Heard!  Let prepaid wireless providers know what you want; fill out the survey now.