EE to customers: Pay 50p to skip ahead in the queue

Mobile phones

EE is apparently planning to introduce a “queue jumping” charge to customers looking for speedy support. Hmm.


According to the BBC when you call up for customer support, you’ll be offered the chance to pay 50p to skip the queue and get your problem sorted immediately. Apparently the service has been tested for a week so far with customers who are on SIM-only contracts.

The BBC likens the move to similar tactics employed by airports and theme parks to manage queues. In other words, the support system is going from each according to his need, to each according to his ability to pay.

Speaking personally, I can’t see how this will be viewed as anything less than a bad idea. Though the EE accountants may have argued that a surcharge would make sense on paper, it is inevitably going to amplify the anger of EE customers. When you queue up at a theme park, you get a roller-coaster at the end of it, rather than the opportunity to moan about problems with your phone contract.

Similarly, it seems as though EE might have massively underestimated the role psychology plays: Whilst 50p isn’t a big cost, asking for it to be paid in this manner sounds like a recipe for hate: Humans aren’t rational actors, so will happily (okay, grumblingly) accept a 50p increase to their monthly phone bill, but the upfront charge is sure to rankle.

Here’s looking forward to the awkward backtracking a week after EE try to roll this out to all customers.

James O’Malley
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One thought on “EE to customers: Pay 50p to skip ahead in the queue

  • In my experience, EE’s telephone support staff are not motivated to resolve the issue, only to get you off the line. They aren’t authorised to make outbound calls, so muggins has to call back repeatedly to get status updates. “Call back tomorrow” is their mantra. Getting to the front of the queue is not the my biggest concern, it’s repeatedly having to speak to disinterested and unempowered support staff. I would happily pay 50p a month more for better issue resolution but not for a queue jumping.

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