For many people over 65, the first experience using smart phones and tablets is through hand-me-down devices from family members.
When it then comes time to buy their own phone or tablet, it is primarily through ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers and not online. This traditional retail experience can be well suited to this demographic as it brings a face to the buying experience. The issue is that the experience seems to be lacking the empathy and after sales support expected by seniors.
We have previously shared some tips for choosing smart devices for seniors.
We’ve trained over 1100 seniors and some of the most common questions are around buying devices, understanding plans and setting up devices that have been purchased.
Here are 2 recent examples that highlight the challenges we have seen:
A couple came along to an event and had a new phone and plan. The new phone was a Samsung running Android, which was different to the previous iPhone running iOS. This change caused serious anxiety for the husband to align to his daily needs. The feedback is that retailers aren’t helping to set up the smart devices after the purchase, nor redirecting to possible options. While there may be a number of reasons for this, it is particularly challenging for seniors who are not comfortable with technology and may not have a family member or advocate to help them. How can the after-sales service be improved for retail to ensure that seniors get the best from their purchases?
We had an individual come to one of our events who had moved from a pre-paid to a post-paid plan, which was exactly what they had requested. The problem was that they were given a new phone number in that process and the old number was disconnected. The individual didn’t understand this was going to happen and it meant that family, friends and service providers could no longer contact her. At the end of the event, we called the provider together to highlight the problem and the impact it would have on the quality of life for this individual. The issue was fortunately resolved on that call. But our question is how can common sense be brought to the purchase cycle so that older people don’t become even more isolated through unnecessary phone number changes?
Finally, it’s good to remind everyone that if they aren’t pleased with their service from a retailer or provider and have tried to address this with their internal process or complaints, the below contact points may be useful.
NSW Fair Trading - Note each State and Territory will have a government agency responsible for this, it just may be called something else.
As of August 1, 2019 a strengthened Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code will be in place to better protect Telco Consumers from financially over committing themselves and poor sales practices.