Here are 5 of my suggestions on improving Republic Wireless’ activation process for those who want to keep their existing number:
(By the way, people should check out @Scottathew’s detailed notes about his 5.0 activation journey.)
1. After typing the pin, there should be an option for it to be optionally seen while people are clicking on an “eye” by the pin number (see picture).
Though I consider myself a pretty good typer after typing for 21 years, I still make mistakes. I had a desire to make sure I typed in my pin correctly, but I couldn’t see it after I typed it. I ended up typing my pin a few times while looking at my fingers to make sure I typed in it correctly.
I know by experience that sometimes the only reason why ports don’t go through is because of an incorrect pin. I tried to port out a number around 4 times because of typing an incorrect pin number in the first 3 times. Therefore, it might be beneficial to help people know if they were typing correctly (at least what they think is the pin) in the pin section.
2. The pin might need to be entered in twice to help people know if they were typing correctly
This would be like the concept of creating a new password. Sometimes, a website asks us to type the new password that we want two times to ensure that we didn’t make any mistakes. I think if people were asked to type a pin 2 times, that might prevent some user end mistakes, which in turn can help with people getting their phones activated sooner.
3. Please eliminate error messages that use big words. In other words, please take out the esoteric jargon from the error messages.
I had a general understanding of a timeout, but why did I get a “gateway timeout”? What exactly is a gateway timeout? Is it a timeout that has a gateway? What is a gateway, and why do I need to know what a “gateway” is when I’m trying to port my phone number from my choice to the new 5.0 plans? If Republic Wireless’ new plans are really targeted to those aged 55 and up, will the average person know what a gateway timeout is? If the answer is no, how is that esoteric jargon helping them with activating their new plans?
4. The error messages need to let us know what to do next.
I got a “gateway timeout” in step 1 and step 2 of the activation procress on Republic Wireless’ activation page. (See my screenshot above in point #3). In step 1 had no idea why the form had a gateway timeout, so I just clicked the button to continue again without changing anything. Then I got a new error message that told me I had typed the ICC ID number incorrectly. (The ICC ID number is associated with your sim card). I rechecked what I typed, and sure enough, I wrote it incorrectly. Telling me what to do next in plain English was much better than giving me the error message “gateway timeout.” By the way, if people get a gateway timeout, how do they fix it? Why did they get that message? This should be stated.
I assume Republic Wireless is able to see patterns of how people are going through the activation process and the error messages they receive. From that data, you might be able to figure out what they did wrong but also how they might be able to fix the error. I think it may be helpful for error messages to be associated with links to help articles.
5. After any porting attempt, we should immediately receive an e-mail of the porting status.
I was on the phone with a Republic Wireless customer service representative to do this porting process. I tried to enter my details in myself, and I clicked continue on step 2, but I received a “gateway timeout error.” The customer service rep then typed in my details for step 1 and 2, and he said something like he didn’t have to type some things in (I don’t know if that was for step 3…) because he got a message that said something like the porting was in progress. Maybe I said the port was already in progress. I forgot.
Anyways, I got no e-mail confirmation in my new account that said my port was in progress. I would have liked some type of e-mail like this because I want to know as much as is possible about the progress of my port. Also, as soon as possible, if my port were to fail, I would want an e-mail immediately telling me about that as well. If my port failed 3 times, I would want 3 separately e-mails immediately telling me that. If my port is successful, I would want to know that as well by e-mail (although I will pretty much be able to tell that because I would loose service from my choice. However, others might like that type of confirmation).
3 ways the 5.0 activation process has been smoother for those who want to keep their existing number:
1. In the drop down list for previous carriers, we can now select “other” if we don’t see our carrier on the list.
That other option wasn’t there when I tried to move to the 5.0 plans previously as you can see in this screenshot:
Not seeing an “other” option in the previous carrier drop down menu wasn’t helpful for me. This is what I wrote about it:
That was too tedious, so I’m glad Republic Wireless added the “other” option!
2. The optional field to verify our unit type is now in a drop down menu.
Having options in a drop down menu helps prevent user errors as oppossed to allowing people to write in the unit field as Republic Wireless had previously.
3. I think the process from dialing Republic Wireless’ number to getting to speak with a customer representative was potentially faster on my 2nd call.
When I called Republic Wireless a week ago to help me with my activation, I got to a customer service representative pretty fast. When I called for a 2nd time, a week later, it was potentially faster (I’m not sure). I noticed on my second time I called, I didn’t have to press a lot of options to get to a customer service representative. (This may have also been the case for the first call, but I forgot). I was able to call Republic Wireless, then I was able to speak in around a sentence about the nature of my call, and then I talked to a customer service rep. It probably took me 1-2 minutes from calling around 6:00pm EST or so to actually speaking with a customer service rep.
“Back in the day”, around 6 or so years ago, I admired Apple’s phone support because I could call Apple’s number, state my problem in a sentence or so to a computer, and then I was routed to a human in around 30 seconds to a minute or so of being on the phone. I’ve thought that could be a model of how people get to humans instead of typing in a bunch of numbers.
This is definitely to me a plus about Republic Wireless’ phone support.
4. I spoke to the same customer service rep that I spoke with 1 week ago.
I have no idea if this was random or by design, but right when I started talking with my customer service rep, I recognized his voice, and I thought he was the same person I had previously spoken with. Later, he did confirm he was, and he had remembered my case. On my first call with him, he let me know that I had placed the porting information in Republic Wireless correctly. On my 2nd call, he was patient with me and helped me along as tried to go through the whole activation process with him on the phone so that I could switch to a 5.0 plan.
I think I had a good customer support person helping me, and instead of reaching someone unfamiliar with my struggle, I’m glad I was able to speak with him.