5 ways the 5.0 activation process can be smoother (and 3+ ways it has improved already)

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! :slight_smile:

2. The optional field to verify our unit type is now in a drop down menu.

unit type drop down improvement

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.

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Thanks for your detailed post, @aFloridian.

This was mentioned in a status update meeting tonight, just a little before you posted. Engineering is aware that the “gateway timeout” message is posting and they are working on improving the message.

I very much like the idea of the “reveal” button idea for the PIN, and will pass that along immediately!

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You’re welcome @southpaw! :slight_smile:

Great! I like to see continuous improvement, and that’s what’s happening!

I’m assuming this will help reduce potential service calls and help tickets, so it’ll be a potential win win situation for Republic Wireless their potential customers.

@aFloridian, if I may add some more suggestions:

6. Put a current average port time on the activation page, prior to inserting the ICC ID.
This will eliminate a lot of backup and hardship on the engineers and customer support, as fools like me will be more likely to wait until it’s closer to normal instead of ignorantly adding to the workload. The data would be fairly readily available, I think, but, if it’s not, a note about the ports taking several days will probably suffice.

More minor suggestions:
7. Clearly state that returning RW customers also have to follow the Legacy Account process.
Most carriers basically delete you as a customer when you leave, so I was unaware that this process applied to me at first and would have created a secondary account for my first SIM had that been the case. It’s good that RW doesn’t declare “you’re dead to me” when we go elsewhere, but it would be a nice to understand how that affects our return.

8. Proactively communicate how and roughly when we will be reimbursed for our secondary purchases.
Definitely not a major problem, with everything else going on; this should be bottom of the list for the time being. However, some overview of the process and an email saying that our accounts have been merged (whenever that occurs) would reassure people used to the unusually good level of RW communication.

Thank you for your calm, level-headed help in all this. You’ve handled it better than I have.

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Ideally, it would be nice for the ICC ID number to already be entered for us; I’ve had to enter it in manually, but I think they’re going in the direction for it to be autopopulated. I’m guessing that more of the activation issues have occurred when people want to keep their existing number vs people who just want a new number on Republic Wireless, but I could be wrong. If the majority of issues are happening from people who are trying to keep their existing number, it probably would be helpful to have some type of average port time info up (or some type of status update on porting) even if people are at the “keep my number” selection and click it.

However, as I type this, I think if people have already gone through the process of purchasing a plan and a SIM card and have waited for the SIM card to come to their house, they might be more likely to try out the activation process no matter what the status is. In contrast, if they’re warned about current status of activating before they purchase a plan, that’ll probably be better.

Republic Wireless has been cautioning people on this community forum to wait for things to be ironed out before purchasing their 5.0 plan. Would it be helpful to put some of that information on their store website as well until things get ironed out? From a customer perspective, I think so. I don’t think it would potentially look nice if I was actually working for Republic Wireless, but it would probably help manage some customer expectations. Having a current average port time might be nice for Republic Wireless because it could be updated to indicate a faster porting time (when that time comes).

The problem with having a current average porting status is that it appears that porting times vary with various carriers, so if Republic Wireless were to state the average porting time in general for all carriers, would it be more helpful than hurtful for people to learn that average porting time expectation and then have a longer than average wait time? I do think as you stated, it would help some people wait before trying to move to a 5.0 plan.

When the activation process gets more streamlined, people should be able to purchase a plan (that comes with a sim), get the sim, and port their number(s) to the 5.0 plans within minutes or at max a few days.

Are you saying that you left RW, but then when you tried to come back to get a 5.0 plan, you logged into your old legacy RW account that caused issues in you trying to get your 5.0 plan and SIM?

If and when there is information about how I can merge my old 4.0 account with my 5.0 one, I would be interested in it, so I would welcome e-mails like that. I’m not against confirmation e-mails especially after I purchase something as well.

You’re welcome. Thanks for your suggestions! Obviously, I’m not a Republic Wireless employee, but I think acknowledging that Republic Wireless is actively seeking to resolve issues and working on our behalf combined with giving constructive feedback can potentially be helpful to Republic Wireless. To me, that’s a mindset that does not ignore that fact that Republic Wireless is experiencing issues, but it’s more focused on helping with solutions rather than increasing the problems Republic Wireless has to manage.

On a big picture persective, I’ve been with Republic Wireless for almost 7 years, and I’m grateful for my overall experience with this company. I have saved a lot of money, and for probably around 5 years, my friends from the US who have been living in Africa were benefited by using Republic Wireless’ legacy $5/mo wifi only plan. I’ve had some various glitches with phone service, but overall, I’ve liked my service enough to keep it. Generally, I’ve seen my service improve. Out of my almost 7 years with Republic Wireless, this transition to a 5.0 plan has probably been one of my worst experiences, but I still have phone service on my 4.0 my choice plan, and I know things are continuing to improve. I still believe what I said to Southpaw:

On a personal note, part of my day job is working on customer service. Among other things, I help with custom orders. I know about wanting to fulfill people’s orders in a timely fashion but being overwhelmed with many things to do, which causes people’s orders to be delayed. Our customer base serves people with a variety of personality types, and I’m extremely thankful for people who show grace to me when their orders have been delayed.

At this point, I’m staying for the journey of testing out the 5.0 plans. I like being part of the Republic Wireless community as well.

Did someone tell you this was the case? My understanding was that there simply can’t be a mixture of legacy and 5.0 plans on an account. I would have thought a legacy account that had no legacy phones in it would be okay to re-use. :thinking:

This is how the system is designed.

When an order is placed, we send info to the fulfillment center like, “Send product A and B to this address.”
The fulfillment center then sends back data like “We sent product A, serial number 123 and product B serial number 456 and the tracking is abc123.”
Except, there’s an issue preventing that data from properly loading into our server. We rely on that data to populate the ICCID number when you log in to activate.
The process you’re asking for is built, and we’ll get it working.

Thanks for your continued patience with your activation.

To answer two questions at once, I left RW for Fi roughly two months ago. When the new SIMs became available in December, I ordered mine through my old RW login. I wanted to use the same email address as before, so there was no other way. When I tried to activate through the old account, the system informed me that I had to make a new account and go through the alternate process.

That is true, even if many of us ignored or missed the memo. However, the website was live for everyone, regardless of whether they were aware of the transition and the fact that 5.0 was effectively in beta. My suggestion of a warning has probably been overcome by events, thanks to the engineers’ hard work, but it was focused on new customers or more casual RW customers who don’t follow this forum. Looking at the brand new website, there was never an indication that something was amiss, which was a good way to embitter new subscribers.

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