From time to time, we see requests that Republic add inbound telephone customer service to its support repertoire. First, I will say that for certain things (billing issues for example), the ability to call a company is generally more efficient. That said, inbound telephone customer service is by no means a panacea. Some background:
Some here know that I was also once active in the Community of Republic’s former sister service RingTo. RingTo is being sunset as of March 31st, so it’s time to retrieve any numbers there I wish to hold onto. One of those numbers I wish to move to Google Voice. Like Republic numbers, RingTo numbers are deemed by the FCC to be wireline (landline) numbers. Google Voice does not transfer in wireline numbers, necessitating something I affectionately refer to as the TMO shuffle. Essentially, one makes the number wireless by first transferring it to T-Mobile (or another wireless carrier), then transfers from there to Google Voice.
Knowing this day would eventually come, I stocked up on T-Mobile SIMs at $0.99 apiece during a sale. Today, I attempted to activate one of those SIMs only to have T-Mobile’s online activation tool refuse to do so. I dutifully called T-Mobile to find out what the problem might be. I got the TMO shuffle alright as I was shuffled back and forth between prepaid activations, web sales (I had ordered the SIMs directly from T-Mobile) and “solutions”. All dutifully explained to me that all six SIMs were expired according to T-Mobile’s systems. Please understand I purchased these SIMs in late 2016. A more recently purchased T-Mobile SIM likely wouldn’t be an issue. Despite that these SIMs (like all unactivated GSM SIMs) are supposed to have a three-year shelf life. These specific SIMs state on their packaging expiration is 8/4/2018. No one at T-Mobile I spoke to on the phone could explain why given that their systems were telling them they had already expired and could not be activated.
The moral of the story? How customer service is delivered is far less important than the folks actually delivering it. Generally, my experience with Republic via ticket (I’ve never used chat) has been positive. That’s a credit to the folks helping regardless of the delivery mechanism of that help. My experience this morning with T-Mobile on the phone was pathetic. Full disclosure, prior to this morning’s experience, I’ve found T-Mobile’s customer service to be more than adequate.