The iPhone finally gets released in the UK at 6pm this Friday, and 02 (the British AT&T) have prepared for the high profile launch by hiring 1,400 staff to cope with the expected high demand for the Apple handsets.
02 is obviously expecting the UK launch to go rather like the American launch did, with people queuing up in the street to try and buy (or even to catch a glimpse) an iPhone. They have hired 700 new customer service employees and a further 700 staff across its chain of high street stores.
Carphone Warehouse is staying open late on Friday to sell the new Apple gadget, and is expecting to sell as many as 10,000 iPhones, despite the fact that the £279 ($580) price tag makes it one of the most expensive phones on the market. That’s before you add in the 02 contract which will cost between £35 ($75) and £55 ($120) a month for a minimum of 18 months.
John McGuigan, head of O2′s post-pay customer service unit, told The Independent:
“It is very important to get the customer-service experience right.”
“We want to provide a fantastic service for people buying the iPhone – that goes without saying. But we also want to make sure existing customers don’t suffer as a result of the potential increase in demand for customer support from new iPhone users.”
So does this increase in staff mean 02 expect customers to struggle with the feature rich iPhone? The company deny this, arguing that the device is intuitive and easy to use, but I’m not so sure.
One thing I know is that the iPhone is on a lot of people’s Christmas lists, and the 200,000 phones 02 have ordered from Apple HQ are sure to be snapped up by the new year. Apple aren’t having it all their own way though, with some customers starting to baulk at the Microsoft style tactics of late.