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Introduction to our Support Team

Many of you have been in touch with our Support team since the first Fairphones were shipped last December. Some of you are just getting to know our team members as we gear up for sales of the next batch of phones. So before this busy period starts up again, we wanted to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves and how we work.

The Fairphone support team: Introduction and workflow

Over the last 4 months, our customer support team has grown to better handle your issues in a timely manner. Esmee, Jeffrey, Leontine, Marco, Marleen, Nur, Philippe, Rick, Nastasia and Tina are some of the people who work hard every day to answer your calls and find answers to urgent problems. Together, our goal is to help you with a number of issues, ranging from sales, delivery, use, repair and when the time comes, disposal or recycling of your phone. We want to make sure your experience of Fairphone (the product and the company) reflects the values we stand for and what we are trying to build with you: an open, positive experience that creates a new way of doing business.

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Customer support team during a workshop on Support improvements before the release of the next batch of Fairphones.
 

Since December 2013, we have received more than 10,000 tickets with support requests. Despite anticipating a wave of questions and issues with the delivery of the first Fairphones, it took us much longer than expected to deal with the backlog. Many of the delays were created because of the learning curve with our new systems and the fact that we were supporting a completely new phone that no one had ever used before.

So we took a good hard look at our processes, what we could do better, and how to offer a higher level of customer support. Here’s how we have improved so far:

    • Expanded the team to increase capacity, reduce the backlog and improve response times.
    • Improved process to document frequently occurring issues, so we can be more transparent about known problems, solution status and temporary workarounds.
    • More active participation by the team on our official forum. (Still a work in progress, as we’re limited by the platform’s functionality. We’re currently looking into a different discussion platform solution.)
    • We developed and published a specific warranty statement for the spare parts we recently started selling. We think it’s important for you to understand when you should repair your Fairphone by yourself and how it impacts your warranty. It is an innovative project within Fairphone which brought a lot of challenges specific to spare parts, repairs and warranty.

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After the workshop! We have many ideas on how to improve customer support, including better internal training, a microwave, ice cubes to keep cool in the summer and a more robust webshop (we’re almost ready with the last one).

  • We have also published an updated version of the warranty statement for your Fairphone. There are upcoming changes at the European level on consumers’ rights legislation that we need to include. We also wanted to clarify and update the statement after our experience with the first batch of Fairphones and the feedback received from you. Read our article for an explanation of this updated warranty statement.
  • Finally, we make a better structure for the repair process with our service partner. We also clarified the repair information available to you by making our service prices and FAQs available on our website. Find the repair price list here. (As a work in progress, we’re working really hard to further improve the way we handle repairs.)

Support communications going forward

We will continue to shape our support team and processes to better meet the needs of Fairphone owners. Going forward, we will keep improving our efficiency, response times and keeping our community informed of what’s going on behind Fairphone’s customer support. In the coming months, we hope to post regular customer support updates, including information about the backlog, our repair model and how bloomin’ hard it is to write warranty statements for spare parts.

And what issues gives us the most questions lately? Pre-orders and the software update! For questions on the sale of the second batch Fairphone, read our pre-order FAQ here. And by now, we hope all of you have updated to the latest software OS version 1.3, named Chestnut. If not – we’ve got some resources for you here.

As we ramp up for the next batch of phones (and now with our software update 1.3 released), we hope you’ll notice improved customer support processes – or better yet, not even need our assistance at all! We’ve come a long way, but there is still plenty to learn. Don’t be afraid to offer advice or share your ideas in the comments below.

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