As “The mobile network run by you”, and with tech support that’s largely performed by its online community, you’d be forgiven for thinking that giffgaff would be a fairly hands-off network, happy to leave you to get on with it unless you specifically seek help. Oh how wrong you’d be.
Now I’m sure there must’ve been a little ticky box somewhere that I naively left unchecked, but in any case – last night I received my 19th email from giffgaff. That’s 19 emails in just under two months, or one every three days.
Annoyingly, I did not receive a promised email confirming when my number had been successfully ported from O2 to giffgaff. Now that email I wouldn’t have minded.
I would’ve also appreciated an email or text reminding me when it’s time to top up (or buy a goodie bag) instead of waiting for text messages to suddenly start failing seemingly without reason. Maybe I’m just too used to being on a contract.
Some of those 19 emails are in fact duplicates. Depending on your point of view, that’s potentially more annoying than receiving individual emails. The worst offender was the oddly-titled “Permanent collection: Get 60 minutes, 300 texts for just £5 a month from giffgaff”. Permanent collection? Zuh?
I received that particular email – informing me that giffgaff’s Hokey Cokey goodie bag is now a permanent fixture – no less than three times. To make matters worse, the emails arrived not at the same time, but over the course of several days. You can imagine my reaction: “You’ve already furging told me that!”
The multiple-email glitch has now occurred with three separate messages, including last night’s. Clearly something is not quite right with giffgaff’s emailing apparatus.
In terms of content, the worst offender in my opinion was “Cheeky SIM in the post”. I’ll let giffgaff explain: “As giffgaff is all about keeping costs down, we rely on our members recommending giffgaff to their friends and family – that way we don't have to spend lots of money getting new members on board through glossy advertising campaigns.
“We were a little bit cheeky and popped an extra SIM in the post for you to pass on, just in case you had any friends or family who've just come off a mobile contract or paying too much on ‘Pay as you go'.
“Don't worry – this is just a one off, promise.”
Now, in the interest of fairness, and to avoid sounding like a big sensationalist moron (not all of the 19 emails were unsolicited), I’ll happily admit that last night’s email actually won me over a bit (despite arriving twice). I’m a big fan of stats, so my “personal usage statement” for June was right up my proverbial street.
Section 1, Savings, details how much I’ve saved with giffgaff-to-giffgaff minutes and texts, and Twitter/Facebook updates sent via text, all of which are free.
Section 2, Recommended Plan, details minutes, texts and data used throughout June. I really appreciated “Number of days used data” (unsurprisingly 30) and “Days where used over 20MB” (just the one?). Better still, it recommends the goodie bag that’s best suited to my apparent needs.
Section 3 is just for fun (mostly), and shows your top five contacts in terms of minutes and texts. Actually, I’m being really naïve here; it only includes non-giffgaff contacts, suggests how much you could save if they were on giffgaff, and includes a link to recommend a giffgaff SIM. Cheeky.
Still, it was vaguely amusing to learn that I sent my top contact no less than 145 texts in June. That’s almost five per day. Bloody hell.
Section 4, Payback, is nothing to do with revenge (Charles Bronson sprung to mind there for some reason), but details how much you’ve made by recommending folk. Er, that’d be £0 then.
While I’m in pro giffgaff mode, I should definitely emphasise that the emails often include the message: “Just to re-assure you, we hate spam too. This email was sent to you because you have given giffgaff permission to contact you via this address.
“giffgaff may email you from time to time to let you know important information about your giffgaff account plus other giffgaff news. If you no longer want to receive emails, you can unsubscribe by updating your profile here.”
The moral of the story? Don’t send quite so many emails, sort out the duplication thing, and don’t randomly send me things in the post. And if you do insist on doing all of those things, at least send me some stats or a pie chart or something.