The community in Manchester will have the opportunity to join in celebrating the seventh anniversary of one of its favourite mobile phone and contract suppliers “Fone World”. Located on the popular shopping parade of Leicester Road, with clients far beyond, the company has earned the trust of the range of Manchester’s diverse community with a product and a tariff for everyone.
“Initially we were a network agent, offering contract resale,” begins Martin Heiman, director of Fone World. Their services were at that point limited to acting as a liaison between their clients and the major network providers. Seven years on, their services have grown in numerous ways. Today, they provide almost any handset and offer their own tariff. How is this done? Martin explains, “We obtain the bundles wholesale and can then offer them to clients, primarily building tariffs on the O2 and Vodafone networks”.
Beyond the two aforementioned networks, Fone World have worked to ensure that communication apparatus run smoothly for the local community. Paul Wood, marketing manager at Fone World explains, “In 2013, Martin worked closely with the then-CEO of EE, Olaf Swantee to resolve a long standing EE mast issue. A similar issue seems to be happening today, and with our ability to connect consumers and businesses to Vodafone and O2 we are confident we can offer a massive improvement in service without a massive increase in price.”
Within their target market’s range of customers, many of the strictly-Orthodox prefer limiting their options for mobile phone use. Whereas to the major network suppliers, this is generally an enigma, (“Why do you want to block your internet – it is part of your bundle?!”) to many in the community this is a must. Martin explains that there are three levels of limitations requested. Some want no text messaging, others say yes to texting but no to internet access. The third category would like use of internet but with filtered access. Fone World proudly caters for all types and fully understands the different sensitivities the community requires, providing tailor-made tariffs for each.
For those in the community who choose the smartphones, Martin finds Samsung the most useful. “They have the largest range of all types of phones,” he asserts, “together with the most efficient repair centres across the UK.” Apple, on the other hand, traditionally preferred not outsourcing their support services, which limited their effectiveness somewhat, though this is slowly changing.
Martin is particularly satisfied that his company enables others to earn a living too. “Our software is created by several developers from the community.”
When I ask Martin why clients would choose his company over the large providers or online comparison websites, I am surprised at the number of explanations. Firstly, not all cash-back offers presented by the comparison websites are actually followed through. Many are told to submit phone bills in a certain month of the contract and within 60 days of the bill’s date, a requirement many busy people cannot live up to. Martin also explains that his company’s present offer of £12.99 per month for unlimited calls and text messaging is a reasonable enough even in comparison with offers to be found online. However, as he admits, “With prices you will always find those who undercut the market.” The tariffs are based on a ‘Fixed Price Promise’ where prices are always inclusive of VAT and are never raised mid-contract. Other networks put clauses in their contracts to allow them to raise prices in the middle of the term.
What makes Fone World outstanding is the first-class service they offer. From the unsurpassed range of phones, obtaining models no longer available in regular high-street stores, to the customer relationship that is earned through speedy response and customer care. “We pick up the phone to customers within three rings and answer emails on the same day. Customers appreciate being able to speak to a specific representative, whose name they know,” as opposed to an unknown person in a call centre.
Lost your phone? Whereas blocking the line may be simple with your major networks, Fone World goes the extra mile in customer care. “We have delivered replacement SIM cards at midnight.” This same day service is of benefit to the numerous clients based in London and Manchester. Also of great benefit to customers is the fact that the customer service is multi-lingual, with the assistants talking in English and Ivrit. Their stellar customer service is itself a department of its own, called Fone Base.
Paul tells me, “We felt it was important to put the time, effort and financial investment into a bespoke system to be able to give our customers the service they deserve. There is no off-the-shelf system that was able to handle all of the features and demands required”. With Fone Base, each customer has their own profile where staff can see customer info, billing, current products and plans, and timed events and reminders to ensure that the customer experience is always handled well and on time. This service is what Paul says, “sets us apart from other networks and independent providers.”
In addition to the physical presence they maintain on Leicester Road, Fone World offers another service known as “Fone Worldwide.” This is an international calls service with great tariffs for calling European countries starting at 1.3p per minute for landlines, 3p to mobiles, calls to Israel at 0.5p per minute to landlines, 2.6p per minute for mobiles, and the USA and Canada 1p per minute for both landlines and mobiles.
With personalised advice based on the customer’s affordability for monthly tariffs, they can also have alerts set up to inform them when they are about to exceed their monthly allowance.
In honour of their seventh anniversary, Fone World is offering special promotions to allow further members of the community to join their ever-growing number of clients.