No one likes waiting on the phone for customer support. It's always a miserable experience, and EE thinks it's one customers will pay money to avoid. The UK carrier now offers callers the option of forking over 50 pence (roughly $0.83 USD) to jump ahead of everyone else waiting to speak with a representative. And what does that money go towards? Improving EE's customer service, of course. It will help the company open more support lines and thus, in a perfect world, cut down the wait for everyone — whether they're paying to cut the whole line or not.
But it's a questionable approach any way you look at it. Just think about the complaints and outrage that would result if Verizon Wireless, AT&T, or any other major US carrier were to pull a similar stunt. That's not to say EE's customers aren't speaking up; the priority system has been in place for a week, and people are already voicing resentment towards the penny-pinching idea on social media. And keep in mind that unlike in the US, customer support calls to EE sometimes aren't toll-free. So theoretically it wouldn't be hard to wind up paying twice just to have someone answer a question. That's service.
. @andybirkett76 @EE if I pay 51p can I jump the queue in front of Andy?— Mike Smith (@mikey471) August 15, 2014
Guess @ee forgot to pay their Kevin Bacon bill. Two tier customer service. Poor folks inevitably pushed repeatedly to the back of the queue— Mr Wood (@woodo79) August 15, 2014
The Kevin Bacon line is in reference to this, if you were wondering.