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The Best (and Worst) Phone Carrier Customer Support

Metro PCS

MetroPCS has established itself as an option for budget-conscious smartphone shoppers, particularly as it adopts many of the changes introduced by its parent company T-Mobile. But can it match T-Mobile’s customer-oriented approach, too?

Not yet, as it turns out, thanks to a less-than-ideal approach to phone support and some delayed response times on social media. But MetroPCS has made some noticeable improvements since the last time we evaluated their customer service.Sean Riley

Online Support (31/40)

The MetroPCS website has taken a few positive steps since our last review. The support link is now prominently displayed at the top of the site alongside links for payments and shopping, instead of being hidden at the bottom of the website. Even with that change, the overall structure of MetroPCS’s support page still leaves a lot to be desired: It’s plagued by confusing categorization and a search function that failed to ever produce the desired answer.

You’ll find documentation for 67 devices, which presumably covers every phone available on MetroPCS going back quite a few years — a welcome addition. I was able to find the user manual for the Galaxy S7, and a quick search of that document produced an answer I was looking about the phone’s always-on display. Your experience with device-specific questions will depend on the quality of the documentation provided by your device manufacturer, but it is convenient that MetroPCS gathers all of these guides in one place.

Customers with questions regarding payments are still  best served by the support pages, with a total of 16 FAQs related to payments, more than double the number of any other category. As for my questions regarding current data usage and Music Unlimited eligibility, neither was addressed in the support FAQs. Music Unlimited has its own FAQ page if you manage to navigate to the dedicated page for the service, but neither the information nor a link to it can be found in the support pages despite numerous references to the service.

MORE: Best Phone Carriers: See How MetroPCS Stacks Up

MetroPCS has dropped its online chat service since our previous review. Given the results of our previous testing, that’s probably for the best.

As confusing as some of the FAQs are on account management, it’s pretty easy to view data usage, switch plans and add features to your account just by logging into the MetroPCS website. From your smartphone, you can use the myMetro app to access these same features.

Social Media Support (6/10)

Unless your question is prompted by idle curiosity, I don’t recommend trying to reach out to MetroPCS via social media. The bio for MetroPCS Twitter account claims it’s able to help Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT, and the MetroPCS Facebook page lists the average response time as about a day; my experience with both accounts fell short of those promises, though.

I reached out to @MetroSupport on Twitter, which MetroPCS’s main Twitter account directs you to for support questions. I pinged MetroPCS on a Friday morning about how I could look at my data usage, and got a response back by midmorning on the following Monday. The accurate response was short and to the point — it’s Twitter, after all — and at least my follow-up question got a response in just 4 minutes.

MORE: How MetroPCS Fared in Our 4G Network Testing

At 1:39 p.m. on a Thursday afternoon, I messaged the official MetroPCS Facebook account with a question regarding the Galaxy S7. It took a little more than three days  to get a response. An answer from MetroPCS rep Ebo offered correct, easy-to-follow instructions on enabling the Always-On Display feature for the Galaxy S7. Were it not for the extreme delay in the response time, this would have been a great interaction.

If you feel that you just have to get your MetroPCS question answered on social media, Twitter is perhaps the lesser of two evils. However, you are going to be far better served visiting MetroPCS.com or making a phone call if you need an answer to your question in a remotely timely fashion.

Phone Support (33/50)

Let’s start with the good news: MetroPCS phone support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phone support begins with a labyrinth of automated voice-recognition options and menus that can take a while to wade through, even if you know exactly what it is you are trying to do.

My first call to customer service started at 3:48 p.m. ET on a Thursday. After trying unsuccessfully to navigate the automated menus for an answer to my question, I steered the system toward a live customer-service representative. After 30 seconds, I was connected with Shay, who was difficult to understand at times due to a heavy accent, but she was pleasant and ultimately able to help me.

Average Call Time: 10 minutes, 26 seconds

I asked Shay if I was eligible for MetroPCS’s Music Unlimited feature with my $30-a-month plan. Shay said she was sorry to tell me I wasn’t. As she didn’t offer any additional info, I followed up by asking what plans were eligible, and she indicated that it was included on MetroPCS’s $40, $50 and $60 monthly plans. Finally, I asked about the streaming services covered by Music Unlimited, and Shay directed me to the MetroPCS website. The entire call took 5 minutes and 37 seconds, though only 90 seconds of that was spent talking to Shay.

My second call to customer service was at 8:56 p.m. ET on a Thursday. I tried to take a shortcut around the menus this time by pressing 0, but MetroPCS’s automated system was wise to this trick. An automated voice told me that it understood that I wanted to speak to someone, but that to maintain budget pricing, it needed me to proceed through the menus first. So on I went through the menus, looking for tips on managing the Galaxy S7’s Always-On Display.

MORE: How MetroPCS Phone Plans Stack Up

I had considerably more difficulties on this call getting MetroPCS’s automated system to recognize what I was saying, and it took a few minutes of repeating my phone number and simple yes or no answers to get through to an actual person. I eventually spoke to Gina, again very cheerful but difficult to understand, and she seemed to have some issues comprehending my question. She was quite concerned with accessing my account to answer the question, even after we established that my question was about a feature on my phone. After a few minutes of back and forth trying to convey what I meant by “always-on,” the call was disconnected, probably due to an issue on my end. Still, that’s 8 minutes, 28 seconds on the phone without any progress toward an answer, as Gina struggled to answer a device-specific question.

I made my final call to customer service at 9:44 a.m. on a Friday. It took me two attempts to get through to a customer-support representative this time because the automated system hung up on me the first time when it couldn’t understand my response of “Yes” to whether I had my security info. I spent approximately 14 minutes on hold before talking to Sharon, who was easy to understand and offered clear on instructions on how I could look up how much data I had used for the month, both by logging into my account at MetroPCS.com and through the myMetro app. Were it not for the long hold time, this 17-minute call would have been a perfect exchange with customer service.

Bottom Line

Despite a couple bright spots, MetroPCS’s scaled-back approach to customer support reflects its budget carrier roots. It’s good that MetroPCS added support documents for the vast majority of the devices it offers, and 24/7 phone support is a plus, even if the experience is uneven at best. MetroPCS’s social media team did an excellent job answering my questions; if only they could cut their response time from days to hours.