Feeds

June Whitfield and EE to old folk: Would you like a nice cup of tea and some internet, dear?

And a biscuit, and one of those portable phones. Mm, lovely

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

EE has realised that while the vast majority of their target market has at least one phone, there is a whole untapped business opportunity in older people. So the company is inviting loads of them around for a cuppa to try and sell them a phone and internet connection.

On September 9th EE will be devoting the morning to hosting walk-in sessions where older people can wander in with their technology to get help using it. EE staff will then talk them through things like setting up email and using Twitter to complain talk to world+dog. This is akin to a programme O2 had a while back called “teach your granny to text”.

There will be two types of techy tea party. Larger stores will hold seated sessions where you'll sit down and be partnered one-to-one with a member of the EE team. Smaller stores, will host drop-in sessions where you can ask staff questions and still enjoy a cup of tea and a biscuit.

To join in on a techy tea party customers can either go to a shop and register – we’ll be trying this in a few shops to see how on the ball they really are – or try and navigate the website. Which, helpfully, features white text on a photographic background and grey text on a grey background, but hey, that’s the corporate guidelines and being on-message is much more important than being useful.

The site is unforgiving – phone numbers entered with spaces are not accepted. There is no phone number to call for information, which you would have thought quite fundamental for, well, a phone company.

Given EE’s clear ineptitude in this, the company has partnered with an organisation which knows what it is doing. To get old folks through the doors of EE shops for some English breakfast and a cuppa tea, EE has enlisted the help of Age UK, the organisation which grew out of the merger of Help The Aged and Age Concern. Age UK is a charity with a commercial mien and does a lot of good work in social inclusion. It has a good understanding of the needs of its wide-ranging 65+ target market and works closely with the government’s Go ON programme to get seniors online.

EE is making a big splash around the tea parties with Age UK’s ambassador June Whitfield CBE, EE boss Olaf Swantee and some chap called David Cameron all waxing lyrical about digital inclusion. Go ON UK, UK Online Centres, Marie Curie Cancer Care, EON, the National Citizenship Service, the Royal Voluntary Service, Argos and Wembley Stadium have all pledged support. Also in the loop is the Post Office, which recently announced an MVNO agreement with EE.

There seems to be money in the kitty from Asda, which upset a lot of people by moving its MVNO from Vodafone to EE, leaving PAYG customers' pre-paid credit behind in the move. Asda backed down following the intervention of BBC Moneybox.

Also along for the ride is Samsung, which doesn’t make any devices for older people. In El Reg's view it would have been more sensible to have roped in senior phone specialists Doro.

Tetley will be providing the tea. Which is nice.

Orange did have a specialist in the field of phones for seniors looking at how to make the company more senior friendly but she left early in 2012 and was not replaced. The Techy Tea Parties are not being backed up with any new services from EE.

Seniors will still be expected to top up their mobile phones using the interactive voice response (IVR) system and will then get text messages, which, on the whole, they find confusing. There are no plans to roll out senior-friendly devices, such as tablets which don’t need you to get a micro USB connector in the right way around, with EE preferring the idea of having a one-off event showing seniors how to work their newfangled gumble.

Comment

Doing something to support seniors is laudable, but EE needs to understand that it needs to be a fundamental part of its culture and not a corporate social responsibility dusting on top of a plate of bacon and eggs. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
Apple Watch will CONQUER smartwatch world – analysts
After Applelocalypse, other wristputers will get stuck in
Shades of Mannesmann: Vodafone should buy T-Mobile US
Biting the bullet would let Blighty-based biz flip the bird at AT&T
Net neutrality fans' joy as '2.3 million email' flood hits US Congress
FCC invites opinions in CSV format, after Slowdown day 'success'
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.