05 Mar Chapter 4 – O2 and CeX
I had a fantastic ten years with O2, they taught me a lot, from how to run a business, marketing, sales and HR. I really enjoyed the customer first attitude of O2. As the ten years was coming up I decided I need to look around for something else, so I decided to open two shops with CeX, the second-hand retailer, as soon as the first one opened I realised this was a mistake. My view was it wasn’t as professional and polished as O2 and some practices they were doing I did not agree with, I didn’t feel at the time I was there it was putting the customer first and when I spoke to fellow franchisees about how to make money and how they were doing it was questionable. They had some odd practices, like allowing the staff on Christmas Eve to drink alcohol on the shop floor, and they would pay for it. The stories you would hear of how this went wrong was obvious. I quickly decided CeX was not for me and so decided to sell the two stores, partly because every day in both stores customers were asking if we knew anywhere that did mobile phone repairs, and quality ones and we did not, the ones nearby had terrible reputations then and so the opportunity was obvious to me. We were already repairing and refurbishing phones and tablets that returned to the store as faulty, and so we had a few years experience of this with our own stores so Phone Paramedics (Repair Not Replace) was born.