understand everything about the “future” of customer service dreamed up by Xavier Niel

Free Proxi is a project that Xavier Niel (boss of Iliad and Free) has been pushing since 2019 and which wants to revolutionize customer support by offering a service very focused on geographical proximity and responsiveness. Here is all you need to know.

Free Proxi // Source: Free

There is something that has never been reconsidered, that has never changed over the last 30 or 40 years, and that is customer service. “. It is roughly in these terms that Xavier Niel began his presentation of Free Proxi. The name is not very original, but it transcribes well the ambitious project of the founding president of the Iliad group, the parent company of Free.

In fact, Free Proxi has been around since 2019, but this is the first time that Free — mobile operator and ISP — devotes a proper presentation to this project. Here is everything you need to know about this “subscriber service revolution“. An initiative that does not hide its experimental status, but which already prides itself on having obtained positive results.

What is Free Proxi?

Free Proxi is therefore an optimized customer service. How ? “By changing a parameter: proximity», explains Xavier Niel. Concretely, with Free Proxi, the promise is quite simple: you explain your problem to a person by telephone or through messages and it is this same person who can quickly intervene in your home.

Free Proxi teams are trained to be versatile in order to be able to repair technical problems, provide equipment, provide commercial support or manage subscriber accounts. And that goes for both mobile and fixed Internet.

Xavier Niel alongside Saoussen Jelliti for the presentation of Free Proxi // Source: Frandroid

No need to call customer service five times until you find someone. No need to re-explain your problem to several different people. No need to wait several days for a solution. This is basically the ideal world promised by Free Proxi. But by what means?

How does FreeProxi work?

Free Proxi relies on several small teams — never more than ten people per cell. Each team manages a specific geographical area in which it is able to intervene very quickly in the event of a problem. Saoussen Jelliti, coordinator of the team managing the 9th and 10th arrondissements of Paris, explains that for her or her colleagues, in this well-served sector, the journey time by metro or electric bike never exceeds 30 minutes.

No Parisianism

But Free Proxi is not intended to be a privilege of large cities. Xavier Niel indicates, for example, that a team is now based in Nièvre, a large department that is less densely populated and where travel issues are very different from the capital. Conversely, all the arrondissements of Paris are not yet covered. Thereby, “we don’t do Parisianism“says the boss of Iliad with a smile.

The location of the Free Proxi teams // Source: Free

Thus, since 2019, in France, Free Proxi has had 67 local teams in mainland France and the objective is to increase this number to 150 by the end of 2023 in order to cover nearly 50% of Free subscribers against 25% today. The company explains in passing that it has 21 million subscribers (14 million on mobile plans and 7 million on landline). In addition, according to satisfaction surveys conducted with 18,223 customers between March and April 2022, Free Proxi prides itself on having “nearly 90% satisfied subscribers“.

Finally, Xavier Niel, makes some promises of responsiveness:

  • the Free Proxi teams are available 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
  • the objective is to be able to respond in 15 minutes remotely;
  • and to intervene in 2 hours if a trip is necessary (within 24 hours if the request is made late in the day).

How to take advantage of Free Proxi?

To benefit from the contributions of Free Proxi, there are two criteria to meet: being a Free customer (mobile or landline) and living in an area covered by a local team. The subscribers concerned are thus “automatically directed to their local team when they contact support. There is no specific action to perform and no options to subscribe“.

A Free Proxi advisor in Paris // Source: Free

There are therefore three ways to contact Free Proxi.

By telephone

The number to contact remains the same: 3244. If you live in a geographical area covered by Free Proxi, your call will be automatically redirected and you will be notified that you have been put in contact with the team near you. On the other hand, no one will answer at this time, you will be invited to leave a voice message to explain your problem or request. An advisor is supposed to get back to you promptly.

However, you can specify orally, if you wish, that you should be called back an hour later or contact you only by message. Local teams must take this type of request into account.

The Freebox application – Subscriber Area

You can also take advantage of Free Proxi via the Freebox mobile application – Subscriber Area.

Just go to the Support section of the application to find the “Contact an advisor” button. The app also displays the response time in real time.

On the website

As on the application, a tour of your subscriber area from a web browser on a computer also allows you to contact Free Proxi. The method does not differ, you must go to the Assistance section.

“The future of subscriber service”

Free Proxi already mobilizes 700 people on permanent contracts across France and this number is set to increase. On the other hand, the firm’s spokespersons ensure that this initiative is not intended to replace traditional call centers which remain essential in the customer service offered and for the field teams.

Part of the Free Proxy Batignolles team in the 17th arrondissement of Paris // Source: Frandroid

However, the emphasis is on the more optimized assistance adapted to each need offered by Free Proxi. Outreach team members do not specialize in a single area. Xavier Niel explains that he wants to avoid the redundant side of this kind of job. This makes it possible to better satisfy the customer by reducing the number of interlocutors. But the businessman also welcomes a reduction in the “turnover(job rotation). It ensures that employees stay longer and teams are stable.

In the press release, Xavier Niel also allows himself a word about the other French operators. “I have no doubt that our competitors will recognize the obvious: the future of subscriber service is Free Proxi. If they are inspired by it, we will not blame them.“.

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