How NOT to Deliver Customer Service – #Orange

May 15, 2011

The DeliveryDemon recollects that one of the Scandinavian countries has decided that access to high speed broadband is a necessity of life, possibly even a human right. They obviously don’t have to deal with Orange.

Last night the DeliveryDemon was trying to upload a video to Facebook. She kicked off the upload and went to do something else. Half an hour later, the screen still showed a miniscule thread of blue on the progress bar. A quick check with showed a download speed of 0.1Mbps compared to the minimum of 4Mbps Orange claim to deliver. The Delivery Demon picked up the phone and right from the start was faced with the Orange attitude to customer service.

  • The IVR scriptwriters must have to sit a stupidity test to qualify for the job.
  • First an idiotic statement that a customer whose broadband had failed should check the Orange website – and Orange kept repeating this.
  • The error status option announced that Orange knew of no faults on its lines.
  • Then an announcement that the helpline was busy, why doesn’t the customer just go away and stop bothering them, or call another day if they really must bother Orange.
  • Either the IVR script is a lie or the phone staff lie, because after a 20 minute effort to get through to a person, the response was that no faults were being reported and the helpline wasn’t busy.
  • Needless to say, dire music punctuated the IVR idiocies, with choices designed to set teeth on edge and increase the ire of the caller
  • There was a particularly obnoxious and recurrent sales pitch trying to plug cinema tickets. Bad enough to be paying for an extremely long call to get Orange to sort its service – definitely NOT the time for Orange to ask the customer to spend more money with them

The phone jockeys are no better than the IVR. The DeliveryDemon has enough knowledge of help desks to know that, if the person you’re talking to can’t explain the effect of what they’re asking you to do, then it’s a bad idea to follow their instructions blindly, especially when their command of the English language is poor and their instructions are delivered in a barely intelligible mumble.

  • After being told the router was in another room so it would take a couple of minutes to carry out the requested light status check, the Orange moron didn’t bother to hold on for the few minutes it took so it was back to the Orange IVR hell.
  • There was a sudden improvement in the line speed, but all too brief.
  • It took 40 minutes to get through to Orange this time
  • The so-called technical support proposed a configuration change which he couldn’t explain beyond saying that the result would be loss of broadband for a period he couldn’t specify.
  • The supervisor who eventually took over actually tried to claim that there was no such thing as a capacity constraint, that no matter how many users there are of a service, performance will never degrade.
  • The supervisor also said they weren’t getting many calls. What’s going on here? Is Orange building in delays to its IVR system in the hope that complaining customers will go away?
  • After TWO HOURS on the phone there was still no progress.
  • After TWO AND A HALF HOURS on the phone, Orange finally admitted that there was a fault on their line.

Needless to say, this phone marathon did not result in the problem being solved. The phone jockeys aren’t competent to resolve problems, the DeliveryDemon had to wait till next day for a call from an engineer. In the meantime she was stuck with a service so poor she had to resort to her mobile for web access.

Next day the DeliveryDemon waited for the call. The agreed hour passed without any action from Orange so the DeliveryDemon picked up the phone again, only to discover that Orange cannot be bothered to make outbound calls, so the promise of a call from an engineer was based on a lie or incompetence on the part of their helpline, apparently a common occurrence.

What the phone jockey should have said is that, when the Orange service fails, it’s the customer’s job to carry out a number of tests over a 24 hour period before Orange will deign to do anything. So it’s another couple of days of a seriously degraded service which is still crawling along at well below 0.5Mbps most of the time, and yet another stint of battling the Orange IVR customer barrier.

Complaining about this fiasco is even more difficult. Orange won’t accept complaints over the phone, and their customer ‘service’ department don’t do email. The DeliveryDemon supposes they find it easier to claim that snail mail has been lost in the post sent to Orange Customer Support, PO Box 486, Rotherham, S63 5ZX.

There is a disturbing tendency for companies to think it is sufficient to set up a service and walk away. Monitoring and preventative maintenance seem to be a thing of the past, with companies expecting customers to do those particular jobs for them. And companies don’t want to deal with the problems their customers do identify, erecting barriers of IVR delay and complexity, and call centres whose staff lack the basic competencies required to deal with customers, never mind resolve problems. The DeliveryDemon disapproves of this trend, and thinks it’s high time for customers to fight back.