Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Orange infinite loop of customer death

Customer disservice has reached a new nadir.

d the circle of madness that can only be designed by computer programmers that have been very lazy. I call the number to top up the phone and proceed through the stages of having a automated service which is voice activated. I get through the service until the "lady" wants to know my surname. When I tell her, she does not recognise it. She asks me again to say my name, I comply. She fails to recognise it again. Now she is obviously losing her temper as she speaks patronisingly to me that she wants my last name. I tell her one last time my surname, which she mishears and says she cannot continue instead I need to talk with someone.

This is the first error as I can clearly spell my name but this is not requests or suggested. Instead I am transferred to the voice service.

After various multiple choices I am told that I do not have enough credit as the call costs 25p per minute. Why charge 25p for a call to a potential human. Surely it is in the interest of the company to maintain happy customers, so this should be free. This is business suicide.

Now this is the second and compounding error. If I had credit why would I need to speak to them to top my phone up?

So I go online an register... Or think I register... Only to be informed that the phone number is not recognised.

After various failed attempts I finally  decide to seek help online.

I find the online help and eventually Poppy comes online. The lag between my writing and her replying imply she might also be an automated service.

Poopy basically tells me to go to an EE shop to sort this out.  Well that is helpful I thought, apart from the fact I live kn ths countryside and I do not have an EE shop nearby. I pointed this out to her and was directed to a webpage, which it turns out was was one I had already visited.

I vet a brainwave and download the EE app and it tells me I have activated my SIM but the number is not recognised.

So after two hours of my life being wasted by stupidity I am left with a phone with the SIM in it that can receive calls but cannot make them. 

Tomorrow I will go to Tesco or somewhere similar to purchase an unkocked phone so I can put in a GiffGaff SIM card.  I have been with Giffgaff for a year now and had no such stupid issues that I have with EE/Orange. The GiffGaff PAYG service seems excellent and allows free calls to other GiffGaff phones so calls to my son would be free. Although GiffGaff uses the O2 network they seem to not suffer from Big Business syndrome which EE clearly do.

I am sad. My first mobile was Orange.  They were a good provider untill fhey decided to stop some local ariels in the process of being amulgamated with EE. Since then service is patchy to say the least and poor at best.

So EE or Orange. Here is one customer you will have to work very hard on to get back again.
This is a classic case of when automation is taken to such an extent that the omission of real people is effecting their real potential customers.

In sum, EE/Orange:

1) Do not offer a SIM card if you will not allow someone to top it up simply via a card without requiring credit in the first place.

2) Do not provide software based systems that rely on audio recognition of names when they are clearly inappropriate for the job.

3) Do not provide Automated Voice recognition programmes which have a person apparently getting cross and patronising when the system is at fault for not recognising the name.  In fact why get a person to apparently get laboured when speaking to your customers.  This is the customers first contact with your service and the customer should be treated with respect and as correct at all times not made to feel stupid beacause your technology is rediculous.

4) Do not save money by removing real people from key jobs such as providing help.  Also do not charge 25p per minute for the opportunity to speak to someone unless there is a guarantee of a fast fix otherwise you are no better than the UK Tax office and are using customers help as a income generation.

5) Do not have a system that relies on a new customer trying to give you money requiring to be connected to a paid service in order to top up their new SIM card. Anyone who wants to PAYG will not have money on the SIM so cannot use the paid service.  Furthermore, no one will want to use their credit to purchase credit from you.  This is rediculous.

6) If you are a phone and broadband provider it is sensible to have sufficient resources for someone who requires help to have the answers easily available to them.

7) When you design any system it is important in the usability testing that the customer is the focus of the design.  Real cost savings are made by retaining customer satisfaction and providing good service.

EE/Orange - Fail