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This is my personal blog which I began in February 2001. I called it The Obvious? when I wrote anonymously and chose the name to reflect the fact I have to overcome my inhibitions about stating the obvious!

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Orange and the over systematisation of life.

As some of you who have seen my grumpy tweets will know I have been having significant problems with my broadband access from Orange over the last few weeks. It would run fine for a while then go for days only managing to stay connected for a few minutes at a time - apparently more than 500 disconnections! Given how much I work online and with a family all wanting to use the web for all sorts of things, this is a not insignificant irritation.

Things started going badly from from the beginning. When I moved to them in November  Orange got my login details mixed up with another customer. When I pointed this out I was told that they couldn't correct this simple bit of information and that I would have to start again with the ten day registration process. I said this was nonsense and to get around it I now have to log in under this other customer's login name.

They then failed to cancel my previous ISP causing double payments on my account for a couple of months which led me to two sets of call centre hell to sort out.

This more recent technical problem involved approximately 30 phone calls to Orange technical support who insisted on conducting about 8 line tests because that was part of their rigid system. They also replaced my modem, triggered a visit by a BT engineer and lost my landline as well for half a day. On top of this they closed the fault twice because we had triggered some time delay or particular response from some part of their check list. I would then have them announce that the fault had been resolved while I still had no broadband access!

The reason I am writing this post though is to comment about the over systematisation of everything. Each time I called the Orange operatives in the call centre in India they wanted to start from scratch with their script. Literally. If I am ever asked again if I am using a wired or wireless connection I will scream. Not only that but no one seemed to know anything about what had happened previously. There was no one apart from me seeing the whole picture. It was like being in my own Groundhog Day nightmare. It was all very frustrating.

No one really owned my problem. Not even the databases that stored my info owned the problem. And when the system didn't work no one was willing, or able, to step out of it and take responsibility for solving my problem. As I said in a pointless email exchange with a gatekeeper in the chief execs office their company was in a race to the bottom with other ISP's reducing costs to such an extent that their product was becoming unusable. I had little confidence that moving to another ISP would make a lot of difference as their whole industry is afflicted with the same corner cutting mentality. Feeling stuck in this disembodied, call centre hell is an unfortunately common experience these days with all sorts of services.

I got to the stage where I didn't care how much my service cost so long as it worked or at the very least I got looked after well when it didn't. In response to some advice from friends I have switched to Zen who cost more but who I understand still employ grown ups who can take responsibility for solving my problem and aren't hamstrung by a broken system. Here's hoping!

Reader Comments (8)

I feel your pain!

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Cherkoff

Nightmare E - I would be frothing by now

April 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRob Paterson

Don't feel persecuted, even as a business customer with hundreds of handsets I often had difficulty getting anyone at Orange to 'own' a problem. However, it's been the same with every mobile company I've ever dealt with. They spend £££s winning customers and then cut every corner possible in an apparent attempt to ensure they lose them. Lunatic.

April 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChris Weston

Hence my comment about a race to the bottom. I wonder how many people will decided, as I did, to pay more, in this case almost twice as much, to go with a provider who appears to do things properly.

April 21, 2012 | Registered CommenterEuan

I've been with TalkTalk Business for four years and have had no trouble at all - ever. I've heard many comments saying how poor their service is but if you pay the extra for the business service then you get a person on the phone, if necessary, based at a call centre in Britain.

April 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHazel Edmunds

Euan - just thinking about your nightmare. wondering if your friends at the call center use any form of social media in their customer service. Thinking of how it could have helped avoid this sorry mess. Enough said ! Alex

April 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Chapel

Funnily enough I was just saying the same thing myself today!

April 25, 2012 | Registered CommenterEuan

I had an experience similar to this with a phone from O2 that got lost in the post. Exactly like you I was the only one seeing the big picture and faced the same rigid, scripted questions. Infuriating in the extreme. Eventually I got a supervisor and the issue was resolved.

May 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKillian

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