Thursday, February 28th 2013
When Tigger returned home from work, she cheerfully unpacked her new phone. As I had been through the activation process myself, I thought she would have any easy time of it as I could advise in any cases of uncertainty. In fact, Tigger managed the process without any difficulty, as I assumed she would. All she had to do now was to wait for the activation to happen when Orange’s computers could be bothered to do their job.
During the evening we kept an eye on the phone. I tried calling it a couple of times but was put through to voicemail each time. By the time we went to bed, the phone was still dead. We assumed that when we woke up in the morning it would be working.
It wasn’t, of course.
So what should we do now? The only thing I could suggest was that Tigger would have to confront the rigours of the call centre. The problem was that she had to go to work and wouldn’t have an opportunity to do this. Instead she proposed going to an Orange – or, as they call it now, EE – shop. Last week we had been to an EE shop to ask about the Blackberry Bold 9900 and what was involved in getting it set up. The assistant had told me a lot of rubbish that I knew to be quite wrong. That being so, I didn’t fancy her chances in going to a shop.
Tigger was on the late shift on Wednesday and this gave her time to go the the EE shop in Bishopsgate early in the morning. It turned out the the advisor there was on the ball, unlike the one I had spoken to in Islington.
I received a message from Tigger (still using her old phone) that the advisor had diagnosed a problem with her SIM card and had given her a replacement from the shop. He assured her that the phone would start working within the usual 24 hours. Problem solved – or so it seemed.
In fact, nothing happened for the rest of the day… or overnight. By this morning, the phone was still as dead as the dodo.
As she was on the late shift again today, Tigger was able to return to the EE shop this morning. I first received a message (from the old phone) saying that the handset was faulty and would have to be returned. I sent a return message asking whether they could supply one in the shop (and return the duff one for her). I did not receive an answer to that but…
…later another message came in. The phone was now working!
It seems that somehow – and we do not know how this could possibly have occurred – the computers had decided that the phone was stolen and had blacklisted it. (How could they do this without anyone reporting it stolen? Mystery.)
So the good news is that Tigger’s phone is now working perfectly and without her having to struggle with the dreaded call centre.
The fact remains, however, that what should have been a straightforward process, was not. Again, the customer was blocked and frustrated and needed to have recourse to expert help, not once but twice.
Orange or EE, whatever silly name it wants to apply to itself, needs to pay serious attention to its customer services and getting its processes working as they are supposed to. This not the way that a company with international reach should be treating its customers.