Becca Jane St Clair

Personal Blog

When Good Customer Service can Save…or Why India Outsourcing is Bad

What a few days it has been for me.

Last week, I decided it was time to upgrade my phone. I’m an Orange customer, and when I bought my phone it was originally to use as a visitor only, so I picked up a barebones phone (a Sony Ericsson W200i. In pink.). Now that I’m living here full-time, I wanted a phone a little bit more like my old us phone (Verizon – a LG EnV), since I was very satisfied with it and if Verizon had used SIM cards, I’d have just gotten my US phone unlocked and popped the Orange SIM in it. Verizon doesn’t use SIM cards, so I had to purchase a new phone.

About a month ago, I went into the Orange shop to browse phones and talked with someone in the shop. I explained the three important things in a new phone:

1) better camera (my old phone was a VGA, I wanted at least a megapixel or 2)
2) the ability to send pictures to facebook
3) a QWERTY keyboard

The sales person recommended the LG KS360. I said thank you, and filed that bit of information away until August, since Tim and I had discussed my new phone being a birthday present.

While I was checking my balance last week, I noticed the phone I wanted was now on sale for £35. With the £14 I had saved up in my “phone bank”*, the phone would only cost us £20. I happily ordered it.

…and then the fun began.

The phone arrived on Tuesday. Since I wanted to keep my current number, I had to call to get things activated. I got sent to a call center in india, where I was told it would take 24-28 hours to activate my new SIM with my old number. Then, he revised it and told me 30 minutes after I expressed shock at it taking so long.

30 minutes passed….no phone active. Called back, got India again. This person reiterated the 24 hours to activate. Fine.

24 and a half hours later….no phone active. Called back, got India. This time I was told that “it hasn’t been 24 hours yet. You didn’t call until 5:59PM yesterday, and it’s only 3PM”. I explained that I had actually originally called at 2:30PM, and the person I spoke with changed the time I called to 4PM. She promised me a call back at 5 to make sure the phone was active.

5PM….no call. I called, FINALLY got the UK call center. And guess what? It only took 2 minutes for the person on the phone to activate the SIM.

Problem. SMS and MMS was not working properly. Called back, got India. Their attempt to fix it didn’t work, as picture messages still were not working.

Called back, got UK. Fixed it in a few minutes.

So, my new phone was now active, and the UK person even told me how to transfer my phone numbers onto it from my old phone. When the new phone imported everything, it dropped characters off of people’s names, so the place I volunteer, Cancer Research UK, became “Research U”, The British Transport Police became “Transpor”, and Welton Family Surgery became “Surgery”, to name a few. It also didn’t thread multiple numbers for people, so it would have something like “Tim/M” and “Tim/H” right in a row. It also deleted email addresses, such as the address for sending pics. I figured this was the kind of stuff I could fix manually, so I went into the address book only to discover that a) you only can have 1 number per entry b) the name space is very short and c) there was no place to add an email address.

Went to bed. Thursday morning, Tim and I went into town so I could return the phone to the high street shop. Person in the shop told me he couldn’t help me b/c it was an online purchase and I would need to call it in. Ok, fine. Each number I called told me they were not the number I needed THREE TIMES (so, three wasted phone calls) until I finally got someone (in the UK!) at the right number. This included a call to the India call centre who told me I couldn’t return my phone!

In order to return the phone, I also needed to return the new SIM. This meant getting my old SIM re-activated. I went through all the steps of returning the new phone except for the last step, because I needed to get the SIM re-activated first. I called the number to re-activate the SIM, got someone in the UK, and guess what? It took only a few minutes. I was told that it should have never taken 24 hours the first time. Nice, right?

So, We’re done with the tale, yes? Old phone is working again, and new phone is ready to be returned, right? No.

My old phone was no longer receiving texts and pics.

Called it in, got India. I was told he was sending an update to my phone. He told me it could take a half hour.

30 minutes later….no texts. Called in, got the UK. Again, the woman tried to send the update to my phone and said it sometimes does take a while for the system to make it go, and said she would call me back in an hour.

No call. I called in, and the person I spoke with said he knew how to fix it, but the problem was I was calling from the phone, so he would make a note on my account for me to call in this morning to get it fixed. We speculated that maybe I also wasn’t receiving phone calls, so he told me when we hung up he’d try to immediately call me and if it didn’t go, we’d know it wasn’t receiving calls, either.

No call. *sigh*

After Tea with Lynne and Jan, I figured I had better ring Tim to let him know that I couldn’t receive messages, just in case he needed to reach me or had been trying to. A few minutes into our call, I got cut off. I tried to call back and got a message “you do not have enough credit for this call” and was advised to switch to the “reserve tank”**. I didn’t understand this, because that morning I had checked my balance and I had over £5!

Annoyed and with the resolve that I was going to switch to O2 in the morning, I went to chorus and then home to bed.

This morning, I called back into Orange, and got a lovely woman in the UK named Emma. Emma is why I am staying with Orange. She looked in my account and saw the notes from the previous night and was able to fix it. Then, when I explained to her that I was thinking about switching over to O2 because I was upset with the number of calls I had to make to Orange in the past few days, upset with the India call centre not being able to help, PLUS the calls all coming out of my credit she asked me to hold, and then came back on the line and told me she was giving me some credit (which most of it had to re-pay the reserve tank, but still). Then, she chit-chatted with me as we waited for my phone to start receiving the messages from yesterday, and even talked me through the process two more times when my phone kept losing messages.

Would you like to know the problem? Apparently a single tower was down yesterday and my phone had been programmed to use that tower, so all they had to do was swap me over to a different tower.

I won’t go into what happened when Emma had to (apologetically) send me to the India call centre to finish the return, since once again, the India call centre proved to be useless (and told me again that I couldn’t return the phone, when the paperwork clearly stated “7 day return”) and I had to call back yet again (to the UK) to finally get it handled.

So…I’m sticking with Orange. Because of Emma. Because of finally getting someone who was competent, friendly, and able to understand my frustrations.

Emma, if you’re reading this….Thank you!

(They are sending me a mailbag to return my phone in. It can take a week for this bag to arrive. I have 30 days to send it back now that I’ve called to return it and the credit will go back to my account when they get the phone back, including the money from my phone fund, so while I will be researching some of the other phones available through Orange, I won’t be purchasing anything until the credit goes back on, and I probably will purchase the phone directly at the store to save all the hassle.)

*Phone Bank is an Orange gimmick. For every £10 you top-up by, they put £1 into a phone fund for purchasing a new phone.
**Another Orange feature, where they give you an extra £2.50 in credit you can use if you go dead, and then when you top-up, it repays the reserve tank back.

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  1. […] never got around to it. I briefly tried out a LG KS360 in July 2010, and you can read all about it here. So it’s been well over a year since I tried getting a new phone, and I’ve stayed with […]

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