please stand by…

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So I do not know when I will have regular internet access again. My ISP, Orange is also unsure when they will be able to provide me with service again. They think maybe by next Monday. I have little faith. And calling them to check on the situation costs 50 pence a minute (for my American friends, that is $1 a minute to discuss a problem they have created). In short, Orange makes money off their own inefficiency.

The idea of “customer service” is still seen as an alien, “American” concept here in the UK.   At my last job all the venue managers had to watch a powerpoint presentation defining “customer service” and the woman supplementing the presentation kept apologizing and shrugging and saying she knew it was “very American” to say “thank you” and “have a nice day” and “is there anything else I can help you with today?”  I fear that in her mind customer service is somehow insincere.

Maybe that’s why Britain farms out all its call centers to India. I actually have had better luck with the Indian call centres than the British ones, but then there’s just this feeling that no one is accountable, and that your problem is basically lost at sea, and no one is keeping track of it.

Alas.  What is missing from the Orange service plan (as well as the BT situation I had before Orange, but I won’t go into that) is a sense of business ethics, and fairness.  Both companies held me to contracts I never saw or signed, and both didn’t provide the service I paid for.

I am peeking at Orangeproblems.co.uk when I have a stray connection from some kind neighbor who has not password protected her wifi, bless her.  There are many nightmare stories, which are similar not only to my experience with Orange but also with BT.

It’s things like this that make me miss America.  Basic services like ISPs, Banking, Credit Cards, and retail “experiences” are so much more civil, convenient and logical in America.  It’s almost as if Britian is still working from a hostile bureaucratic government model, even in private industry.

2 thoughts on “please stand by…

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