I’ve blogged about a couple of recent customer service experiences. Here’s an update. Internetters/Iomart have not replied to my letter of complaint from 20 July and two reminders from me though they have found time to send me a payment reminder. So they’re still very much in Brontosaurus territory for sensitivity to feedback.
[UPDATE In December 2005 my dispute with Internetters was resolved to my satisfaction. Credit where it’s due, they have put things right now.]
Things are a bit more cheerful on the Orange front. The trick here seems to be to bypass the regular customer service and write a letter to Mike Hughes (Customers Services Director, Senhouse Rd, Darlington, DL1 4YQ 0870 376 8888). This produced a much more engaged, much less defensive response. So now Orange have waived the disputed charge though I’m still working on getting clear on how the bizarre data charge was clocked up in the first place. But I feel like I’m having a conversation with them now, and that makes it much more likely that I’ll stay. I wouldn’t now describe Orange as arrogant, which is the perception I had in earlier posts.
Basically, I’ve learnt that there is an Executive Department at Orange that rises above customer service to deal with the curved balls. Orange don’t publicise this department because, I suppose, efficiency dictates that they want us all to go the call centre. Such strategies might become less effective in a networked world; this isn’t the first posting on the net to let the average Googler find a better way to deal with their Orange complaints.
Likewise, this comment to my Iomart post explains how to bypassing their usurious £49 transfer charge.
So the net contributes to a stripping away of some of the conventional corporate defences as customers become better informed. This means customer service needs to be less combative – which probably requires a change of behaviour on both sides, organisation and customer. I think this is what Ben Hammersely means about a new etiquette emerging. (I’ve not quite figured out the etiqette for dealing with Ben’s questioning technique, but practice will no doubt make perfect).