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Posts Tagged ‘Business’

Orange takes the biscuit for dreadful customer service

In Business, Customer Service, Email providers, Orange, Telecoms on 11 February 2011 at 15:42

I am at the end of my tether with Orange. Over the last few days I have been unable to receive any emails on my Broadband setup and I understand others are experiencing the same problem. This is the latest in a whole catalogue of complaints I have made to Orange over faults with their system over the last six months but it is difficult to move my service provider because I have to change so many resources including my Blackberry that are used to promote my email address. Last year the system kept emptying my inbox of all mail and then in their wisdom Orange has told me that I am on a ‘pay as I go’ account and, despite a week-long exchange of emails, this still has not been resolved.

Calling the help line is a thorough waste of time and effort and I can feel my blood pressure rising.  If you call from a landline or mobile it can be expensive to boot just to get Orange to provide the service I am paying for. The call centre … guess what … is in India and without being accused of causing a racial issue, I have found that many of the operatives are extremely difficult to understand. Although I have been aware of other subscribers that are experiencing the same email problems, nobody at Orange is prepared to admit that anything is wrong. I have been told they will take 3-5 days to investigate the problem that they are not admitting exists, and when I explain that having no emails is like losing a limb they merely repeat over and over ‘that they will investigate in the next 3-5 days’ as if it is their mantra. Yesterday I was prompted to ask whether I was actually talking to a person or robot, but the call centre operative missed the point and now, as we roll into the third day I am receiving spasmodic batches of emails during parts of the morning, things come to a grinding halt during the afternoon.  Now that the weekend is here I guess I will not even get this barrage of day-old correspondence.

I have resorted to writing several emails a day to customer support (now that is a joke!) using my msn connection but it takes the a day or more for Orange to respond and then all they will tell me is that they either have no record of my account (I had inherited Orange after Freeserve was taken over) or the engineers will be looking into the problem. As the same person never deals with an issue, for much of the time you have to go over what you have said previously.  I have written several letters to their CEO who hides behind his customer relations team, who delight in saying that the CEO does not read customer letters. Well he bloody well should as he might discover just how diabolical his company’s customer service is.

It is all extremely unsatisfactory and frustrating and in the end I guess I will have no alternative but to change service provider with all the inherent problems that will entail.

If anyone out there can recommend a reliable email provider please let me know.

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The Joys of Barter

In Bartercard, Business, Food & Drink, Hotels, International Trade, Networking, Trading, Uncategorized on 5 February 2011 at 12:41

Bartering has been around ever since man began trading and despite an in-bred scepticism in the UK it can be a much more satisfying way of doing business especially when money is tight. I enjoy bartering and use it extensively to obtain goods and services that I need. It is a particularly useful way of doing business during periods when cash trade is scarce or you have excess capacity or stock that you want to shift. With the advent of the internet, most countries now have an organised barter trading system and mega businesses, even governments are not averse to trading in this way. I once worked for a client in the construction industry who regularly took payment for their projects in Nigeria with tankers of crude oil in place of hard cash, that was later sold on to one of the major oil companies.

Communities have grown using the bartering system with various levels of success on a local level, but by far the most successful bartering organisation is Bartercard, an international trading portal that operates in six countries and has 75,000 trading members. Bartercard simplifies the trading process by matching the requirements of members to appropriate suppliers of products and services that they require. Payment is conducted using Trade pounds, thus when I make a sale the payment for my services will be credited to my account enabling me to spend on anything I need to buy from other member businesses. This means when I want to eat out, stay at a hotel, buy items that I need – even pay for my private dental treatment, I pay using Trade Pounds instead of spending cash. Bartercard makes its money by charging fees on every transaction, but these are tiny compared to the equivalent cash spend you might otherwise make. It is a great way of doing business and it is all ‘above board’ – with members paying tax and collecting VAT on transactions in the normal way. Being a Bartercard member also acts as a social networking forum that forges firm friendships and working relationships with other businesses.

The only downsides are that you cannot buy fuel, or use Bartercard to buy food in the supermarkets, but it is something the major companies should consider. The reserved nature of the Brits still casts a suspicion over anything innovative that can really help their businesses. But it really is time that all businesses woke up to the benefits Bartercard has to offer as an alternative to paying for everything using cash.

Further links:

Recession tips for business

Bartercard testimonials

Bartercard’s latest investment

Is British Telecom’s Customer Service the Worst in the Country?

In British Telecom, State of the Nation on 27 July 2010 at 17:35

Why is the Customer Services function at BT so incapable of responding to basic customer complaints? I guess it is because they are too large, too impersonal and really aren’t interested in their customers. After all, they will always retain the upper hand and will cut you off if you refuse to pay charges that you do not accept as genuine.

These days I seldom visit my office as I have no need unless I am meeting with a client. But as face-to-face meetings  have become less likely I tend to use the telephone or emails because it is usually more convenient for all concerned.  I opted a long time ago to use BT’s Call Diversion feature to re-direct my incoming calls to my answer service.  Six months ago I reviewed the number of calls I was being charged by BT against those that had been electronically logged by my answer service. Should I have been surprised that the totals were wildly different?  My ‘service’ had logged 68 incoming calls; BT had charged me for 304! It appears that something is quite wrong somewhere although BT has, thus far, refused to discuss the matter.  Naturally errors always seem to be in BT’s favour and although the cost involved wasn’t that much it is the principle that matters. Read the rest of this entry »