My home ADSL line started to become unreliable a 6 weeks ago, just at the time when Wanadoo became Orange Broadband. I think this is just a co-incidence, but being constantly connected and disconnected yesterday prompted me to call the Orange callcentre to find out what’s going on. Instead of the Newcastle accents on the line when I had called Wanadoo to establish the account, I was greeted by an Indian call centre. There are 2 issues with this: the quality of the service, and the political issue.
First of all, the service was utterly lousy. I started by explaining that I thought there was a problem on the line, and the call centre person started to ask me questions about the modem I was using, and started to instruct me about what changes I needed to make on my PC. I told him I had an Apple computer and not a PC and he started to get extremely grumpy and told me I had the wrong number. NO! I wanted to check the line, not the modem! He eventually gave me another number to call to check the line, and wished me a nice day when I was calling at 23:00 BST. I do wonder whether the barriers to getting a call centre to work when it’s based half way around the globe are just simply too great.
Secondly, the very idea that Orange should be contracting out its call centres is quite an interesting issue. Orange is owned by the France Telecom Group, the private firm that has grown out of the French state monopoly telephone company. The very idea that France Telecom would out-source its call centres in France strikes me as impossible. Imagine calling Tangier and having a Moroccan-accented person replying to your queries. The French would scream delocalisation and France Telecom would have a problem on its hands. I’m glad we’re not so opposed to such things in Britain, but it does annoy me when we get lousy customer service as a result.