Out of Stock, Orange made me see red!
We're thinking ... ebusiness partner
Another week and yet another ecommerce/customer service disaster. This time it's the mobile phone company Orange and their customer service team's out-of-stock messages doing their best confuse and frustrate their customers.
I've had by BlackBerry 8320 phone for almost four years, deliberatlly not upgrading just to upgrade. As a phone and for email the BB 8320 has been wonderful. Indeed as a phone I think it still supasses many of the new smart phones (inparticular the iPhone).
In recent weeks, however, my trusted companion has not quite been 100%. Coupled with the technical issues and the fact that there are a couple of realy interested phones avaliable I decided it's time to look at a replacement. The phone I was mainly interested in was the Samsung Galaxy S II (phone of the year T3 magazine 2011).
I visited my local Orange shop with the intention of a close inspection of the Galaxy SII. Paul the guy in the shop took his time to explain the features and the great new promotion. The promotion started on the 3rd of Feb and for £26 a month you got the phone free with 200 mins, 750mb and unlimited text messages.
In this time of austerity a sub £40 a month contract is great, particularly when you consider a typical household will have at least two mobiles and a landline contract - each could be £40 a month and that's just short of £1,440 a year excluding app purchases!
Ok. so we have a phone, Paul from the Harrogate Orange shop has shown me the features, and they have the white version in stock. A great experience so far. The only issue now being that 200mins isn't quite enough time per month and i didn't want to pay more than £26 a month. Now customer experince becomes fragmented. Rather than deal with Paul who's been doing a great job, I now have to phone customer service's retention team to discuss contract options. A 15 minuit telephone call and the new package has been arrived at.
So I'm now at the point where i've seen and handled a phone and love it, i've also been able to arrange which contact will work for me ... but not for the bomb shell ... customer services tell me they they have no stock!
What, how can you have, no stock, I've just been playing with a phone in an Orange shop. A phone that I could of paid for and walked out of the shop. That to me is the definition of in stock and avaliable.
So after a little research ... it seems Orange has stock associated to promotion/targets ... and products can't be switched between allocations. Thus, in store have targets and associated stock, like wise the customer support team have targets and associate stock.
At this point I wonder ... do the guys at Orange buy into the concept of "multi channel" and what about a wholistic customer experience? Maybe some more lessions need to be learnt!
I dont' necessarly subscribe to the theory "the customer is always right" but i definatly agree with with the sentiment that " the consumer should never be miffed off".
- Phone packages: (1) £26 a month for 200 mins, 750mb & unlimited text messages; (2) £26 a month for 400min, 250mb; (3) £26 a month plus upfront £100 for 600mins and 1gb of traffic a month, which is £4.16 a month and based on my phone usage i would spend more than that on overages.
- www.telegraph.co.uk - Another customer service mistake from Orange
- www.samsung.com - Samsung Galaxy SII product page
- awards.t3.com - T3 Phone of the Year