Last night the main BBC Consumer TV show, Watchdog, published the results of its viewers poll into Broadband. I know that it was not conducted in the most scientific manner, it was self selecting etc. etc. just glad that it was not a telephone poll and then we would know that it was fixed!
The Broadband provider that came bottom of the poll was Orange. The show had a number of Vox Pop interviews that demonstrated just how bad Orange's service had been. Once the viewers had been shown we then had Eric Abensur VP Orange Broadband given his opportunity to reply. The silver tonged Frenchman said that Orange was disappointed that it had not managed to achieve the Customer Service levels that its reputation in Mobile was built on and that he hoped that next time the survey was conducted he was no longer in the bottom place.
It was just a shame that his masters in France Telecom were not able to see the show. Perhaps then they might understand why such a large number of former Orange consumers are now moving networks after many years. What has to be remembered is that for most of Orange's customers it is still a Mobile Phone Company and the move into Broadband was as welcomed as a call from an STD clinic.
A number of those that I talk to tell me that they are no longer Orange customers because the company no longer empathises with them rather than the price is wrong. Remember that Orange is a Brand purchase rather than price choice for most. Thus trying to marry a trusted brand with something that was free a low rent (Freeserve) was never going to be easy. The result has been that the whole perception is now that of the low rent offering however it is at the high brand price. So now consumers have the perception that they are no longer valued and that they are overcharged for poor service.
Just yesterday I spoke to another unhappy customer who complained that Orange had failed him and when his contract was up he was off because he had had enough. The reason for his dissatisfaction was that he had been pressured into taking a Samsung handset and after just a day of use he had concluded that it was unsuitable, however as he had upgraded in the shop rather than over the air he did not have the right to return the handset and was thus stuck with it for the coming 12 months. Not a wise move because the individual travels a lot in his job and so is spending £500+ each month and so when he does go Orange will need to find more than one subscriber to replace the lost income.