Today, I’m going to tell you a story of a frustrating user experience that I had with Orange but which resulted in a happy ending between me and my new friend, Vodafone.
My personal phone contract is with O2. I took it out many months ago before I moved into a house in which it is impossible to get a signal without standing on one leg, waving your arm out of the window and threatening it with physical abuse if it doesn’t connect SOON! This wasn’t a problem before when I had a work sim with Orange but since being made redundant I had to rely solely on my O2 sim. Anyway, I finally had enough and today dug out an old pay as you go Orange sim from the back of a draw and decided to activate it to use as a second sim.
I initially visited the Orange website listed on the card to activate it, however, the link was dead and showed the page no longer existed. It didn’t redirect me to an updated page so instead I called the freephone number and got through to an automated system where a friendly sounding female voice welcomed me (let’s call her Jane to make it easier). However, after welcoming me, Jane decided not to speak to me at all even though I could see she was still on the line. After about 10 seconds I decided something must have gone wrong so I hung up and called her back. This time I realised why she was silent. She had asked me a question and I had to answer yes or no, however as I was walking down the stairs the first we talked, I hadn’t heard say this part. When she didn’t repeat herself or mention that she couldn’t hear me I thought she had left the conversation.
Anyway, now we were back on speaking terms and she sounded very friendly. She would even tell me when she was entering my details into the system and I could hear her typing (very realistic). I had to go through several menus and tell Jane certain details like the IMEI number of the phone I’d be using (I didn’t really understand why she needed this and I hadn’t actually decided which of my phones to use yet but I gave her one anyway as she sounded trustworthy). It was a process that was lengthy enough for me to hope that Jane accepted all the details and did not transfer me to someone to redo it all again or end the call.
Jane asked me if I now wanted to set up an ‘animal call plan’. A what??? Animals? What have they got to do with call plans? I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about and it sounded like it was going to be a lengthy task to go through all the plans to choose the best one so I thought I’d read up on this later after I’d activated the sim card. So I told Jane ‘No’. She was obviously really offended by this and very abruptly told me I couldn’t continue with the process, goodbye and hung up on me without giving me any options at all. How rude of her! She went so quickly from liking me to hating me. Well I don’t need friends like that thankyou so I went to visit Jane’s friend Vodafone down the road. I was quickly sorted with a sim that activated without needing any details such as an IMEI number (hmmm I knew that Jane shouldn’t be trusted) and I have the best signal ever at home. I am a very happy Vodafone customer.
What did Jane do wrong?
1. When I didn’t hear her she didn’t repeat herself or ask if I needed help.
2. Asked me questions that made me question her trustworthiness. Why did she need to know the IMEI number? If it was for genuine reasons she should have informed me of them to put me at ease.
3. Gave me no option to skip questions and come back to them later. After all I only wanted to activate a pay as you go sim card. My expectations were that hardly any details would be required and it would be a very quick and easy process. Reality didn’t meet (or beat) user expectations.
4. When I took the wrong route she offered me no option of help and no warning of the implications of what would happen.
5. No option to change my answer to the question. Had I realised I had to answer yes at the end to continue the process I would have said yes.
6. There was no option to speak to a human being.
7. No option to navigate back up the menus. This would have been very helpful at the end.
7. I was very quickly and abruptly cut off without a chance to change my answer, which after spending a long time going through multiple voice activated menus seems an unfair trade-off for the amount of effort I’ve put in (and us humans also interpret being cut off as rude).
This all amounted to a poor user experience which ended with Orange losing a new customer but Vodafone gaining one.
Now, if only you could get the iPhone on Vodafone… I’ll keep dreaming of that one for now 🙂