Saturday, 31 March 2012
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit
I have a monthly contract with Orange; my wife's PAYG with my hand me down phone. The phone is not that intuitive and she misses more calls than she takes. At home she uses my smart phone which is much easier to understand. Except that means that I get lots of people calling her back on my number.
This wasn't a problem while her business was in the foetal stage, but now it's a screaming, demanding toddler that particular business model doesn't work. So we're thinking about a business contract with an iPhone and iPad.
This may seem a massive leap from PAYG hand me down shell phone to cutting edge, whizzy, techno- blurb, apple pie newness but...The iPhone is so easy, so useful and so cool. She is in a business where you shout chic; currently she's blabbering schmuter. An iPhone or a Samsung equivalent is "de rigor". An iPad is possibly less essential, except it will allow her to take her portfolio to the clients, dazzling them with her Cartier crisp, cool nowness.
Hence my dalliance with the Orange shop.
It was nearly empty. Never a good sign. Yet as I looked interestingly at this and that electronic offering, not one assistant stirred. They were engrossed in helping a fat lard of a youth up grade, or staring eyeless at blank terminal screens.
But me, I might as well have not been there. It could have been my age profile - grey and grubby - I had been to the allotment. It could have been the fag end of the day and they wanted to get home and open a can or two of cheap lager before minimum unit pricing kicks in. It could have been that they've been told the concession is to close and they'd be out of a job - quite possible given the crappiness of their customer proposition.
Finally, as I leafed through a dog earred brochure a young girl, with ketchup from her lunchtime Subway on her un-ironed and no doubt sweat soaked "corporate dress" asked if I needed help.
Let me tell you that an iPhone/iPad combo costs 60 odd quid a month. You' d have thought it was the price of pre-STD local call from a call box she was not trying to sell.
I don't know what motivates this member of Orange's elite sales staff to get out of bed in the morning but it ain't selling and it ain't getting any satisfaction from matching up a customer with the best deal.
I left in despair. What level of low expectations can we sink to. Customers who put up with crap and sales staff who deal with crap.
The disconnection between the bright, breezy, optimism portrayed by Orange's ads and their front line troops is complete. No wonder so many kids live in a virtual world.