I’ve had quite a frustrating few days with Orange, to give you a bit of a background I basically haven’t had data reception where I work in Waterloo for nearly 4 months. I literally get all my emails and BBM’s when I go into another London borough which is pretty annoying as I’m in Waterloo 40 hours a week

Apparently this is down to some service problems in the area which are being worked on, every time I call it’s the same story: deal with it till we fix it.

On Wednesday the situation was a bit different, I couldn’t get data services in the whole of London. So I gave customer services another call and they tried to talk me through some steps that haven’t worked the previous 50 times I’ve spoken to them.

After getting nowhere the rep scheduled a call for later that evening when I would be indoors to rule out the mast disruptions in the city.

Slight problem, rather than schedule a call back… she cut my phone off and changed my number. Errrr.

Luckily I’m carrying two phones at the moment, not because I sell crack, but due to recently getting the iPhone and not being able to get rid of the Blackberry because BBM has its hooks into me (more on that in another post). I started getting messages on Facebook from friends asking if I was ok and if I was in trouble. After ringing my phone and hearing a dead line I figured it had all gone wrong.

It was late and customers services was shut so decided to leave it till the morning and called to fix the problem.

However I ran into another barrier by speaking to a man who wouldn’t believe that I didn’t request to change my number or do anything to find out what happened.

The convo went like this:

Me: Can you tell me why this happened, why did you change my number?

Orange support: Well you must have requested a number change so that has now happened.

Me: I didn’t change my number.

Orange support: Well you must have requested a number change so that has now happened.

Me: I would know if I asked for a number change, I never asked for a number change

Orange support: Well you must have requested a number change so that has now happened.

Me: I’ve had the same number for 5 years, I never requested a new number, why did you change my number?

Orange support: We wouldn’t change your number without you asking, if we did you could take legal action

Me: (I suddenly perk up) Wait I can take legal action can I?

Orange support: Eer Eeer. Well you must have requested a number change so that has now happened.

I actually nearly haymakered my monitor at work because this guy was so frustrating but he managed to change my number back. The data services were still knocked out so rather than go through the nightmare of calling back and destroying the office in the process, I decided to give Twitter a go.

First port of call was tweeting the very active and well known Conor Maples (@conorfromorange) who is the PR Manager for Orange. He replied to me in the past when I tweeted about being spammed by blank Orange MMS ads and went to the effort of sorting it out.

Conor directed me to @Orangehelpers where Jon was a bit legend and got the right person to help me fix the problem in literally no time at all, and I got my data services back (albeit only in 2G). Jon also found out the reason why I was cut off (human error) and credited my account with a months free line rental << Win.

Here’s the stream:

But wait! Guess which network tried to use my troubles with Orange in a bid to seduce me? Check it out:

So I’ve gone from hating Orange, to being really impressed by the social CRM they are doing, to suddenly getting my head turned by Vodafone showing me a bit of leg.

I honestly think this is how you utilise social media if you’re big business, you dedicate a few people and turn really pissed off customers into advocates. Amazing what a simple strategy can do. If I was Vodafone/Orange, I would stalk competitors Facebook pages and try and convert customers who complain on walls by doing exactly what you’ve seen here, either by replying publicly or privately to the customer.

Reminds me of when Samsung gave free phones to iPhone 4 customers complaining on Twitter with reception problems.