Orange customer service "bonuses based on call durations"

3 August 2009

Our recent post on cancelling your Orange mobile contract was so popular we had to post a troubleshooting guide for dealing with Orange's customer service department. But why were customers having so many problems with a department that exists to assist them? Read through the comments and you'll find dozens of accounts of dropped calls, rude and aggressive operators and far less service than you might expect.

We've been contacted by a member of staff at Orange who claims the reason is the bonuses for customer service operators aren't based on whether any given customer query is successfully resolved, but on the average call lengths and average customer satisfaction ratings:

I think that Orange as a whole is taking a turn for the worst - the area I work in has been told it needs to make a saving of £1.8 million over the next 12 months in light of the current financial situation.

I also feel many Orange staff don't do the job they should simply because of the current bonus culture that's been introduced. We constantly have customers saying they were promised resolutions to situations and were fobbed off by staff members. These operators know that as long as their call handling time and average customer satisfaction scores are at a certain level they'll get a bonus. However, when the customers call back a week or a month later because nothing has been done, there's no way of tracing the agent the customer spoke, so the next operator loses out when they do the job properly and get a result for the customer.

A lot of staff that have been with the company for over five years have seen this happening and become progressively worse, but the powers that be seen to just brush us and our feedback under the carpet. As long as the business is saving money they don't really seem to care.

In other words, it's seemingly very easy for plenty of operators to do absolutely nothing to help you and still receive their bonuses. By promising you the world or simply hanging up on your call, an agent can help ensure there's extra cash in next month's paypacket.

TOPICS:   How To Guides

12 comments

  • Joff
    Always, always, always get the full name of the person you're speaking to.
  • tay
    some will refuse to give surnames
  • Craig
    Always, always, always get the full name of the person you’re speaking to. That is if they give you their actual name, it's happened to me before with Npower. Rang up, asked for the guys name, my problem didn't get solved, rang back, nobody of that name works for or has ever worked for Npower!
  • dacouch
    I worked in a call centre many years ago, the reason why you sometimes get through and then the line goes dead is because by doing that it counts as a call answered and the fact the call is for about a second reduces the customer services reps average call length...
  • nerd.
    Also worked in a call centre a couple of years ago. One of the things that made the job so demoralising and soul-destroying was that you got no credit for doing what I would have considered a 'good job'; it was all about "Wrap Time" (keeping the time you spent 'wrapping up' after a call to a minimum) and Effective Time (amount of time spent actually on the phone), number of calls taken and call duration. Customer service? Ha! The thing is it's not REALLY the fault of the muppets many of these places employ (well it is, but you've got to expect monkeys when you pay peanuts) - all the performance metrics are geared towards quantity not quality. That said I gather not all call centres are the same. My ex-girlfriend has moved jobs from the one I used to work in to another call centre in the same city, here in Belfast, and says the new one is infinitely better.
  • Patrick
    i had a friend who did customer service for sky broadband. he said everyone who had a problem but were not tech savvy took a long time to sort out so they were always tricked into hanging up themselves (as it shoes up if the operator hangs up the phone). they were told to test their dsl filter on the phone socket and asked to remove it and plug it in after 10 seconds... only problem is when they pull it out that pulls their phone out of the wall and the call is cancelled... and repeat. its a joke really. he got a £200 bonus for this every week!
  • Robert
    But isn't it normal for customers to hang up 1st. When I've finished speaking to an advisor, I don't wait until I hear the line go dead, I hang up straight away!
  • Fiyero
    I worked 15 months at a call centre and nerd is right, there was no real credit for giving good customer service. Bad service was punished but going above average wasn't rewarded at all.
  • Anon
    "These operators know that as long as their call handling time and average customer satisfaction scores are at a certain level they’ll get a bonus. However, when the customers call back a week or a month later because nothing has been done, there’s no way of tracing the agent the customer spoke, so the next operator loses out when they do the job properly and get a result for the customer." I worked for the big blue mobile network in customer service - call handling and satisfaction were 2 of the main measurements there too BUT repeat calls could be acted upon and not taking ownership of a call was a pretty serious matter. However, it relied on other advisors reporting such occurrences via the tools available- some were good at this, some didn't bother. Every call was logged against the advisor that answered it so there was always an audit trail.
  • Mike e.
    They just give you a fake name or the next operator you speak to just denies they exist, "Dave Smith? No, there's no one here with that name" (snigger)
  • Anon
    @ Mike Hock - every advisor has a unique ID and this is recorded on the customer history as soon as an account is opened.
  • sexy m.
    hello!,I love your writing so much! proportion we be in contact more approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert in this space to solve my problem. May be that's you! Taking a look ahead to peer you.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment