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July 22, 2010
"have a nice day"

Howdy! How are you? Been a while but I’m back now (internet willing) and have some very exciting things to tell you about. They’re all a little bit fragmented, so I’m going to do it over a few posts, probably over a few days.

First off, and the one that’s probably been most noticable for you, we’ve been having a few technical issues recently. Getting online has been a struggle (hence the lack of updates). For some reason our work internet has been cut, and then reconnected and then cut, and finally reconnected. I’ve also lost the ability to get onto the wi-fi in the office so I’m now using my Orange Internet Everywhere memory stick gizmo for all my online activity. (Yes, I know I just need to jimmy about with the settings, but for some reason no matter how many times I tell it otherwise, our modem will only let me have a valid IP address for 16 mins and 37 seconds.)

Now I have a long running ‘thing’ with Orange out here. Mostly I love the fact that I’m able to get online, email, chat, Skype, update my blog, tweet – the works. But their billing is… interesting, and the recent issues with connectivity have driven me to declarations of hatred on occasion! The service really has been bad. So much so that recently they sent out the following email to Livebox subscribers (of which I’m not one, but my friend is)…

Ref: Internet General Issues

Dear (full name used – no over-familiarization in Botswana thank you very much!*),

Orange Botswana would like to inform its valuable customers that there is a general problem affecting all Internet services in Botswana. This is caused by a general shortage of bandwidth from Botswana Telecom Corporation that is affecting all the Internet service providers. The result of this shortage is a general slowness reducing the speed of the connection by approximately 20%.

This issue is being taken with the highest level of priority and escalated at the highest level of Botswana Telecom Corporation.

At the time of writing this email BTC was not able to give us a timeline of when the problem will be rectified we will however keep you informed as soon as we get additional information.

Orange Botswana regrets any inconveniences that will be caused by these technical issues.

Kind Regards
Orange Livebox Customer Care

Contact Us
Call 123 on Orange Mobile or 3693777 / 72113130 / 72313130 from
any phone for any queries or enquires [sic].
Email: technicalsupport@orange.co.bw or
customerservice@orange.co.bw
Website: www.orange.co.bw

I’m impressed with this email. Granted, it’s blaming someone else and it’s almost certainly a bid to stop the inevitable queue of calls from dis-satisfied customers. Additionally, I don’t think 20% is anywhere close to the reduction in service I’ve had. I had to re-read to check it didn’t say “to approximately 20%.”

But! Good customer service is not as common here as one might wish. This email follows a great trend I’ve seen lately, one I hope will continue to grow. There are difficulties here – real infrastructural difficulties that can’t be fixed overnight and so won’t be. But actually talking to customers and letting them know what’s going on makes a huge difference in how they feel. It can help to bridge the gap that your services don’t quite cover. Now we know it’s just slow – it’s not broken. We know someone’s dealing with it – we don’t have to log yet another call. We know that at some point it’ll get better again – we can ask our companion and partner organisations to bear with us.

"have a nice day"
Sign above the door as you leave Orange BW’s head office

It’s still not working properly. Ironically enough, it’s proving tricky to publish this post and I’m a little apprehensive about all the web work I have coming up. But at least I know someone’s looking into it.

Thanks Orange!

*That’s one of my big bugbears in the UK. My name is on
your database – you don’t know me! Grrr.

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