The Sharp End – Orange IVR, Orange upgrades, iPhone chips


Stop press: Orange listens

Quite a few times in the past I’ve written about how crazy it is Orange’s automated upgrade (IVR) system doesn’t inform dealers of customers’ classifications – in other words, we’ve had no way of knowing from the IVR whether customers are classed as consumers, small business customers or corporate customers.

This caused dealers headaches, financially, because we might expect to receive commissions for a small business upgrade, but then only receive payments for a consumer connection, which pays less.

But, stone the crows, Orange has finally done something about it – perhaps it even listened to dealers’ constant grumbles about the system.

Orange has started updating its automated IVR line (on 426) that dealers use to check upgrade bandings. It now informs dealers of the customer classification.

This is a very welcome move by Orange and very long overdue; it should also decrease the volume of commission queries, as dealers get paid what they expect.

And, so, this time, Orange should be congratulated.

Orange: the backlash
Talking of commission queries from Orange, I’ve been chasing commission from Hugh Symons for an Orange upgrade I processed some time ago.

I phoned Orange Upgrades to check on a customer that was telling me she had a business account.

Orange Upgrades informed me, after verifying the details with the customer, the customer was indeed listed as a small business.

After sorting the customer out a phone I could offer free of charge, assuming it was a small business contract and not a consumer deal, I phoned the Orange Business team and processed the upgrade with them again.

Now the Orange Business team will not process anything to do with a consumer customer – but when the commissions came through a short while later, sure enough, I was paid upgrade commission based on the customer being just that, and not a small business.

A few emails have gone back and forth between myself and the distributor, as apparently Orange was adamant the customer was a consumer.

So how come I was told three times they were a business customer and the upgrade was actually processed by Business Registrations?

The only answer I got was that Orange wasn’t budging.

After getting nowhere, it was suggested I email Orange Business support and ask them to email back this customer’s classification.

I did this and, to my amazement and joy, I now have it in type: they’re a small business customer.

The email has been forwarded on to commission queries and I’m still waiting for a response. But how stupid is this scenario?

One department within Orange simply cannot, or more probably will not, check a customer’s classification and simply wants to pay the lower commission rate.

I would have been £145 out of pocket if I’d shrugged and let it go – I wonder how much money the networks are saving by paying incorrect commissions that are never properly pursued?

The iPhone (not so) 3G

There are worldwide reports coming in of problems with the Apple iPhone 3G, including extreme battery issues, poor reception and lack of coverage.

It would seem the problem is down to the Infineon 3G chip in the handset and apparently Apple is working on a new firmware update to fix reception issues.

Couple this with the cracks that have started appearing on its screen and the super phone is looking a little less super.

Luckily I never managed to upgrade mine to the 3G version, but I did update my first generation iPhone to the version 2.01 software, which gives nearly all the functions of the 3G version. However, this software has been a little buggy of late too.

But one thing Apple has succeeded with is its Appstore. This is an application pre-installed on new or updated iPhones, allowing users access to hundreds of software titles made especially for the iPhone.

Some are free of charge, others cost anything up to $999; it’s probably the latter that have helped Appstore rack up a healthy $500 million (£268m) in sales already.

This is a huge figure given the short time Appstore has been available (about a month) and the fact a lot of the software available is actually free.

The first handset to use Google’s Android platform will be released in the next few months, with all the rumours pointing to the HTC ‘Dream’ being the model in question.

Only time will tell how successful the new Android platform will be, but Google surely needs to come up with its own Appstore.