Category: Customer Service

Posts related to customer service.

Customer Service 2014

Ok ok ok. I know I am having high standards for some measures, am picky with builders and customer service. That is because I believe in doing a good job and servicing clients exceptionally well. That is important for me. If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing it well.

Now what are the things that piss me off most? Probably wasting my time, letting me wait without an update. That happened at a branch of Metro Bank recently. Once escalated, the branch manager called me, totally got it, said how annoyed he gets at these situations, and that he will do better. On the back of it, I got a present to make up for their mistake. No hard feelings left.

Customer-service-meme

My builders, even if my wife said things are fine, I got quite picky with sometimes. Their patience and resilience in fixing things, moving things and helping was amazing. Not your average builders, and they didn’t do anything wrong, it was just me trying to perfect things 🙂 I love them, they doing an amazing job. Others we had doing some work were not so good, others were pickier than me 😉

Then there was TM Lewin. They needed some pushing, a VERY long email from me, and then they responded. They asked me for the receipt to identify and blame the staff that served me, yet the issues I addressed were not only the way I was treated, but really about the way they handle their staff, shop and business as well as clients in general. Maybe they didn’t appreciate my feedback, despite they said they did. Yet I decided to walk away from a further dispute, some companies just don’t care or don’t want to care. My next lot of shirts will be bought elsewhere.

If you think this is all in the last four weeks, think again. Apple of all companies sold me a faulty computer. Can you imagine? But the way they dealt with it was amazing. Based on the in-shop Genius team’s feedback, the online shop, where I bought my refurbished MacBook Air, replaced this one outside their normal time frame. And when waiting at the shop they kept me informed every step of the way, were friendly and helpful. Now that is what I call superb customer experience.

complaining

As I sit on the train writing this, I remember endless conversations with Southerntrain, or being stuck without communication. It is the same as being on a plane, when you circle for hours and the captain doesn’t tell you why, you get worried and annoyed. Happened before!

And before I post this post, just waiting for the official email from Apple when they dispatch my new machine, I opened a birthday present from my wife. A new Christopher Ward watch. It ain’t working though. Wow. Of course they will return it, send out a new one and all, they apologised and all, but WTF is going on?

Bad karma? Things happening in 3 (that is product not customer service) or just bad luck?

So key about any good customer service is:

– Clear communication: good listening, good understanding and keeping you informed every step of the way.
– Resolution: acceptable solution that makes client happy. This doesn’t always have to be money.
– Follow up: Are you still happy? Did we keep you informed every step of the way?
– Be friendly.

And if you tick all those boxes, you are on a winning street.

Good luck. I seem to need it!

Volker

Lufthansa

Oh dear. I suppose you are not surprised to find a blog post about my recent experience with Lufthansa here. Instead of writing a complaint letter, I am writing this blog post of which I will send a link to the Lufthansa service team.

The story. After 5 hours sleep we woke up to get ready to go to Gatwick airport to catch a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt. We woke up the boys, 3 years and 18 months, and made it to the airport for 8 am. Tired and with heavy bags.

Given my recent back problems this was pushing it and as you see later, if I had known what day was ahead of us, I had asked for someone to carry my luggage. So I also blame Lufthansa for my continuous back pain. But never mind, no way of proving it.

At Gatwick we were informed about a strike. Lufthansa was on strike. I had no idea. Nor did anyone email, call or text us. A friendly lady advised us that we would get some vouchers, a ticket for the bus to London Heathrow, and that we are booked on the next flight to Frankfurt with Lufthansa.

We complied as we had a wedding to attend. We had ordered kilts, kilt accessories, and the whole lovely outfit for the boys for this special day. Family and friends were looking forward to meet the Scottish family, the three men in kilts. I was proud and excited.

After a bus journey which was fun for the boys but dangerous since buses do not have child seats and our boys are far too small for booster seats, we arrived at Heathrow. Lufthansa put us in the wrong queue which we found out in time to save about 45 minutes. A friendly check in, an almost free meal and we had an hour left to board the plane….so we thought.

Our friends in Germany called and said we were delayed. No word at Heathrow. It seemed as if Lufthansa kept us in the dark but made information available online and in Germany. Further delays caused me to ask at the help desk how long it would take.

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Lufthansa totally understood, they said: travelling with children? Wife and you at breaking point? Only oldest boy allowed in play area (open for 2-8 year olds), affected by strike action, tired and at airports for 5 solid hours. Lufthansa booked us on a plane that was supposed to leave 5 minutes earlier than our delayed one. How nice I thought…

Whilst walking away from the Lufthansa service desk our delayed flight got cancelled. I thought that I at least saved to queue for changing the flight now. But will my new flight actually leave? Will Lufthansa in Germany have more information and will Lufthansa in Heathrow withhold information again?

Maybe I check? No one at Lufthansa in Heathrow was helpful. Best Lufthansa could do was a high rate German phone number they suggested I call from my UK mobile. Seriously? All you can do? No information, no caring, no love. We later called that number from a German landline and hang up after 30 minutes at 14 ct/ minute rate. Assuming this line had been busy on Friday it might have cost me a little fortune to call. So I am glad I didn’t.

When, at the end of my willpower to fly anywhere, I asked at the desk whether our flight will go today, they announce the gate. We got on first. The boys were asleep before take off (almost), very exhausted. I couldn’t sleep. We were advised there was limited food on board. I was starving. To cut it short: we landed in Frankfurt, asked the Lufthansa stewardess whether the buggy will be brought to the plane and they said yes.

I guess at that point I should have known to not listen to Lufthansa anymore. We waited 25 minutes to find out that the buggy would be delivered to the carousel. And as I found out much later, to one for extra sized luggage pieces. So we waited at the baggage reclaim for nothing. And this was literal, as our bag never turned up.

The lady we filed the claim with told us that up to 90% the bag should arrive that night. She offered to drive it to where we stayed as she lived close by. It never came that night. We went shopping that night for nappies, underwear and deodorant, toothbrushes and hygiene articles. We got our medication, contact lenses, new cloths for the boys, iPad charger, new dress for the wife etc. etc. the next day. We spend 660 Euros in 2 hours (or the wife did to be precise).

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The case never turned up until Sunday night. Many phone calls, attempted calls, being on hold, arguing with a stressed Mr. Stratmann, until I spoke to a very nice lady. I spoke to her twice on the phone, clarified things and had my case back. Lufthansa delivered the case at the end. With a taxi. Straight to the door.

A day late for celebrating the wedding in style.
A day late for handing over the wedding gift.
A day late for the presents we brought.

Never mind. We got there at the end. When checking in for our flight back with Lufthansa they checked our bag and it was 27 kg. They almost wouldn’t allow us on. I offered to buy another bag and get Lufthansa to pay for it. I couldn’t care less. They got us into the trouble. Their fault.

We got 485 Euros reimbursed. So we can’t complain too much as this is reasonable for the cloths we got. Still we would have never spent that money in the first place. Others couldn’t afford to. Luckily my kilt was in the hand luggage. Imagine finding a kilt maker in Frankfurt on a Saturday morning.

The flight home was pleasant. Colin and I looked into the cock pit, we had a friendly and good service, got our buggy and luggage and made it home. Exhausted. Drained.

Unnecessary evil. Maybe this could have happened with any airline. However, only with Lufthansa I had bad experiences in the past 3 years. And I fly almost weekly across Europe. Only at Lufthansa I applied 3 times to their miles and more programme and never heard back. Only at Lufthansa I get the impression they don’t really care.

This is my personal opinion. It leaves a bitter taste.

If in doubt or given the choice I would prefer other airlines. Solely based on this weekend. Plus past experiences. But those had been forgotten when I booked these flights. And this experience will fade also.

Safe travels,

Volker

Ocado @ocadouk

I was sold to Ocado. The ex investment bankers that gave up their job to improve the world. Right….

It says on their website:

“We believe that you should be able to enjoy first-class service without having to pay more for your shopping.

[…] the same outstanding quality, range of choice and service you’d expect in your favourite supermarket.

We bend over backwards to make our service extra-special, and you’ll quickly spot lots of thoughtful touches, like colour-coded delivery bags, text message delivery reminders and drivers that bring your shopping right to your kitchen table.”

Now we started shopping with Ocado about 8 weeks ago. Once I complained about the freshness but I believe I was wrong. Happens. One of our first deliveries was late but the driver called saying he will be there shortly. I was impressed. From the first moment I dealt with Ocado, things seem to be right. I got an i-calendar invite, so my delivery slot was added straight to my calendar.

About 2 weeks ago we didn’t get all the ordered articles. I tried phoning their hotline but no one answered. I tried a different number and it was dead. My subsequent email explaining we didn’t get two items and I would like to have a call was ignored. Not the items, e.g. I got a refund, but that I wanted to speak to someone.

Now, being a great social media geek, I thought I go on Twitter – no response. Not even when I re-tweeted other people that were unhappy.

One off, things happen. Or do they?

Last night our delivery was due between 8 and 9 pm. No call, no text message, no email. So at 9:15 I called the customer service. The line dropped 3 times until I got through. A lovely chap said very apologetic “the driver should have called you”. The driver then said “sorry, someone should have told you”.

Now that doesn’t help. You arrange diner and baby duties around your delivery time. It is Friday night and you don’t want to wait up for your shopping.

They could clearly track the van from the customer service line but they couldn’t let customers know they are running an hour late? Why not sending everyone a text message every twenty minutes once the delivery slot has passed to make people aware. Nothing like waiting for your groceries, particularly if you had diner guests (which I luckily didn’t).

I was hoping for an apology, or a follow up this morning. But nothing. I went on Twitter instead:

You can do your own search on Twitter for “ocadouk”. Or just “ocado” if you like. For a company that “bends backwards” and excels in customer service, there is no reply, word or statement on Twitter. Only mention is the bike ride some members do this weekend…

My wish is that from now on I get what I pay for: a company that let’s you know if they are running late and have all the groceries you ask for.

We are all human, we all make mistakes. But if I go out to the public with a bold statement that I deliver best customer service, and then I don’t, that is bad. Ignoring customer comments, probably just adds to it.

DM me if you like. I am not having much capacity at the moment, but maybe I should run a workshop on social media and customer service with you guys 😉

Looking forward to a comment or call. Whichever you like!

See you next week, hopefully in time with all the food 🙂

Volvo Doves Croydon

Now, as you know we recently bought a new car, a Volvo XC90. However, it turned out to be a few things wrong with the dealership Volvo Doves Croydon which sold me the car. They, above all, lied to me. Whilst I could expect that from a second hand sales person for any cars, and you almost think car sales people are dubious, it just doesn’t match with a Volvo car dealer, particularly as Volvo Doves Croydon came highly recommended from a friend. My dad drives Volvos for a long time, and I thought by me entering the Volvo market by buying an XC90 with 33, they would appreciate my custom somewhat. Far from it.

Below is the story told in a letter which at the end, since Doves Croydon resolved the issue, I never sent to the Head of Customer Services Volvo UK, or to the dealership.

Maybe I just didn’t send it because just typing it and putting it on my blog was enough for me to get rid off it in my system. Maybe that was all I needed. Maybe silly, but it just gives you another point of view for customer service and brand understanding.

Letter I never sent:

Dear Mr. Keaney,

Let me introduce myself. My name is Volker Ballueder, currently 33 years old, and I grew up with my father driving Volvos since I was about 15 years old. And, honestly, I never thought I would or would even consider driving one myself.

Things changed and with a good offer from your dealership Volvo Doves Croydon, I recently purchased a used Volvo XC90. We reserved the car on a Wednesday, test drove it on a Saturday and were allowed to pick it up on the Thursday as it had to be checked out, cleaned and the MOT had to be done.

So on Friday, 12th of February, I picked up the Volvo. However, the first thing I noticed was that the MOT was from the 20th of January, and that the car inside hadn’t been cleaned. There weren’t any foot mats either which surprised me.

However, maybe I was spoiled from my previous experiences of buying used Volvos with my dad? I didn’t give it too much thought as I just purchased a lovely car. I didn’t want to argue about three weeks MOT, and buying own foot mats and giving it a proper clean myself shouldn’t bother me either.

There was little communication during the buying process from the side of the dealer. Sales person Jeff from Volvo Doves Croydon didn’t return calls or wasn’t available on agreed times when I went to the garage. Again, I didn’t give it much thought.

When I grew up, the Volvo car dealer my father used to buy Volvos from, always offered excellent customer service. Working in customer service and sales myself, I got a good idea on how to please customers by watching the Volvo dealer. They gave my dad Christmas presents, a bottle of champagne for buying a (used) car, helped when he needed a second car for a weekend, and just did these little favours for him whenever he had a question about his car. Cleaning a used car or adding new foot mats were small but nice little treats I learned to expect from a valued car dealer. That is what I associate with Volvo, a brand that represents good quality and safe cars for me, associated with outstanding customer service.

Now, you probably wonder where this is leading to? Exactly, whilst buying the Volvo XC 90 at Doves Croydon I was told I get a 12 months warranty and a 12 months RAC membership with the car. Instead I got a letter saying “as I didn’t purchase the vehicle, my warranty is cancelled”.

It took a few phone calls and it was explained to me that the car comes with a 3 months warranty, which after negotiation turned into a 12 month dealership warranty with break down cover. So, overall, nothing to complain about the car dealership anymore. Sales Manager Gerry of Doves Croydon was very helpful and arranged things for me.

So what is my concern then?

My disappointment doesn’t come from not having the warranty, and or the RAC membership set up. No, I was LIED to. The brand, and Volvo Doves Croydon represents the brand Volvo for me, has lied to me in the sales process about:

– MOT they had to do
– Warranty I would get
– Breakdown cover I would get

Now, I hope they didn’t lie about the car itself. Will my Volvo last as long as I think it will? Is the quality of the car as good as they said it would be? Can I trust them? Can I trust Volvo? These are the questions that come to my mind, as trust and brand image have been compromised if not destroyed by them. Any unfamiliar noise in the car is now a question of “did it get checked out properly?”, “is it working ok?”, “is there anything wrong with it?”.

I don’t need to tell a VP of Marketing and Sales what it means for a lifetime value of a customer at 33 to purchase his first Volvo. If I am a happy customer there is a chance, similar to my dad, that I become a brand advocate and buy Volvo cars for the next 40 years. Every 8 years, assuming an average price of £20,000, Volvo Doves Croydon is currently in the process of ruining £100,000 value for Volvo cars.

Mr. Keaney, having written this all, I am more than confident that you not only understand my issue, but will make sure that your dealerships will reflect the high standard I would assume a Volvo brand reserves.

My issues have been dealt with by Volvo Doves Croydon in a highly professional manner, so I don’t look for any more compensation or gifts. I just, as a Volvo advocate, needed to bring that to your attention.

Yours sincerely,
Volker Ballueder

business ideas – local services

Hello,

Instead of me moaning about the customer service of companies, I thought I come up with a few lines of great customer service or better business ideas to be implemented at some local services.

Our local pizza delivery service for instance. For the past 5 years I have been ordering my special pizza: ham, chicken, artichokes, mushrooms, black olives, extra garlic, extra cheese – thin crust. Almost every Friday, and at least once a month. If we estimate an average order volume of £20, estimate on average twice a months, that makes it 5 years of £480 orders, e.g. round about £2,000 I spent with them. Honestly, our combined order is usually past the £25 mark and more than twice a month 😉

Now, they are great, only made one mistake in all the years and replaced the pizza without extra pay. However, they regularly have offers on where you can save 20%, and you can only claim them during a certain time period, and if you have the leaflet. If you are a regular customer you normally don’t get the offers because you hardly check your leaflet or trash it as soon as it comes through the door. Hence you lose out on the special deals, because you already know what you want and don’t need a leaflet, don’t you?

My suggestion therefore is that they should create an account for each customer. If they had a website, they could automatically do that online, you set up your own account, your preferred pizza, and all you have to do is send a text message or an email or call with a reference number to place your order.

Of course this is not a new idea. And, my next suggestion, as you might have guessed, is to pass on the special offer they have on to regular customers automatically. Make them aware, e.g. deliver the pizza and say “Just to make you aware that we took 20% off your order today because we have a special you might not be aware of.” If you believe it or not, even in a small community like Beckenham, this could make the rounds. People will start talking about it, because people like to speak about their good (and you noticed also their bad) customer service experience. Get people talking and pass on the benefit is the bottom line.

Now, whilst we are on the topic: my local ironing shop.
They have offers on too. They have a website which does not work. So every week I call them to find out if I have to wash my shirts and they iron them or if they still have the special on for washing and ironing my shirt. With a simple newsletter, better a mobile text message service, they reach all their customers. Why not send a text message on a Thursday to all your registered users and tell them “Special this weekend, bring in 5 shirts to iron and get the washing free.” This or similar of course 🙂

Where I am going with that – of course cb consulting offers customer service trainings. But, at the moment my time is limited to provide any work. However, I would like people to start thinking as a business. That is my passion, I enjoy doing and running businesses and having ideas for them.

ROI – return on investment. Whilst it is not always about money, money is where it all comes down to. If you get an additional 20 people to order a pizza once a month with an order volume of £20, then this is £400 more in your bank, minus running costs of course. So, you don’t need to have a maths degree to work out how many extra pizzas you need to sell, or how many extra shirts you need to iron, in order to accumulate the costs of an easy to implement website, CRM software, or mobile marketing solution. It is easy and a no brainer to improve your service which ultimately improves the order value….which improves your profit.

Enough of a business lecture on a Thursday morning. Enjoy the rest of your week.

And, if you have too much money to spend, why not develop an iphone application like Pizza Hut did 😉

Vodafone got things right!

Now, not only was I asked to tell everyone, but I am more than happy to do so!

Vodafone called me late tonight and gave me the offer I wanted. The person I was in contact originally was out of office. Now my question is WHY?

But first, let me say that Thomas Rushton and his Webteam (Thanks Lee) kept their promise and put things right after I tweeted and blogged about it.

It still does not go into my head that
– A company makes it so difficult to change between contracts and that I could have created more work by canceling my (consumer) contract and then becoming a new (business) customer again.
– That I need to push on social media, e.g. Twitter, Blogging, Linkedin to get attention.

And, I don’t believe that the social media influence itself has caused them to think about it. At least I don’t hope it did, but that somewhere along the line the “customer (e.g. me) was king”.

I tried to think of an analogy (maybe not the best but it is almost 10 pm): My teddy bear from years ago: I love him, I nurture him, I want to keep him but he keeps disappearing, gets uncool, looses his fur and although I am certain that I should get rid of him, I am almost in “love” with him – hence I don’t abandon him. But one day, he starts talking to me and says “Volker, I have to leave you.” Would you not be devastated?

Not sure if it makes sense that I “love” a brand like Vodafone (and other brands). I told the guys that I am more than happy to outline a social media strategy for them. I never wanted to leave Vodafone but they seemed to wanted to get rid of me. Maybe they will tell me why no one took ownership of my case and sorted things out for good? Would that not have been better and easier for all of us?

Anyway, Ian Shepherd wanted to make me an advocate, and I am. Of course subject to the free blackberry arriving this Friday 🙂 Very excited.

I wrote to the Webteam, after sorting it, that I will blog positive about it. I also believe that it is essential for any brand to monitor the social media space and engage with the twitter community or with the bloggers. As an example when I mentioned O2 or Orange earlier, they should have engaged with me and offer me a contract, shouldn’t have they? I was saying I would go and join them instead. And Vodafone should get their voice out there too, engaging with me or others.

Just around 5 pm this afternoon, monitoring Twitter, I found Vodafone being mentioned almost once every minute. It is so essential for brands to monitor and engage. Engage with your customers where they are. Social Media. Offline. Mobile.

Ok, ok – before i go on and speak more about strategy, I should mention the post about “Don’t litter Twitter” by the guys from Jam. I think we should all have “freedom of speech” and should be allowed to say what we want.

If our followers drop/un-follow or if people don’t want to listen what we have to say – then that is ok. I don’t follow everyone back either. However, with brands it is different. They need to listen and get a more “personal” profile on the social media space in order to meet their customers on the same level.

Vodafone has sorted things this time, in future and I am confident they will engage with customers more in the future and think about their social media strategy. Happy to help you if you like!

Thanks again for sorting things out and getting things right. Whilst obviously being subjective, I think that was an objective way of putting things 🙂

Happy to keep everyone posted of the progress!

Can Vodafone win me back last minute?

I am sitting here and just do NOT understand.

You must by now got the message of what I think of Vodafone. I hate Vodafone’s customer service. I direct messaged with the director of customer service on Twitter until he unfollowed me, and emailed with his team and finally got moved to a business account. That was, after I had to sign another direct debit mandate and form, because the online form we discussed several times on the phone had suddenly disappeared.

Now, I am officially a business customer and can upgrade my account. However, the upgrade means I need to pay for a new phone rather than getting one for free. To get the latter, I need to cancel my contract, change to a pay as you talk contract, and then come back to Vodafone as a new business customer. Could that be the solution.

I tried. I really think I tried it all. Writing on Twitter, being friendly in emails, asking for nothing else but being transferred to be a Vodafone business customer for a better deal and a free phone, and then, when I thought everything is sorted, I get stabbed in the back. I have to pay for the handset, a whopping £280.

So I wrote them another email, asking to sort things out by close of play today but they didn’t. 4 hours seemed enough to react to a customer enquiry, one that is ongoing for several weeks.

Now, all I can do is wait or cancel. The problem is that I don’t really want to change providers but Vodafone does not leave me a choice. I have to leave a brand I like, a company I care about but their customer service is just so bad.

Go on Twitter and search for Vodafone and you find out how many people talk bad about them. Shame!

I guess it is GOODBYE Vodafone – and the iPhone at last? Or Orange? I keep you posted.

Vodafone has bad customer service

Yes, I am very much pissed off. I cannot say it in any other way but the first things I did this Friday after I got home is to sit down now, and write this post. And, I feel better once I have done it. I still cannot believe it…empty promises!

Ian Shepherd, Director Customer Service Vodafone, wanted to make me an advocate of the brand, “Understand. We are better than your experience has shown, and will fix the issues you’ve blogged. I’m determined we will earn your loyalty!” – that was a message on the 16th of July after I complained through Twitter and on my blog, see here about my rant about Vodafone’s bad customer service.

Thomas Rushton even commented, saying “customer feedback is important to us“. They seem to have the social media channels, but I am thinking, do they know how to use them? I am here to help, if you need any advice?

Anyhow, to cut a long story short. On the 11th of July I filled in a form online to transfer from a customer account to a business account. Just after my last complaint, I got confirmed that:
– It takes 30 days from the date I filled in the transfer form, to be transferred to a business account.
– I will have a choice of phones and get the same deal as any other NEW business customer.

Hurray I thought. But I was too early to celebrate. I was told that after 2 weeks I would get an email confirming that things go ahead. So earlier this week, I wrote the following email to the customer service team, the director complaint office:

“30th of July:
… Regarding the transfer, if I understood correctly, I would be contacted after 2 weeks that things are going as planned.

Since I put the transfer request in on the 11th of July, I would assume that that things go as planned and someone will contact me next week? Or was there anything I needed to do after 2 weeks? It is a long waiting.

Thanks for confirming.”

The response I got was:

“I’ve spoken to a manager in the Transfer of Ownership team today and they asked me to send you the form to fill in again and then to send it to xyz.abc@vodafone.com who is the manager of the Transfer team, and also copy in this email address.

Once XYZ has received this, we will push the process through for you to take place with you as soon as possible.”

Wait a second, what was I missing? They said that they have all information and don’t need anything from me, for things to take place. They even confirmed receiving my form I filled in online, on the 11th of July:

“Dear Mr Volker Ballueder
This is to confirm that you have accepted the terms and conditions, to transfer your mobile from this account. The unique reference number for this request is 1234, please quote this at all times when referring to the transfer. If the transfer is accepted by Vodafone mobile number 07812345678, along with any others entered on the form will be transferred from 1234/5 to Mr Volker Ballueder.
A notification of this request has been sent to the email address xyz@123.co.uk.
The next stage of the transfer is that will receive an email, to notify them that the transfer has been requested. They will then enter the details of the account that they would like the transferred number/s
to be added to. Once this request has been submitted you will be notified, and once the request has been approved by Vodafone you will notified of the date of transfer.”

Now, looking at all that I don’t understand where I would have gone wrong. If I am missing anything, then I am more than happy to apologise to Vodafone and the customer complaint team.

a) I confirmed, complained, called, emailed and got told that Vodafone has all data and I don’t need to submit anything more to them.
b) The customer service director said that he wants things to be right.
c) I politely check on the progress to make sure that I didn’t miss an email – which happens. Just checking, as I really don’t want to wait longer than 30 days.
d) I get a request to fill in the same form in a pdf version, fax or scan it, that I filled in online and got confirmation for.

A couple of questions:
a) Did Vodafone take me serious in the first place and looked properly into the files I submitted? Did they listen to me when I called and talked to them?
b) If so, why did that “faux-pas” happen?

I believe that I was just put down as another case, no one cross referenced what I was saying, e.g. that I had problems with the date of birth on the online form, or that I am happy to not send more information because they confirmed they had everything from me.

After I tweeted excessively this afternoon, I got a call that they look into my case and from receiving my forms it takes 30 days for the transfer to take place.

I told them, quite frankly, that they really seem to want to piss me off – at least that is my impression. And, they seem to not care. And, I told them that I was told that it takes 30 days from filling in the form, e.g. 11th of July, to get transferred.

You can be sure that if I don’t have the deal I want, then I am going to go somewhere else. Just hope I can cancel my contract, the consumer one, which runs out the end of August. The only reason why I haven’t canceled yet is that Vodafone still has the best reception in the Scottish Highlands and my friends and my family are with Vodafone. If it happens that I change, this will surely have a ripple effect with my friends.

What was I offered: £25 for a 24 months plan, 500 minutes, 250 text, unlimited calls to UK landlines, unlimited email, 500 MB data, free phone…..and they had an offer that got me the first 3 months free of charge. The latter is not even the issue but would be nice to get an extra or special for all the hassle I had.

Ian Shepherd says he stays on the team to get it fixed. Thank you for your involvement, but I really question a company that need involvement from the top to sort out a simple transfer. Where are the good old days when the customer was king?

All I wanted is a smooth transfer. The alternative had been to cancel my contract to the end of August, transfer it to a “pay as you go” and then go to a shop and get a great deal. Why haven’t I done it? Because I thought I could trust a company like Vodafone.

Will they ever get my trust back? Will I ever be an advocate for a such a big brand?

Not to worry, I keep you posted. Follow me on twitter too!
An update was promised on Monday between 12 and 4 pm.

Have a good weekend.

Vodafone Customer Service

I wrote about my “unhappiness” with Vodafone before. However, this time it is different.

When I found out that my new work does not supply me with a blackberry, I decided to get one myself. I was thinking about it anyway and went to Vodafone as my contract is about to run out the end of August. In store they told me that I could not get a business contract, which includes the 24 hour phone replacement service and free land line calls as well as the free Blackberry, whilst having a customer account. Therefore, they suggested that I should cancel my contract to a “pay as you talk” and then come back to the store and take out a business account.

Of course I wasn’t happy with the solution and contacted their online and telephone team and got various answers. Whilst the telephone team sent me a very complicated transfer form, the online team sent me a link for an easy form to transfer my phone number and contract to a business account. However, that form had a usability issue which didn’t let me fill in my correct birth date, e.g. the days only went from 1 to 28.

Now, as I wanted things to go smoothly, I called them up and explained but no one seemed to bother. I then got the answer of

Hello Volkar,
I understand from your email that you want us to inform transfer team to correct you date of birth to 30/4/1977.
Volkar, you need to contact new connection team 08080741741 in order to correct you date of birth to 30/4/1977.
I trust I have done the needful.

Firstly, they couldn’t even address their customer with the correct name which I pointed out but still didn’t get an apology. Then, even for me as a foreigner, the English just doesn’t sound correct! And, lastly, the number wasn’t free. So because Vodafone could not get a form that allows me to do the correct thing, I had to pay money to get things sorted? I don’t think so. They then complied of me sending in a driving licence and again I refused being a customer for many years, they should surely know my birthday by now, shouldn’t they?

I spent another hour on the phone to the customer service, often ending up in a dead end, e.g. “yes, we are happy to put you through to the business account service team, enter your number.” But as my number hasn’t been recognised as a business number, I was thrown out of the line. That happened repetitively and I got so fed up that I went on Twitter!

That is where the whole “fun” started. No one but ex-Virgin and BT seemed to pick up on me complaining about Vodafone. I would have loved to take on the offer from BT who kindly send me a nice reply on how to become a BT Business Customer. BT’s customer service really improved! They are doing a great job of monitoring and engaging with their clients on social media sites, such as Twitter.

A friend finally pointed me in the direction of the Vodafone Directors Office on Twitter, Ian Sheperd. He and his team were great and engaged with me on the level I approached them: Social Media site Twitter! I got a call the very same day of approaching him that my account will be transferred within 30 days, I will get my free Blackberry, and that I don’t need to re-send any proof of my birth date.

Even the next day I got another call from his team, apologising for the poor experience and Ian said that he is determined to make me an advocate for Vodafone. But will I?

First of all it depends on how they deal with my account transfer. If by mid August I will have a blackberry and the contract and everything sorted the way I want, then I am more than happy to speak out for Vodafone. However, I truly believe they need to improve their customer service, not only customer service on Twitter.

For big brands it gets more important than ever to engage with their clients where they are. They need to be on social media sites such as Twitter and find out if anyone speaks about their brand. And, if the experience like in my case is poor, they need to engage with me, and make me an advocate there and then. However, the process Ian went through was quite lengthy and I am sure he shouldn’t be the one that is dealing with complaints, then again I am glad he did in my case.

As you might have noticed by now, I am very passionate about two things: Social Media and Customer Service. The latter is very important for anyone from my local ironing shop to brands like Vodafone. But the combination of both become more and more powerful. All Social Media does is to engage with the audience and clients where they are. If that is Twitter, YouTube or through games or communities does not matter. But Social Media is a channel brands can no longer ignore.

Ian, thanks again for your help and I hope we can sort out my account and you turn me into an advocate for Vodafone. Also, if you have questions about how Vodafone can embrace Social Media, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am more than happy to present you with some exciting ideas! You got my number 😉

…to be continued…

BT (British Telecom) – customer service

I keep getting into the habit of writing about customer service. Particularly in relationship with Twitter.

Also, I have a love-hate relationship with BT (British Telecom). About 2 1/2 years ago when we moved into a new flat they drove me nuts. It took me a week to convince their help desk that they don’t need to do a line check every time I call and that there is a problem with the exchange. They eventually agreed to send out an engineer and fixed the problem after 10 days. I got so mad at them that I wrote a letter to the CEO which resulted in the head of customer service apologizing about the incident, and me getting 3 months free broadband as a compensation.

Now, why am I still with BT? Two reasons. One is that my wife likes to keep the land line number. Secondly, it is convenient to have them as they have a good connection, e.g. I hardly ever in the last 5 years had problems connecting to the internet. I believe 2 times in 5 years. That is a very good track record.

After the incident 2 1/2 years ago I decided not to sign for another 12 months in case I want to swap to Virgin for their quicker glass fibre optic broadband. But then I did sign another 12 months just recently because I thought I never going to change to another provider and they offered me some savings 🙂 I fell for the old sales trick!

What I noticed lately, particularly reading about BT’s throttling broadband speed. Of course they speak about doubling the speed and introducing glass fibre optic technology too. Anyhow, because we have such a slow speed, e.g. we signed up for up to 8 mb/s, and only receive around 3 mb/s, I complained to them and tweeted about it and said that I am not happy with the slow speed but surprised, due to previous experience, about their speedy response. After my complain via email I had a technician on the phone within 2 hours! And he unfortunately admitted that if it is slower than 2.5 mb/s I should call them. However, that is not the reason I signed up for 8 mb/s but I know there is no way to argue about it. Maybe Virgin after all?

BT thread1

Above the replies from Twitter. BT started following me, commenting and offering more help and support. I find that very good and very essential. Actually, this is what the post is about.

Any good brand nowadays needs to adopt to search/social media to follow up what is said about their brand online. With BT for instance, you need to monitor “BT” on Twitter. Go to the search function and search for BT, you will quickly see how much work they have to do and how many people write about “BT” not meaning the company.

Just thought this is a great case study on how well BT is doing, or brands in general, in adopting social media and monitoring as well as engaging with clients. It is more and more essential for brands to engage with clients where they are.