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…