I’m now embarrassed to admit this but we have been a residential customer of Vodafone’s for the last 5or 6 years. During this time the only contact we have had with Vodafone is receiving and paying their monthly invoice that is until last week when I had a very simple query regarding our latest invoice. I rang their 0508 number on the invoice and waited 25 minutes before I had to run off to a meeting.
Who knows how long I would have had to wait. Being a persistent person I decided to try again when I returned to my office and again 20 minutes later , no answer, no leave a message option just some very ordinary music. I then decided I would try another option they gave out when I phoned the 0508 number. The result was I got hung up on twice. From a customer and professional perspective I starting to find this behaviour very interesting having not been treated this way as a customer for some time. I then called Vodafone’s corporate office and identified myself as a residential customer and the Managing Director of New Zealand’s leading customer experience company and asked to speak with a senior Manager.
I was put through to a manager and outlined my experience with the Vodafone call centre. The Manager was concerned with my treatment but not surprised and started to give me some back ground information which indicated to me that very little was going to change in regard to Vodafone customer service performance anytime soon. The Manager then sent my query to a person in Christchurch (which is where we live) and asked the person to call me and answer my questions. That call happened thirty minutes later. I outlined my query was assured he would get back with some answers and to date I have heard nothing. This organisation needs professional customer experience help but for some reason doesn’t realise it. So I started to do some investigation. In the latest Telco customer satisfaction survey both Vodafone and Spark did not rate very well. Based on my experience this has not and will not motivate them to get their act together. Unfortunately with cooperates there is only one way to get them to seriously focusing on their customers and their customer service performance and that is to ensure they start losing significant market share as a result of that performance. This means looking seriously at the many alternative Telco service provider options we have available to us. And this is the road we are going down at the moment. As customers we have one other powerful option available if we are not happy with a service provider and that is to share that experience with our friends including our social media connections. The days of treating customers the way we have been treated by Vodafone are over. Already I have shared this example with many of my professional friends to ensure they never let their attitude and complacency flow through into the culture of their organisations. This in my opinion is what’s happened to Vodafone. Please stay tuned as we continue to find another Telco provider hopefully one that would not think of treating us in this totally unsatisfactory manner. End • Chris Bell is managing director of Customer Experiences, a company that specialises in helping businesses improve the way in which they interact with customers and clients. He runs workshops throughout the country on Building Great Customer Experiences. www.customerexperiences.co.nz mb 0272792360