My faith has been tested…

…in what?
In the level of customer service from Vodafone UK.

(bit of a rant this one – bear with me)

Now… You may have your own opinions on VF (and their services) but for me personally, over the past ten years; having used Orange, o2 and 3 (never went near T-Mobile), I can honestly say that the level of customer service I’ve received from their agents has been second to none.

Customer service is something I believe in. It is paramount to any company which has any kind of customer-facing aspect. This through personal opinion but also from spending a good few years in the CS industry myself…

So. As you know my N95 died recently. The screen was kaput. No matter how much I took it apart and put it back together again…

…it was, for want of a better term, knackered.

What now? Well… Now I call Vodafone Customer Services…

(before I carry on – you guys need to understand that in the past whenever I’ve had any problem my handset VF have ensured that I have a replacement by the next working day. Good? Damn goo)d.

Ok… Are you sitting comfortably?
Then I’ll begin…
____________________________

06:04 – Our hero awakes to discover the screen on his N95 is flickering…

06:15 – N95 screen goes dead

06:201st Call to VF CS

“Hi there…”

The Dude explains the problem…

“Not a problem Mr Whatley, you are a highly valued customer, call back after 8am to speak to the right dept and we will get a replacement handset out to you first thing tomorrow…”
“Perfect, thank you very very much. VF CS are the best.”

All good….

…or so we thought!

08:342nd Call to VF CS

“Hello there!”

The Dude recounts the previous conversation…

“I’m dreadully sorry sir but we do not have any N95s in stock. We can either send you an envelope for you to send the phone back in for repair or you can take into a VF store who will send it off for you..

(after much to-ing and fro-ing)

“…Err, No. Thank you. I’d much rather wait until you have some in stock. The repair process takes weeks. I need a phone asap..”

Our hero ponders his predicament some more… what if he calls again?

08:573rd Call to VF CS

“Good morning!”

El Duderino once again explains the situation he has found himself in…

“I’m sorry Mr Whatley, we are unable to offer you a replacement handset as the N95 is not covered by our exchange policy..


“Pardon?!”


“I’m sorry Mr Whatley, we are unable to offer you a replacement handset as the N95 is not covered by our exchange policy..


“That’s not good enough, that’s completely different to everything else I’ve been told so far and I do need a phone sooner rather than later.


“Sorry Sir, you were misinformed. Your nearest store is in Slough…”


“Well, I am deeply disappointed with the level of service I have received today. Good bye.”

Surely this cannot be the end for the Dude of Whatley?! Surely he must be united with his phone soon?!

09:244th Call to VF CS

“Hello there, would you be able to put me through to your store in Slough please?”

“Of course Mr Whatley, just looking that up for you now. While I’m looking Sir, is there anything else I can assist you with today?”

“Ah yes, now that you mention it… How would I go about escalating a customer complaint? I’m slightly perturbed about the level of customer service I’ve received from you.. well.. not from You personally, but from the previous agents I’ve spoken with..”


“Well.. er.. yes. Of course sir, I am very sorry to hear that.. would you mind telling me the problem? I’ll make a note and make sure it gets passed to the relevant managers…

…the Dude does so, with gusto… ending with..

“…and of course I understand that none of this is your fault. I’m not screaming and shouting and I’m not a nasty customer. I’m just a nice man, who is a true evangelist of Vodafone, and ultimately VF’s CS, who needs a phone for his personal and professional life.”

“Well I’ll make sure that gets passed on Sir.. and if you hold the line for a second.. I’ll just speak to my manager…”

Holdeth the Dude.

“…Hello there Mr Whatley, we can get a replacement N95 out to you tomorrow.. is that ok with you Sir?”

_______________________________

Now. I MUST point out that CS agents Numbers 1 & 4 were both friendly and really helpful. The 4th one actually could not do enough for me… The 3rd one was my least favourite; she had made her mind up and was not about to try and help any more. Whereas the 2nd one just didn’t really know her stuff… Not her fault, just poor training/consistency.

THIS is the thing that annoys me the most. Yes all the CS staff have the same (if not then extremely similar) training and Yes there are rules and regulations that they must follow…
BUT I cannot help thinking that no matter what – when you get through – you are at the mercy of that particular agent…
i.e.: If that agent has had a shitty day, there’s a reasonably high chance that they’re not going to help you as much as they could.

I mentioned earlier that I have a history in the CS industry… the one thing that I learned from that was that if you scream and if you shout you will very rarely get what you want.
Be polite. State the facts. Do not blame the person who happens to have answered the call. It’s (probably) not their fault…
Which is exactly what I did come call 4. And, because of this, Call 4 delivered what I actually wanted from Call 1.
Another question I have to ask: “How many VF customers would’ve given up after Call 2?”

*shrug*

Anywhoo – as much as this demonstrates the holes that are within the VF CS staff it also demonstrates that you should persevere in the face of adversity! You are the customer and your money is valuable to the network operator.
As soon as they start taking your money for granted then you lose…

J.

PS – Incidentally – again, restoring my faith in VF – I posted the conversation part of this post on a mobile forum that I contribute to – within 24hrs a VF CS agent had logged into the forum and requested that I email the details into him so that it could be investigated further…. Even though the problem, as far as I was concerned, had been solved.

THAT demonstrates a keenness that I admire and as I said – has helped to restore my faith in the VF’s CS.
(which is the one thing that I shout about the most whenever I recommend a network to my friends)

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