We interrupt the scheduled programming to bring you a Whatley on Friday exclusive!
– – –
So – Those of you who follow me on Jaiku or on twitter may have seen this message appear late last night:
“N95 – kaput :(“
What follows is an account of two hours of my life from the early evening of last night (Thursday).
Vodafone have pissed me off. Their insurance company more so – they are CLEARLY a 3rd party with nothing to do with Vodafone and as such, let them down on an almost spectacular level.
That aside – VF’s CS has seen better days.
If this issue is not resolved by the weekend, I am off to 3.
You heard it here first.
So – What happened?
Well, over the past few weeks the N95 has taken a bit of a beating it’s, how we say in the UK, ‘been in the wars a bit’. I’ve dropped it left, right and centre and even tossed it here and there too.
Note – it was camera tossing – see here.
Anyway – The phone has been fine. I went to a meeting yesterday afternoon, switched the phone off. All fine. I leave the meeting. Switch the phone on. All fine. I get to the station and, whilst waiting for my train, I decide to check the timetable. This is not possible. Not properly anyway. Because, every time I clicked one of the right sided centre keys, the screen went blank. Bugger.
Train arrives. I get on. I test it again. Same thing; Right centre keys make the screen go blank. Left centre keys bring it back. Bugger it.
I’m just off into town for a couple of drinks with the lass and all of a sudden I have no phone. Damn.
What next? I do what any other Vodafone-loving man would do, I call Vodafone.
Here I have to pause. Here for a second, if merely for sheer dramatic effect I must take a moment, and breathe…
I have waxed lyrical about Red’s amazing customer service before, quite a lot actually; online and off.
Thing is with GOOD customer service, you become used to it.
It becomes ‘the norm’.
Anything less than above average is, well,Â just average.
I make the call. Bear in mind that as a ‘card carrying member’ (remember?) of Vodafone’s Best Care program I have come to expect the following to happen:
“Hello Mr Whatley, how can I help you today?”
“Hello there, my phone is broken.”
“Ok Mr. Whatley, we can get a replacement out to you with 24hrs, where would you like it to be delivered?”
And. That. Is. It. Job done.
This is what I expected to happen. What I got was something COMPLETELY to the contrary.
CALL 1 (bodes well doesn’t it?)
“Hello Mr Whatley, how can I help you today?”
“Hello there, I wonder if you can help actually. It’s my phone. The screen really, it started to go off and on earlier and now… Well now it won’t even come on at all”
“And what phone do you have Mr Whatley? Says here you have the N95, is it the 8GB version?”
“No no, I’ve got an old school original N95.”
“Ok, and did you buy it from a store or over the phone?”
“Over the phone. I NEVER go in store.”
“Ok Mr Whatley, and what do you think may’ve the problem on the phone?”
“I’m not entirely sure to be honest, I do USE my phone. I mean REALLY use it. But I know I’ve definitely dropped it twice in the last two weeks.”
“Oh ok Mr Whatley, no problem. It sounds like you may have to make an insurance claim but that shouldn’t take a minute. Well I’ve just checked and it looks like we don’t actually have any N95s in stock anymore, but that’s ok. The insurance will just send you an 8GB instead, is that ok?”
Leaving aside my N95-1 preferences for a second…
“Oh.. er.. ok, can’t really complain! Yes, I guess that would be fine, thank you!”
“Ok Mr Whatley I’ll just put you through to the insurance department.”
“Thank you very much.”
HOLD MUSIC – BA BADADA BA BA BA DADA – BA BADADA BA BA BA DADA
“Hello you’re through to Vodafone In-sure-antz… *giggle* …”
Note – the giggling – the girl that I was put through to was clearly having some kind of joke on the other end of the line and was finding it hard to control her laughter. Hilarious.
“Before I go on… *giggle* …stop it… *giggle* …can I just tell.. *giggle* …can I just tell you that callsarerecordedfortraininperposeees…”Â *muffled laughter*
I’ve worked in a call centre myself. This happens. You just get the giggles sometimes.
However, I wasn’t in the mood.
I hung up and re-dialled 191,
I get through to the woman sitting next to the first woman I spoke to the first time round.
“Oh, sorry to hear what’s happened Mr Whatley, I’ll try and put you through again.”
“Hi Mr Whatley, I’ve explained all your details and told them what the situation is, I’ll just put you through now.”
“Hello you’re through to Vodafone In-sure-antz, can I take your name please?”
“Haven’t you got it? Ok. James Whatley.”
“And how can I help?”
“You mean you weren’t told?”
“You want to make a claim sir?”
“Yes. The screen on my N95. It’s broken. I need to get it replaced.”
“And when did it break sir?”
“As a result of what sir?”
“Well, I’ve dropped it recently.”
“A couple of times. RECENTLY.”
“Oh. So the screen was working today then sir?”
“Did you drop it today sir?”
“No, but I think it’s an issue of overall wear and tear if you will.”
“But you didn.t drop it today sir?”
“Well, no but…”
“Well then the screen failure can’t be down to you dropping it Sir… *sigh* …it’s a warrantee issue. I’ll pass you back to customer care.”
Turns out ‘pass you back to customer care’ is a euphemism for ‘hang up on you’.
If you’ve made it this far – thank you – I applaud your reading efforts. By this time I had travelled from Oxford to Paddington and I’m now at Paddington Station when I make call number 3.
“Hello there, I don’t have time to go through this again. I just want to complain about the poor standard of service that your insurance company provides. First they lack professionalism and second they show no real willingness to help and/or cooperate.”
“Of course Mr Whatley, what is the problem?”
I explain. THIS TIME ROUND I’m advised that I will have to take the phone IN STORE to have it examined.
“Look. I don’t have time to do this now. I called to complain. I need to get on the tube. I’ll call back later.”
By now I am seething. I get off the tube at London Waterloo and the lass is running a little late. I’ll try again. I think.
“Hello there, I’ve had a rough time with CS so far this evening. I understand this isn’t your fault so I won’t scream and shout. My N95. It’s broken.”
“Ok sir, which one do you have? The 4GB or the 8GB?”
“Which N95 do you have sir? The 4GB or the 8GB?”
“Er… There isn’t a 4GB N95.”
“Yes there is Sir, it’s ok, you’ve probably got the 8GB, the black one right sir?”
(this time in a slightly condescending kind of ‘it’s ok sir, you don’t know about your silly little broken phone’ voice)
“Look, I don’t have the 8GB version of the phone. I have the silver one.”
“NO! THERE IS NO 4GB N95! I work in the bloody industry and I know this phone inside and out and unless you’ve started shipping them with a 4GB MicroSD card as standard then it does not exist. The original N95, the silver one, the one IN MY HAND, comes with 160MB internal flash memory and 64MB RAM. Not 4GB.”
“I’m sorry sir but…”
“Look, let’s no split hairs. I know I’m right on this. It’s not why I called. I called because my phone is broken.”
“Yes Mr Whatley, says here you’ve been advised to take it in-store to have it examined?”
“Yes, that’s right. But that’s not good enough. I need a replacement as soon as.”
“That’s ok sir, if you hand it over in-store they will pop it in a jiffy bag, send it off to be repaired and it will be back within 7 days tops.”
NOTE – I’ve been here before – it NEVER takes seven days. THIS is why I stopped going in-store.
“I doubt that. Plus what am I to do without a phone?”
“They’ll have a phone you can borrow sir.”
“Have you ever had to borrow one from in-store before?”
“They have the Sharp device range sir.”
“Yes. I know. Horrid devices. They’re not nice. Listen. You don’t get it. I’m a mobile phone blogger. It’s what I do. Not having a decent handset in this business is quite frankly a ridiculous notion and I REALLY need to get this sorted ASAP!”
“Yes sir, if you take it in-store tomorrow I’m sure they’ll be able to…”
At this point I gave up. I am SO mad. The phone, FOR WHATEVER REASON, no longer works. Actually, that’s incorrect. The screen no longer works. The phone works fine. In fact, I know my N95 THAT WELL, I’m able to send texts and make calls in the dark.
Fortunately I am lucky enough to currently be in possession of a Nokia N82 (kindly supplied by those lovely folk at WOM World, this device however I have been using as my work phone. That reluctant was I to give up my N95 as my main device I opted to switch out the E61i for the duration of the loan period.
While I’ve been typing up this tirade I’ve been backing up/restoring/sync-ing each device to switch the N82 into my main device and the E61i back to my work device.
Incidentally – I’m not even touching upon the review of the N82 yet, or the amazing differences between the Nseries and the Eseries range of devices that I uncovered by making this switch – they can all wait for another post.
This post – THIS ONE THAT YOU’RE READING RIGHT NOW – is about how disappointed I am with Vodafone. You may call me fickle, but have a read of it again. See if you’d settle for this kind of ‘service’.
I am NOT a happy customer.
And do you know what makes it worse? It’s happened before – same problem(s)
This time though there has been no resolve.
The issue is still open.
I genuinely do not know what to do next. My instinct tells me to call VF again – To keep on keeping on. This issue has happened before and I got a replacement within 24hrs.
Why is it any different now?
Why is Vodafone’s customer service so inconsistent?
Why do they allow such a shoddy experience when it comes to their mobile insurance – which, by the way, I PAY EXTRA FOR!
If I don’t have a new N95 by the end of the weekend, or at least, on its way to me by the end of the weekend – as I said at the beginning of this post – I’m going to 3.
And I’ll tell every soul that I ever sold onto Vodafone that they made a mistake and that Vodafone don’t care about their customers, nor do they care for their (outsourced) insurance – that’s not worth the paper it is written on.
With that, I am spent. If you made it to the end, thanks.
If you’ve got a spare N95-1 lying around, let me know – I’m open to offers.
– – –