Fun with Vodafone Customer Service?

Vodafone. One of the big players in the telephony/mobile phone/ISP etc. business. I read on their website that they ranked first in a survey rating customer satisfaction. I have never consciously become a customer of Vodafone. But when Vodafone bought Arcor a few years ago (of which I was a happy customer for many years), I suddenly was one.

Recently, I had a fault that required Vodafone’s customer service. Let me describe how this went:
(note that everything here happens in June 2013, if you must know):

Sunday 2nd of June, 21:55 – For the last few days (about a week), the internet connection has been acting up. Sometimes, it simply didn’t work. Resetting the modem helped here, so no big deal. This time, the reset didn’t help, but at that point I considered that the problem might heal itself until tomorrow.

Monday 3rd, 06:55 – Rising early, I decided to check internet connection – and found there still wasn’t one. I called Vodafone support (logging in via my phone #) and eplained the problem to someone. I explained how this problem had existed sporadically, and now exists permanently. He asked me to reset the modem and reinstall using a modem initialization code, which he sent to me via SMS, and promised to have someone look at it.

Monday 3rd, 12:54 – I received a SMS from Vodafone support asking me to contact them to do a line check. They supplied a phone number different from the standard one.

Monday 3rd, 19:34 – Returning home, I called the new Vodafone number. It asked me to log in with my phone #, then told me that phone # didn’t exist. I called the main hotline again and explained what had happened. They couldn’t explain it either, but told me they had conducted a basic line test and that completed ok, and promised I would get a reply within the next 48 hours.

Wednesday 5th, 20:10 – I called them again and reminded them about the promise about “the next 48 hours”. This guy was more realistic, as he told me they do it when they get to it, and that could be anything (although he assumed that “before end of the week” was plausible). He furthermore explained that they needed to narrow down the problem between “modem issue” (which I got from them) and “last mile issue” before they could proceed.

Friday 7th, 16:20 – Four days later, and I hadn’t seen any progress. I decided to call again. Their logon system had changed, not requiring me to login with my phone number – great! When I talked to the guy, he asked if I still called because of the “sporadic internet problems”. I told him that they were permanent and I had been without any access since Sunday evening, and they hadn’t done anything so far. He promised that a tech would call me within the day.

Friday 7th, 19:55 – A guy from a service company acting on Vodafone’s behalf called and wanted to schedule a date with a tech. After we had agreed on a date for the next Wednesday morning, he informed me that Vodafone had told me that they would charge me with that tech visit in case it turned out my modem was at fault. “???” I told him they had informed me all week that they would check if that was the case before scheduling the tech, and asked him under those circumstances to cancel the appointment and report back to Vodafone that they should get their job done finally.

Saturday 8th, 11:30 – I decided to have a new try with the service number that didn’t work on Monday. This time, it worked. I talked to a very helpful clerk who agreed to proceed as follows: Vodafone would send me a new modem to be swapped with my current one, and at the same time schedule a line check and failing that, send a tech. She also told me that this could only be started on Monday. Ah well…

Monday 10th, 12:55 – I received a SMS from Vodafone in which they told me they had resolved the issue and closed the ticket.

Monday 10th, 20:13 – Of course, they hadn’t resolved the issue. I decided to call again. This time, a guy informed me they had now successfully performed their mesaurements, ruled out the last mile as the culprit and had sent me the new modem. He also told me that they had accidently sent me two modems, and I should deny accepting the second one once I got it to avoid being charged for it.

Tuesday 11th, 09:10 – When leaving for work, I met the logistics guy delivering the modem. I accepted one, denied the other one and gave him my old modem.

Tuesday 11th, 23:37 – I had been without internet for quite some time so I really wasn’t in a hurry to get the new modem installed. Once I did, it ran withing minutes. Problem solved.

In Summary: I reported a fault. Vodafone had to conduct a line check and confirming that it worked, send me a new modem. If they had reacted in that way when I first informed them, I would have taken posession of the new modem a mere 26 hours after the fault was first reported, and I would have been a happy customer.

The reality looked different:

Day One: they failed to execute the line check because their support phone line system didn’t work. Also, the clerk recorded a wrong text describing the fault (which would only surface a few days later). Furthermore, someone gave me a promise he obviously couldn’t keep.

Day Five: Obviously, Vodafone hadn’t done anything for more than four days, for whichever reason. Then they decided to have someone send me a tech, but gave them the wrong information (or gave someone the wrong information).

Day Six: Finally, someone who seemed to know how to handle this!

Day Seven: Finally, they performed the check which was promised to me for more than one week to be conducted “immediately”.
Closing an issue ticket before the issue is confirmed as being resolved is bad business practice. As is sending customers things they didn’t order!

So, instead of simply doing what needed to be done, they lost a whole week, and during that week lied to me four times, sent something to me I didn’t order (or need), failed to properly type what I said into their ticket system and finally closed a ticket prematurely. All in a week’s work.

I can’t understand how Vodafone was able to win that magazine’s report to rank first in their satisfaction survey. Maybe they’re a big customer of that magazine?


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