My mobile tariff with 3 was great for personal use, but I needed a different one for business purposes (more UK minutes, international calls, etc.). I did a research and decided to go for a monthly contract with Vodafone UK.
Interaction #1 (in-store)
Popped into a store and asked to buy a SIM card with a monthly contract. Apparently the system (Siebel CRM) was down so they were not able to give me what I wanted. Sold me a SIM card with a PAYG tariff, and asked me to return the next day.
Interaction #2 (in-store)
I returned to the same shop the next day. The system was already up and running but apparently didn’t allow the change from PAYG to monthly contract. The staff member tried to do it over the phone. 30 min later, asked me to come back the next day.
Interaction #3 (in-store)
The third time I went to the shop, the system was able to transfer my PAYG to a monthly contract, but there was another problem: Apparently my address was blacklisted (the only issue here is that addresses are no longer blacklisted, people are).
I sticked with the PAYG for 2 weeks whilst I tried to resolve this issue. The truth was the signal was awful. It was coming and going whilst I was sitting in the same place. I was not able to do/receive calls, the ones I received were dropped many times and I was not able to send or receive emails.
Obviously I was not satisfied. Therefore I went to an O2 store to double check their tariffs. O2 had a monthly contract that was similar to Vodafone’s but cheaper. I went for it. Bought a SIM card and signed a contract, with no issues. I now needed a PAC code to transfer my number.
Interaction #4 (Web)
Went to Vodafone UK website trying to find how could I get a PAC code. There were articles in the Knowledge Base explaining how to get PAC codes from other providers, but nothing about how to get them from Vodafone UK. As I could not find an answer to my question, requested a chat session.
Interaction #5 (chat)
The chat was provided by LivePerson. It requested my name and number prior to the chat. When the chat session started the agent asked my name and number again. I could not resolve my issue as the agent could not find my number in the system and the help line (phone) was already closed.
Interaction #6 (phone)
The next day, at 10am (opening hour), I called the help line to request the PAC code. The call cost me £0.25. Whilst I was explaining to the agent what I needed – despite he should’ve know from my latest unresolved interaction – the call was dropped due to lack of signal.
Interaction #7 (chat)
At 10h30 I went to Vodafone UK website and requested a chat session. Nancy – the agent – picked up and asked me my name and number, as well as my reason for calling. Again?! Ok, I repeated why I was calling. Nancy said she could not resolve my issue and had to transfer me to another team.
Interaction #8 (chat)
20 min (!!) later another chat agent greeted me. It was Deborah that asked me “Can you bear with me for a few moments while I read through your previous chat and have a look at your account please?”. After a few minutes she asked me if I had a PAYG – Seriously?! Didn’t you just looked into my account?! – and said that the previous agent had transferred the chat session to the wrong department, so she was going to transfer me again.
Interaction #9 (chat)
A couple of minutes later another agent, Avinash, came up asking me “How may I help you today?” and “could you please give me your number?” Again?! I repeated everything one more time. He was not able to locate my account in the system and asked me “Do you have a white SIM?”. Yes, I do. “That’s why I can’t see your account, it must be on the new platform and I do not have access”. Avinash apologised on behalf of the previous agents and transferred me again saying “This time you are in safe hands” he said “your query will be resolved and they will have a full record of this chat to pick up where we left so that you don’t have to repeat yourself”.
Interaction #10 (chat)
Vijay was the name of the 4th agent of the day, who asked me “Hello, how may I help you today?”. Again?! Really?! But your colleague just said you would have a full record to pick up where we left so that I wouldn’t have to repeat myself again!! I repeated everything all over again. It was 11h40 – 1 hour and 10 minutes (!!) after the first chat session started – when Vijay gave me the PAC code I needed.
This was the worse Customer Experience I’ve ever had with a mobile communications provider. And believe me I had many in Portugal, France, Spain or UK, with many other providers. The hassle to get a PAC code, for example, is unbelievable and unacceptable.
Vodafone UK customer-facing Sales teams seem to have an out-of-date and inefficient system (Siebel CRM) in-store. And the Customer Service teams seem to have disjointed departments and siloed systems. Also, Vodafone UK clearly has disrupted channels.
Judging by this experience, Vodafone UK teams have a gigantic task in front of them to try to create a great Customer Experience in order to acquire/retain customers. It is something that can only be done with a big cultural change, a huge strategic shift and a smart investment in technology.
P.S. – After this I received an SMS request for a Survey. Obviously the ratings I gave were low. Last question asked “Can you tell us the reasons for your ratings?“. I just replied with the link to this post. Hope they come and read it.