I’ve been a pretty loyal Vodafone customer over the years but just now, the company is doing a good job of demonstrating that its various sales and customer service channels are not joined up – not at all. Omni-channel CRM? Vodafone seems either unable to implement the concept or unaware of it altogether.
This story actually begins with some great customer service. At renewal time, I made a list of what I wanted from my next contract and took the challenge into three phone stores one morning before heading off to some meetings.
The Vodafone store contacted me that afternoon with an offer. The other two stores took much longer. That very day, March 10, I went back to the store and sat with two helpful assistants who walked me through some options.
I left that store happy. I had renewed three mobiles and paid for the new handsets. In addition, on their advice, I had taken out two new data-only SIM contracts which could share my much larger monthly data bundle. The existing Vodafone SIM in my iPad was removed and replaced with one of the new data SIMs, with the other one going into a new MiFi device so my laptop could connect independently. I now had five accounts not four, and was paying a larger monthly fee, but I was happy with the deal and the service.
I wrote an email of thanks to the store team, and gave them full marks in the Vodafone text survey. Then I got my April phone bill and found I was still being charged for the iPad SIM the store had removed and replaced with a different one.
I contacted and visited the same helpful store staff, who said this was a mistake and they would get it corrected. I believe they have tried many times. Nevertheless, the May bill arrived with the same six-number charge. I wrote to the support service online. I spent a long time on a customer service helpline and then on a business one. I took to Twitter. At every turn I had to go through the story from the beginning. Surely I said, you can see this on your screens against my account.
Finally, last week, the social media team emailed me to say they had sorted the problem and the May bill had been credited to remove the charge. However, I would have to pay for April as “usage was made that month”. Apparently, in April, I used the SIM that the store staff removed on March 10 and threw away. I have naturally pointed this out, again.
Meanwhile, at the weekend, I received the final evidence that proves Vodafone is failing the omni-channel CRM test. It’s the standard disconnect letter – would I like to reconsider they ask? After all, they have some very attractive offers and might be able to save me some money if I stay with Vodafone. Really? I haven’t left Vodafone! Did nothing flag in the system to say – don’t send that letter to that customer.
A true omni-channel CRM system would allow Vodafone to associate my store presence, with my business account enquiry, with all my live account numbers, and with my social media profile. And it would remove the need to have to keep going through the same story. Sadly, Vodafone’s current system is clearly not up to the task.