Friday, 14 October 2011

Appalling Customer Service and Communications from Vodafone UK

I am a upgrading Vodafone UK customer who pre-ordered the iphone 4s (64G White) on Friday Oct 7th.  When I called to place the pre order, because the online system was not working, the upgrade rep had very little information about the phone itself or tarriff options.  He couldn't even answer some basic questions around the data test drive program which they have plastered all over their website as this great new option for new contracts.  Despite this I completed my order with him and was told I would recieve and email shortly with the order confirmation.  By Monday, the 10th I had still not received an email confirming my order so I called back to check that there was no issue around my pre-order.  I was told by the representative on the upgrade team that although there was a note on my account about placing a pre-order no actual order had been processed.  (What does that mean?) I had to place the order again and when I asked if this would move me further down the distribution/dispatch list due to the error on Vodafone's part with processing my order he said absolutely not.  He was going to place a "note" on my account about the situation and that the distribution was not done on a first come first serve basis but rather geographic spread on where the orders where going.  I recieved my order processing and confirmation emails later that same day.  (Should I have sent them a "note" of thanks?)
On Wednesday I had received confirmation of my new tarrif and a statement that the billing for my new contract had begun immediately.  I called customer service again to ask why I was being billed for a new contract when I had not yet received my phone, the gentleman I spoke to explained that my bill would be adjusted in my next billing period and I would only be paying for the new contract rates from the date of my delivery of the new phone.  He again offered to place a "note" on my account that he had confirmed this information so I would not have an issue later if there was a mix up.  (They're clearly very big on these "notes")
I called customer service again yesterday (Oct 13th) since I had seen in the Vodafone UK discussion forums that people had already begun receiving SMS and email messages confirming delivery and tracking numbers and I had not yet received anything from Vodafone regarding delivery of my  new iphone.  They said that I would be recieving my dispatch confirmation today (Oct 14th) and they could not provide me any further information on delivery.  When I brought up the situation with my pre order being delayed due to Vodafone's error (not mine!) they said they could see the note but that  there was nothing they could do about that and that the phones were being distributed on a first come first serve basis.  (So much for the official "Note" policy/process) They will unwilling to make any concession on this even though the realized they had been the ones who delayed my order.  I asked to speak to a manager who very rudely told me that he would register my complaint but that "nobody" at vodafone had access to information regarding when I would receive my new phone. (Fascinating...)
This morning (Oct 14th) after checking my email I had still not received any confirmation or dispatch notification.  So I called customer services (again, I think I've talked to them more this week than I have my family and friends...) to enquire about the status of my delivery.  After keeping me on hold for over an hour they connected me to the wharehouse where I was again told they could not provide me any information on when my new iphone would be delivered, but I would certainly not be getting it today.  I again asked to speak to a supervisor and was told "they're too busy to talk to you, I'll register you for a 24 hr call back and now I'm terminating the call" the women then hung up on me before I could comment any further. 
In reading through the Vodafone UK discussion forums today  I see that new customers who ordered their phones as late as Tueday and  Wednesday evening  have already recieved their phones.  I cannot understand the order fullfilment process and prioritization.  Why on earth would new customers recieve phones when existing customers are still waiting?  How is it possible that they cannot give me any indication on when I can expect my phone to be delivered?  This lack of communication and poor customer service is really appalling and  worse yet to have been hung up on after waiting for over an hour to speak to someone is beyond the pale.  I am seriously considering raising a formal complaint through my local counsil and investigating further options to bring this poor treatment to light though any formal channels available to me.  It seems like everyone who calls customer service is given a similar run around.  This is not the way to treat loyal customers especially when there are other providers offering the same services for sometimes cheaper rates.  Vodafone boasts exceptional customer service and call coverage on their website.  So far my experience has been very poor customer service and average call coverage.  If you are thinking about joining Vodafone, I would strongly suggest you think again unless you enjoy being treated badly and dealing with a less than prepared team in answering the most basic of questions. 
One finale "note" am I dying to get my new phone? Not really, that's kind of not the point.  I would just like to work with a company who is professional enough to offer the basic information on when I will be receiving the items I have ordered (and am apparently already paying for) and not be treated like a lobotomized monkey when asking for confirmation on the status of my account.