Thursday, 15 December 2011

Goodbye Vodafone

I have been a customer of Vodafone for almost 2 years and during this time there has been little interest or effort put into understanding if I was a happy customer. This is a common problem with big businesses - they lose the personal touch that the successful smaller businesses provide and finding new business is more important than keeping existing customers happy. The individual experience very quickly disappears into a statistic in a report appearing in some manager's email.

Prior to signing up for a 24 month contract with Vodafone I was with O2 for over 14 years. The reason I stayed with them for such a long period was because my experience wasn't plagued with frustration and dissatisfaction. The reason I wandered to another provider was purely because they didn't offer the handset I wanted at the time.

So what was it about Vodafone that was disappointing?
  • 3G coverage - its poor.I live and work in central london - within zone 2. I rarely use my phone for calling people in favour of texting and mostly Internet browsing capability. I don't really care for any statistics or maps indicating how excellent their coverage is. What really matters is when I'm out and about I have connectivity rather my battery being drained from my handset trying to connect.
  • 'Unlimited' Internet - it was labelled as such at the time. It was my first smart phone and I didn't really know what my monthly usage was going to be. Vodafone charged £5 for 500MB and the contract included 500MB for the month. This was generally enough on a quiet month when I wasn't doing much. Quiet months are usual for me. So this meant I spilled over 500MB often. When I was moving flat (before and after) when I didn't have Internet access at home I easily ended up using 2GB. For the amount of money I spent I was convinced I could get a better offer else where.
  • 24 months minimum contract was the only one that was available to me to get the phone for free. This is too long and is a bad mismatch with the frequency of new handsets reaching the market. During the 24 months I did resort to buying a new handset outright. Also the price plan I was on was quickly became expensive with other market offerings.
  • Website - unreliable and user unfriendly. This included java stack traces ofNull Pointer Exceptions in their web application. This does not make for a good user experience and just shows incompetence.
I had requested a PAC to pass to my new provider and  shortly afterwards a representative from Vodafone called me to try persuade me to stay with promise of lower monthly bills. It was a case of too little too late and I find it hard to justify continuing giving them my money. For those interested I moved over to giffgaff and I'll be summarising my experience so far in a future entry.

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