Saturday, March 13, 2010

Share Investor Rant: Vodafone VS 2 Degrees

"Push 0 to speak to an operator please...push 1 to confirm that you want to speak to an operator.

This is just one message one gets when one calls Vodafone New Zealand. That is, after waiting through minutes of press this button if you want to talk to Abdul from accounts or stand on a chair with your arms in the air to speak to Zagrib from the "help desk".

If you are lucky one might get an operator whose first language is English, if you get connected to the right person or don't get cut off first. If you get your problem sorted out you would be as lucky and happy as some sort of pig in high quality mud but rarely does this ever happen.

"Someone will call you back" is a typical answer to your problem but rarely do they call you back and if they do you usually end up speaking to the knuckle dragger you first spoke to 30 minutes before, when you were still a human being and not some crazed homicidal maniac pushed to despair by Ranjeet in a smelly call center in outer Delhi somewhere.

I don't know why I have been with Vodafone so long, they have treated me like a smelly turd since joining them (they were OK when I first went with them 5 long years ago) after I ditched the hapless Telecom NZ [TEL.NZ] Mobile.

A long list of crimes (some of them absolute clangers) against the customer over the years finally led me to the novel notion that I really should think about giving Vodafone the big middle finger (like they have to me) and look for another mobile provider.

The clincher was a few days ago when I wondered to my good self why I wasn't getting a paper account.

Apparently they decided that customers didn't need them and they were binned 4 months ago.

That is sort of OK but when I called them to ask for paper copies to check their billing they told me they would charge $5 a statement (funny I didn't get a discount of $5 per month for NOT getting a paper account) and I said (with eyebrows arched for emphasis) that wasn't acceptable to me.

At the same time I wanted to provide them with a new credit card number so I could pay my account regularly, after asking two weeks ago for the correct (paper) form so I could do so, only to be told by the knuckle dragger a few days ago that we don't provide paper versions, only electronic ones. Didn't get either one even though they said they sent them.

Last time I had to change my credit card number it took a year (I kid you not - and yes I stayed with them, so more fool me) to sort it out.

Going back to a few days ago I asked to speak to a "supervisor" and she was worse than the first line of attack and then I asked to speak to her boss.

"This is the end of the line for you Mr Rickard, I cant let you do that, my bosses do not accept calls from customers."

A little voice in my head repeated "This is the end of the line Mr Rickard..."

It was, I have signed up with 2 Degrees Mobile, it was easy, quick, funny (in a good way) and it is cheaper to boot.

"Please press 0 to speak to a real person...this call maybe recorded so we can make the next one even better..."

That message is from 2 Degrees and you don't even have to wait!

Customer service in this country is bad with a capital S for Shite and the worst part of it is that people like me don't do anything about it. We sit back like sheep and take it well and truly up the bottom.

I recommend if you are getting poor service to bloody do something about it.

You might feel much better, like I do.

You might think that Vodafone would learn from their own history. As the mobile minnow back in the 1990s to Telecom's service, everyone thought they didn't have a chance. With superior service (yes the dreaded "s" word) Vodafone managed to claw the number one place in mobile in New Zealand. Now their feeble attempts at service will have the opposite effect in time and good companies like 2 Degrees are going to be there to take up the slack.

Footnote: On Saturday I received a credit card form in the mail. Nice touch but I called Vodafone Saturday morning to officially say good-buy.

Footnote 2 : I have received an account every month from Vodafone since April and I am no longer a customer - I apparently owe them $14.59 but they wont discuss what it is for so I wont pay it!! I have spent less than $40 with 2 Degrees since switching vs $300 it would have with Vodafone. 20/7/2010

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c Share Investor 2010