Vodafone have had nothing short of a shocking few months. Network issues, Class action claims, a groundswell of support behind the #VodaFail label and concept, and just generally a whole stack of bad PR!

You’ve gotta feel for the people behind the scenes trying to make this better, a company the size of Vodafone doesn’t go off the rails in a heartbeat, it takes time to stuff things up – so, imagine having to try and work out firstly how to fix it, but then how to communicate that!

This morning, CEO Nigel Dews took the extraordinary step of posting a video message on a special site for customers – you can view it here:

http://www.vodafone.com.au/personal/aboutvodafone/customer-update/home/index.htm

click CONTINUE READING for More details and thoughts

Vodafone CEO Nigel Dews Video Address to Customers

Some of the key messages I heard in his video address.

  • Many have enjoyed reliable service, but others havent, particularly over the last few months
  • Issues experienced included dropped calls, delayed SMS and voicemail messages, slow data speeds and poor customer service response time
  • progress has been made, but many improvements are still coming

The message on their website is pretty clear:

We are truly sorry for this.

How did this happen? The short answer is that last year we were growing fast, and when some problems arose we responded too slowly.

Here’s a more detailed summary of what Vodafone claim to be doing to win you back.

InitiativesStatus
Network$1bn investment (from merger to end 2011); new network; 2,500 sites being built or upgraded; engineers working intensively
Stabilising the networkUnderway – unstable software replaced
Accelerated building of new 3G (850MHz) network386 new sites added. 1,500 planned for 2011

Better coverage, faster data speeds and better for smartphones

Upgrade of current network – more capacity and new coverage areasUnderway – work largely complete in CBD and other congested areas
Replacement of equipment in Radio Access Network with HuaweiEquipment in 8,000 sites to be replaced in next two years
Long Term Evolution (LTE – 4G)Trials complete, rollout as devices and demand there to support
ServiceMore staff; better customer information; better and faster resolution of issues
300 additional staff joined Vodafone Care to provide quicker response timesTrained and responding to customers now
Call back option70% of our customers are using our call back option if they prefer not to wait on hold (the call back service is available if the wait time is 3+ minutes)
Easier to find information about network and service informationA new section onwww.vodafone.com.au details network and customer updates
More detailed information about the current network performance in your areaCustomers can now search by postcode or suburb to check what’s happening with the network in their area. The site shows outages as well as congested (or very busy) sites
New coverage mapsNew coverage maps with more information about new sites being built and upgraded, and known black spots is coming soon
New online customer forumNew customer eForum is launching shortly, for customers to post comments, reviews and tips
24 month warranty on all handset and mobile broadband devices including iPhonesAll mobile devices are covered by a 24 month warranty including Apple iPhone

So, will this work?

Only time will tell – I know that only yesterday I had someone tell me that following a phonecall to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) last week, they received an SMS from Vodafone advising them they were now able to leave their contract with no fee (Details below). While it’s pretty telling when a company ‘lets customers go’, its certainly the right thing to do in these circumstances.

Below is a copy of the letter sent to a VodaFone customer just this week, following his complaint to the TIO – No Liability admitted, but in terms of basic customer service goodwill – It’s a win.

Vodafone (VHA) Letter to customer after TIO complaint

Pretty comprehensive response detailed above – what do you think? Can it help? I’d love to know your thoughts. Comment below, or email me!