So, back to the O2 store I went. Cash-in-hand… The same lovely patient guy was behind the counter, somewhat surprised to see me. I was fully prepared this time to leave the store with my prize. I had paid for car parking until lunch-time! Was I ever more wrong?
This time the address worked, credit accepted. Hurrah. Can I have that phone, please? Fantastic. All set. Until the bit where I heard the dreaded words, ‘Your new phone number is 07…….’ ‘Nooooooo’ I almost shrieked, ‘I’m keeping mine.’ Ah. You see, if you want a business contract, despite the slightly non-business state of a SAHM, you need to transfer your number immediately or lose it. That’s OK, I asked for my PAC code on Wednesday…
So, I called Vodafone…. Well, now I know why they are called the Customer Retention Team. They are charged solely with the duty of preventing you leaving your contract. I asked for the PAC code I ordered two days before. I was asked why, and out of politeness I replied ‘because I want an iphone and you don’t sell them.’ The reply nearly knocked me off the sparkly, see-through acrylic O2 chair, ‘I can assure you Miss Williams, what you really want is a Blackberry Storm.’
How on earth did that supremely arrogant woman know that, I wondered. I was pretty sure I WANTED an iphone. I’m sure there are many more appropriate words she could have used, perhaps I need a Blackberry, although she didn’t ask what I needed it for, I would almost certainly be better off with one, but it doesn’t quite meet my expectations, but how did her crystal ball tell her that I wanted something other than I had asked for?
I was firm, I repeated my request for my PAC code. The reply was to the effect that I hadn’t ordered one, and that to issue one would take 5 days. No, I replied, I did that two days ago. Again, the reply was shocking, ‘No, you didn’t, it isn’t in the notes on our system.’ So, unless someone in Vodafone types little notes, sorry folks, your conversation simply never happened! I was so incensed by this woman’s arrogance, than I asked to speak with her manager. Employee-higher-up-the-chain he might have been, Manager he certainly wasn’t. His stance was that since the code had not been ordered correctly that was my problem not his, and I would have to wait 5 days, and he didn’t much care that I had spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to sort this issue, Vodafone was not obliged to be any quicker than 5 days and so would not be.
It seemed like a long-shot, but I asked to be put through to Customer Service. Never was there such a mis-named department. I was neither treated like a customer, nor given any service. I was offered no explanation for the lack of comprehensive notes, I was offered no explanation for the lack of agreed action, I was offered a £10 credit on my contract as a good-will gesture. Since I was actually trying to leave, I found that simply insulting! Customer Services even had the nerve to say that they could do nothing, since the request had not been properly recorded. How is that for a cop-out… You can’t leave, because we will simply keep forgetting that you have asked to. I asked for her name, and she not-very-politely told me that she didn’t have to give me that information, but I was promised a call from someone senior in Customer Services, within 2 hours, but I’ve been waiting 6 hours already, and you can bet that they won’t call, because I have never yet had a call-back from Vodafone. I do find it a little surprising that a telecoms company can’t make out-going calls!
On my way back to the car, I happened to pass the Vodafone shop. I was highly amused to see, on their counter, a bold, bright, red sign announcing that they don’t have to take stick from their customers. They seem to reserve the right to be rude and obstructive for themselves. You can’t answer back, demand anything or get frustrated in a Vodafone store it seems. Surely if they were good at providing service, trained in keeping customers happy or in diffusing stressful situations, then such a sign would be completely unnecessary. Everyone understands that if they hold-up a till at knife-point they are risking spending some time at her Majesty’s pleasure, notices saying that are just a waste of wall space and a distraction from the job of selling stuff, but a notice saying you are not to be rude to their staff, that is surely the ultimate in excuses for dreadful service. Such an open and up-front expectation of frustration from their customers can only mean one thing, that they regularly get frustrated customers. It seems highly likely, from my experience, that they are also the cause.
‘Rubbish Customer Service, only £4.99 a month’ pasted over the windows would give much the same message, and at least put a smile on the faces of their customers.