Vodafone continue to undermine their customer experience….read my emotional reaction in this “rant”!


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Love the Vodafone strap-line “power to you” if only it was true – maybe it should read “Vodafone we will try to abuse the power we think we have over you” not quite as catchy but at least it is true. When a large company annoys you it provokes an emotional and often in their minds irrational response – that is what happened to me last week. So businesses need to think about the irrational behaviour that might result from their actions if they want to really understand customers.

It seems that mobile companies cannot help themselves when it comes to killing their customer experience in pursuit of their own objectives. What do I mean, well I am sure we could all think of occasions where this has happened to us and this was my latest experience. As a customer I was encouraged to download the Vodafone app a potentially useful little tool for checking usage of my monthly allowances – that was the driver for me. I used it only occasionally but it was helpful particularly when travelling overseas.

So I switch on my phone last week to find the app image with “2” next to it indicating that Vodafone were communicating with me.

VF messages picture

The message basically said we want to a access your personal data “to improve the customer experience” oh of course I thought – well in this age of data security no one gets access to any of my data unless I see real value in sharing it.

VF message

So I declined the option thinking that was it!!! But no I then get a message saying that if I decline this then I won’t be able to use the app! WHAT!!!!

VF T&C image

Now that is firstly supreme arrogance that they believe this little app is so significant to my life that I would immediately say “ok have my data” and secondly has completely ignored how I might react to this and feel about this…frankly I feel like cancelling my and my families contract….not rational I know, but when people make you angry you cease to be rational and that is a key point that businesses fail to comprehend.

Reading on I find that I can accept the request and then I can go into my phone and deny the requests through my settings – so let me see how that lands in terms of their customer effort score (bearing in kind that the lower the client effort the greater the propensity to be loyal)..and the answer is very very badly. Clearly the ‘design assumption’ is that people will agree and then forget to or not understand how to stop Vodafone from then accessing the data.

Trust is going to be an increasingly key element of our relationships with suppliers and there will be a few winners and lots of losers, Vodafone could have been one of the chosen few but with this approach have thrown away all trust they had built – with me at least, all for what? Access to some personal data that they hope to make money out of having access to ….dream on!

Alan Pennington
Currently Chairman of Acme Group the first company to combine customer experience design and award winning creative and advertising company and Non Executive Director of SuiteCX the leading CX software company, he was prior to its sale Managing Director and co-founder of Mulberry Consulting the Number One CE business globally and Executive Chair of 'Experience by Design' a South African based venture.


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