A personal little story about customer service…

I’m constantly amazed how many companies are still living in the old world.

A few days ago my HTC S740 phone broke down. Pretty good news, because I wasn’t happy with it at all. The thing is running on Windows Mobile 6 point something, and well… it just ain’t working.

Since I’ve been a client at Vodafone for many years, I called them up to renew my contract and get a new phone. I had my eye on the Google Nexus One with Android operating system. Unfortunately Vodafone couldn’t deliver that phone.

The strange thing is that many Telco websites do offer the Nexus One with Vodafone subscription. I asked why Vodafone couldn’t deliver me the phone and that I preferred ordering it with a company I know and trust.

The voice on the other side (was it even human?) answered he could only sell me what’s on his list. “But why is this popular phone not on your list? “I don’t know. Management decides”. “OK. I’ll order it elsewhere then”. “OK. Bye”.

Huh?

Did that just really happen? I’m a long time loyal customer, calling up to bring business and Vodafone tells me to go elsewhere. I’m stunned.

So here I am complaining about them online and considering a different provider. I’ve been a pretty loyal customer for over a decade, so shouldn’t Vodafone try to bump me up towards being an ambassador for their brand?

I think Vodafone is still living in the old world. They advertise to many and convert a few into customers. Need more customers? Advertise more.

I think the new world is about me. The Customer. And it can even be beyond that:

If Vodafone now decides to cut their advertising budget by 10% and put these funds towards improving customer service, they can make a start towards living in the new world today.

They could have then asked me why I wanted this particular phone. They could have found out for me when this model was due to be available. They could have given me a rental phone to bridge the gap till delivery and keep me informed about the launch date.

That would have blown my mind! Would I have kept that a secret? Hell no.

And this is what the new world is about. It’s not just about the customer. It’s about helping customers create more customers.

If your business is not about creating happy customers, it’s time for change.

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