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The things that make you stay

posted in Marketing on September 8th, 2008

Apparently, I am the kind of customer that manages to discover problems in bulletproof systems all the time: I have managed to break my former provider’s online payment solution in a way that any payment I did, would not go through (even though it was deducted from my bank account) and I have managed to get my PayPal account locked, more than once, because I sent a certain kind of transaction in a special way that would trigger alarms everywhere.

Last week, I managed to discover one such problem in Vodafone’s service: it turns out that, when you switch your subscription type (I am a prepaid user), your extras automatically are terminated.

Being a heavy SMS user, I pay Vodafone 10 EUROs up-front for a premium service called “Zorgeloos SMS BloX“, which basically translates into a free pass at text messaging - 1000 messages before you have to pay again.

I usually get anywhere between 250 and 400 messages out, every month and as such, the BloX subscription translates into huge savings for me and I was quite appalled when I was told by a CSR that I had already used up my allotted 1000 messages (which would have been a first) and was SOL and would have to wait until mid-September to get more messages.

Now, you see, the issue here was not that I had to invest additional money, or that Vodafone, supposedly ripped 10 EUROs from me, I could care less about the money, the issue, here, was that I did not like the way they did it - blaming me and not taking into account that their system had failed me, and by extension: them.

Having read about Patrick de Laive’s experiences with Vodafone last November, I knew that this would be troublesome to work out and I was prepared to switch to another provider, in the blink of an eye if Vodafone did not play ball.

Today, I received an email from a new CSR at Vodafone, responding to my query and explaining the situation: the representative offered the standard apologies you always get (which, let’s be honest: have to be included in any such communication, even though most customers do not care about them); he also reactivated my BloX subscription and gave me an additional 5 EUROs for “any trouble caused”.

All in all, I am glad that Vodafone handled this issue the way they did and not leave me with a feeling of unimportance and deceit.

Granted, the whole deal could have been avoided if their system was (even more) bulletproof, but since their system is built by humans, and humans are bound to make mistakes, this is a more than acceptable outcome.

So, to Vodafone and the represenative that followed up on this issue, I say: thank you for not screwing me over and taking care of me the right way.

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