I have been sent a sad tale of unrequited love. So heartbroken is the author, they wish to remain nameless. Grab a tissue and read on:

“I’ve been a content Vodafone pay monthly customer for 8 years.  My contract is due to expire this April and normally, Vodafone’s upgrade team has been very efficient and helped me to get the best new deal as well as regular new handsets every couple of years.

With impending contract renewal looming, I decided to shop around.  My first port of call, naturally (as a loyal customer) was Vodafone.  I looked at upgrade options in their store and spoke to some pleasant staff members.  However, the upgrade deals they were offering me, cost MORE per month than I was currently paying, while I would receive LESS calls / texts / mobile internet allowance.  I’m no businessman, but those economics simply don’t add up.

So I started look in other shops, just to see the state of the mobile industry with other providers.  Needless to say, T-Mobile’s Full Monty proposition (£36 per month for 2,000 minutes, unlimited T-Mobile minutes, unlimited texts and unlimited internet) has been causing quite a lot of interest.  I spoke to some helpful staff in a T-Mobile store and have made the decision to take out a contract with them, when my current one expires in April.

I set about contacting Vodafone to inform them that I wished to cancel my contract when it expired, since T-Mobile offered the best deal for me on the market.  Their response?  Not a lot.

‘We’re sorry you’re thinking of leaving us…’  ‘Good’ I thought, thinking that they would be able to offer me a similar sort of deal in order to keep my custom.  ‘Here’s what you need to do to cancel your contract with us.’

That was it.  After 8 years together, through thick and thin, I felt like I was being let go.  No effort to fight and save our relationship; no pleading that they can change, we can make it work, we’re meant to be together.  Just a cold email accepting that they no longer want to keep me in their lives.

And as a customer, that feels pretty shoddy.

Now, I’m not for one moment suggesting that losing my £30-odd quid a month is going to cripple Vodafone.  Perhaps their business strategy for this year does not permit them to price-match T-Mobile’s Full Monty offering.  BUT, I would at least like to be reminded of the memories we shared together.  Made to feel like they actually cared we were breaking up and moving on with our lives.   Instead – nothing.

Over 8 years with Vodafone, I must have spent over £2,000 with them – that ain’t small cheese.  And you know what?  Had they handled the current situation better, I might have stayed with them for another 8 years.  Got my future family on-board down the line.  And what does that add up to?  Lots.

So the point I’m making is this – I understand that when you can’t offer a customer a financial solution that fits their needs, for whatever reason, then you can’t.  But customer service remains a crucial aspect of a retail relationship – and Vodafone’s apparent lack of concern for my feelings has driven me firmly into the hands of a new, different lover.

Let’s hope this relationship proves more fruitful.”

So dear reader, what do you think? Is the customer right to feel jilted, or should Vodafone feel comfortable to let the customer run into the amrs of another? I’m not sure about this one. After all, the Vodafone logo has a giant teardrop right on the centre, maybe they are just too heartbroken to talk about it…

Vodafone Logo


Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

8 thoughts on “Vodamoan”

  1. From experience of other mobile companies, they’ll call you a day or two before your number port or contract end date and try to offer you something. Both 3 and Orange have done this to me (I was with Orange for four years and 3 for three). In each case I hadn’t even upgraded in over a year.

    Each offered me something poor, then rang me when it was near the point of no return and gave some spiel about “they are undertaking customer account reviews and had noticed that I was a loyal customer, and therefore wanted to give me a quick call to offer me a special deal”.

    In both cases I politely told them to get lost.

    1. Thanks Robert. I hate that waiting until the stable door is swinging open type of response. At a very basic level it feels insincere. Why didn’t company x want to do business willingly and in good time? It makes the ‘special deal’ to which you refer feel more like a dirty exchange!

      1. When I was 17 my current account went 20p overdrawn. It was with the Halifax, and I’d had accounts with them literally since I was born – my parents had opened a savings account with the Leeds Building Society, and when I started part-time working at 15 it seemed an obvious place to go.

        20p overdrawn for one day, and a £30 charge… I went and spoke to the manager, the most condescending berk ever. He just sat there with a smug grin and saying it was “my fault” I had gone overdrawn. When I pointed out that the cost of sending the letter was more than the amount overdrawn he said it was the “principle”.

        When I pointed out that £30 in no way was to cover their admin charges, and was clearly a penalty on me, he said “well, you’re here taking up my time, aren’t you?”

        …which I wouldn’t have been if they hadn’t sent me a demand for payment.

        He finished with “look, I can forward your complaint to head office, but to be honest with you you’ll be wasting your time as they never change their mind when it’s the customer’s fault”

        At that point, even being just 17, I’d had enough and told him I was closing my accounts – current account and ISA. He literally laughed and said “every one says that, they never do”.

        I’ve never banked with the Halifax since….

        If you’re interested in a decent bank, Smile are awesome. And I’ll take any opportunity to tell people that the Halifax aren’t worth your time, but Smile are.

        Here’s me taking that opportunity again 🙂

  2. Aha … my industry (mobile that is).

    It’s a strange one isn’t it? Surely all mobile operators want to retain their loyal customers and it’s true, they do. But the rub does come when more is expected for less. Please don’t take that as a dig – I am exactly the same as a customer – but in the end the economics have to work and if someone wants to pay less for more and have a iPhone thrown in for good measure, then quite literally it might not add up for the mobile operator. There is a general trend to stop this more-for-less across all of the mobile operators (even FullMonty costs you more than £30 each month) and to be honest, it’s just the way things are going in the current climate.

    OK – enough about all that… irrespective, that is not an excuse for poor customer service and a disdainful, impersonal reaction to a customer is never good and never right. Whilst computer may say no, the personal element should never be forgotten. It costs no more to send a customer a well written personal communication than it does to send a computer generated piece of prose. I sincerely hope that you have a better experience with T-Mobile and please let me know if you don’t!!

    1. Hi Chris,

      I do understand that, but in the cases I cited I was originally offered something really poor, and wasn’t even asking for a new phone.

      They then call at the death and offer me something much much better, so obviously the capability was there.

      My phone use has actually plummeted recently to the point where I’m considering going PAYG for the first time in 12 years. Doing the maths, it would actually be more economical. So yes, I’m one of *those* customers, just not demanded a free phone for the privilege 😉

      1. Hi Chris and Robert…you both have me thinking…

        I agree – there has to be value in the relationship for both parties. Win/Lose sucks. And I really don’t like that concept of an improved offer at the 11th hour, 59th minute. I’ll take best and final everytime.

        And of course, above all, good service is the lifeblood of a great sustainable business.

  3. I’m glad that you’ve decided to change carriers, and that customer service was a part of your criteria. It’s only by losing customers (revenue) that companies will see that they’re creating the problems themselves.

    But it is most powerful when we decide to spend a little MORE money with someone because of their customer service. That’s a bit harder than leaving because of lower prices, and then complaining about customer service as you’re headed out the door.

    1. Hi Carl – and thanks for your comment to our anonymous contributor.

      Your point about service as a means, or perhaps the means, to customer loyalty and retention is spot on. And as you suggest, when it’s done well it’s really powerful.

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