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


How do you turn good into excellent?

Listening Your Way to a Great Result

Like most large companies, Vodafone runs a supplier performance programme. Twice a year, Vodafone evaluates its suppliers against these criteria: Corporate responsibility (CR), financial stability, technical capability, delivery and quality of service as well as the strength of the commercial relationship. OK, granted the last one’s a bit…subjective perhaps, but I think this is a good, broad set of criteria. I first became aware of the programme after reading a press release about the CR measure. I was delighted that Vodafone were looking into this area, because I am personally interested in sustainable business and the company I was representing; BT, is a good CR practitioner. When I dug a little deeper, I found that Vodafone scored BT at 71%, 7 out of 10. Not bad, but not great either.

Being a curious person, I called up the Head of Supply Chain and he agreed to meet and talk through their programme. The guys at Vodafone were great. Honest and straightforward, they really conveyed a sense of wanting to work together to improve. This wasn’t a huge surprise to me as I’d previously carried out some very interesting mutually beneficial improvement work with Vodafone, but it’s still great to get that encouraging approach.

We listened actively and worked hard to address Vodafone’s programme requirements. When I say we, this work was delivered in the main by me and a great guy in BT called Mick Bruder. Over a 12 month period we supported Vodafone’s programme and improved the CR score to 90%. Vodafone considers a score of 90% and above to be excellent. In turn, this improvement fed into the wider programme and pushed BT into the top 15 global suppliers to Vodafone for the first time. I’d settle for excellent.

When I was subsequently asked to write the Stakeholder Engagement section of BT’s Sustainability report, I asked Vodafone if they would consider being referenced as a case study. They agreed. This delighted me, made me feel proud of the work we were doing together and really helped to cement this great working relationship.

So the next time someone asks you about the business benefits of sustainability, why not show them this story?