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Topic # 27409 24-Oct-2008 19:18
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The $1 charge for calls to the 'customer service' centre is a ridiculous and contemptuous action by Vodafone.
Every time I have had to call Vodafone it has been to get help with some part of Vodafone's crappy and unreliable
Sky Mobile TV service.    Getting through to Cairo very quickly only means you will get to a polite but poorly trained person
who is most likely unable to help with your query.

Sorry Paul, your explanation on TV3, does not wash.    It was corporate spin.    Sure you may have some time wasters but many people like me only phone Vodafone when something breaks in your system.   Oh, well back to my min. spend strategy with Vodafone.   I was thinking about getting a 1GB mobile broadband plan, but if that's how customers are treated I'd sooner take my
notebook to a wireless hotspot.    Maybe time for an Asus EEE?

Vodafone is not alone in its contempt for customers.    What about cash back deals offered by HP, Acer, and others?
What a wonderful piece of customer focus.   Fill in intrusive and time consuming forms and then wait 75 days for a cash
refund.    What about giving an instant discount at the point of sale??    How about HP's software that is constantly trying to phone
home to monitor how much frigging ink their printer is using!!

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  Reply # 173429 24-Oct-2008 19:52

Hi there,

we do have a forum where you can ask questions like this. That's free and fast.
We have a website that has a host of information.
We have self service channels on the website.
We have self service channels on the phone itself...

NONE of those things are charged for. What we're doing is changing customer behaviour so that instead of simply calling an operator they actually use some of those alternate channels first.

Calls to speak to a person cost between $3 and $10 each. $1 isn't a money making venture - it's about stopping those calls that clog up the system. That way when you DO need to speak to an operator, you can get through in seconds.




Paul Brislen
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Vodafone

http://forum.vodafone.co.nz


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  Reply # 173432 24-Oct-2008 19:56
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Or 15 minutes, as exampled on Campbell Live. Wink




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  Reply # 173435 24-Oct-2008 20:15
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Only just joined Geekzone as I was astounded at the Campbell Live interview just aired.  Paul I find it amazing that you could front a nationally aired show, claim to not be aware if the competition charges for calls and still keep a straight face - you should seek a life in politics as your next career move.   
Also for the life of me I can't understand how the interviewer did not cut through your comment around the cost of calls (you seem to love that line as you've just used it in this thread)  you do realise that the cost of serving a customer is usually bundled into the price charged for the product . . .   
Vodafone makes huge profits so you obviously manage to cover the cost of service calls without having to impose an additional fee.  Perhaps Vodafone could try the crazy idea of finding out why customers are calling and removing their reason for having to call in the first place. $1 per call just seems like a (money making) ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. 
Anyway, that's my rant over.  It's been a while since I saw such a weak interview so couldn't help myself.

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  Reply # 173438 24-Oct-2008 20:20

munchkin: Or 15 minutes, as exampled on Campbell Live. Wink


Yeah, well as I said... that's not acceptable either. But we do make mistakes. We all do. It's the putting right that counts and that one will be sorted.




Paul Brislen
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http://forum.vodafone.co.nz




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  Reply # 173454 24-Oct-2008 21:02
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Thanks for the prompt & reasonable reply Paul!    I'm sure you're right about some people not using the self help options for easy to solve problems.    And, yes I must admit I am surprised to hear that calls to 777 do cost $3 to $10 for Vodafone.

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Reply # 173459 24-Oct-2008 21:16
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tmccomp: Perhaps Vodafone could try the crazy idea of finding out why customers are calling and removing their reason for having to call in the first place. $1 per call just seems like a (money making) ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.


Are you serious?

It's $1 for the whole call, not $1 a minute (or say 15, 20 dollars for the call).  I think your complaint would be founded if Vodafone didn't provide alternative methods to handle changes, but you can use their menu or customer website for free.  If you are on contract, support is also free.

If you really feel that strongly against Vodafone, swap to Telecom.  Nothing says disgruntled customer like leaving them.


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  Reply # 173460 24-Oct-2008 21:48
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nate: Are you serious?


The short answer to your facetious question is yes - I am serious.  
And thank you for repeating common knowledge - I understand that it is $1 per call.   $1 for every call regarding billing errors, $1 for every call about a phone fault and $1 for every call to follow up on an e-mail sent through Vodafone's wonderful self service options.  I suppose Vodafone should try and gouge as much money out of its customers before Telecom launches its new network . . .

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  Reply # 173463 24-Oct-2008 21:56
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tmccomp: And thank you for repeating common knowledge - I understand that it is $1 per call.   $1 for every call regarding billing errors, $1 for every call about a phone fault and $1 for every call to follow up on an e-mail sent through Vodafone's wonderful self service options.


How often do you call Vodafone support?  There must be something serious wrong if you have to call them often enough to rack up enough $1 charges.

I've been a Vodafone customer for 3+ years now (with both a cellphone and a data card), never had to call them more than a couple times during the whole period.

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Reply # 173466 24-Oct-2008 22:09
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I think it's the principle. If Vodafone allowed CSR discretion and charged at the end of the call if the call was for any futile reason then I would agree.

But they start charging $1, even if you call to report some problem. Or to try and find some answer when their system is down. Then you have a whole process to get this $1 back.

As I said, if it was something like work on an issue and the CSR click a big red button saying "CHARGE" at the end of the call if it was really something that could have been done through the self help...




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  Reply # 173541 25-Oct-2008 13:28

freitasm: I think it's the principle. If Vodafone allowed CSR discretion and charged at the end of the call if the call was for any futile reason then I would agree.

But they start charging $1, even if you call to report some problem. Or to try and find some answer when their system is down. Then you have a whole process to get this $1 back.

As I said, if it was something like work on an issue and the CSR click a big red button saying "CHARGE" at the end of the call if it was really something that could have been done through the self help...

 

I assume they will be removing this fee next year when telecom release their GSM network, and they begin losing prepaid customers. At the moment they have a monopoly on gsm, but telecom will be aggressive in getting new customers, and this will be a point of difference. Already we get charged some of the highest calling rates in NZ.

 

I would be interested to know where this quoted $3-$10 fee that paul referred to in the program came from, for calling the helpdesk. I assume that refers to the wage they pay their people in Egypt, divided by the number of calls made to the call centre. Did this also take into account the profit they make from the prepaid cusomters.

 

I don't have a problem with self service, and use it myself, but sometimes the answer isn't in it. Also the online system is out of date for some things, and if you email vodafone through the help system they don't reply, so phoning them is sometimes the only answer, or it has a bug that it can't be sent for some reason. I think they should be penalising those people who phone for stupid things, rather than penalising all of their cusomters for this. You don't hear telecom complaining about this problem. Also there was no explaination as to why prepaid cusomters were charged, but on account ones weren't, even though I assume they both get just as many 'stupid' calls.

Also I thought Paul made a mistake by saying he wasn't aware if the competitor charged a fee for calling the helpdesk. He knew of course that they didn't. I am sure he now regrets saying that.


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  Reply # 173545 25-Oct-2008 13:40
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In theory the point of the charge is to reduce wait times. 
If the customer isn't charged immediatly and it is at the discretion of the CSR at the end of the call, then won't customers just ring up anyway and argue with the CSR over the charge at the end of the call.  CSR's will then crumble to the pressure and not charge defeating the purpose of implementing the charge in the first place and we are back to square one with long wait times. 

I agree the $1 should be easily refundable at the end of the call, but I guess the msg isn't getting to the CSR's.

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  Reply # 173548 25-Oct-2008 14:02
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Unfortunately I think that would lead to an even worse situation. Imagine if you got to the end of the call about logging onto your online billing and the CSR says "Oh, and there will be a $1 charge for calling us unneccessarily".

The system would work if LEGITIMATE calls were properly refunded - and that this was explained in the message heard before accepting the POSSIBLE $1 charge. I'm getting repeated reports that customers are not being refunded the $1 even when the purpose of the call is due to Vodafone's mistake. Once this is corrected, the system will operate much more smoothly.

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  Reply # 173577 25-Oct-2008 16:30

robbyp:
freitasm: I think it's the principle. If Vodafone allowed CSR discretion and charged at the end of the call if the call was for any futile reason then I would agree.

But they start charging $1, even if you call to report some problem. Or to try and find some answer when their system is down. Then you have a whole process to get this $1 back.

As I said, if it was something like work on an issue and the CSR click a big red button saying "CHARGE" at the end of the call if it was really something that could have been done through the self help...

 

I assume they will be removing this fee next year when telecom release their GSM network, and they begin losing prepaid customers. At the moment they have a monopoly on gsm, but telecom will be aggressive in getting new customers, and this will be a point of difference. Already we get charged some of the highest calling rates in NZ.

 

I would be interested to know where this quoted $3-$10 fee that paul referred to in the program came from, for calling the helpdesk. I assume that refers to the wage they pay their people in Egypt, divided by the number of calls made to the call centre. Did this also take into account the profit they make from the prepaid cusomters.

 

I don't have a problem with self service, and use it myself, but sometimes the answer isn't in it. Also the online system is out of date for some things, and if you email vodafone through the help system they don't reply, so phoning them is sometimes the only answer, or it has a bug that it can't be sent for some reason. I think they should be penalising those people who phone for stupid things, rather than penalising all of their cusomters for this. You don't hear telecom complaining about this problem. Also there was no explaination as to why prepaid cusomters were charged, but on account ones weren't, even though I assume they both get just as many 'stupid' calls.

Also I thought Paul made a mistake by saying he wasn't aware if the competitor charged a fee for calling the helpdesk. He knew of course that they didn't. I am sure he now regrets saying that.



Regrets, I've had a few... that's not one though. What I was trying to say (albeit without an elegance whatsoever) is if you want to know what Telecom's doing, ask Telecom. We don't follow Telecom's lead, and what Telecom choses to do in terms of customer care isn't my concern.

We won't be dumping the dollar a call charge once Telecom's GSM network launches - why would we? The vast majority of customers do not care whether Telecom offers GSM or CDMA... it's all about the price. Telecom currently has one of the cheapest TXTing option in the market with its $10 TXT... how does switching to GSM make any difference?

You do not get charged "some of the highest calling rates in NZ". If you read the OECD comparisons you'll see that Vodafone's plans are in the top half in terms of value even without including Best Mates and Family. Telecom's plans are not.

The $3-$10 figure comes from me asking the head of customer care how much each call costs. They have a formula based on wages paid, duration of calls, earnings made from a Prepay customer etc.

Telecom doesn't complain about this because it's already reduced its call centre costs... it has reduced the staff in NZ and hired staff in the Philipines. Vodafone hasn't reduced staff in NZ and has ADDED staff in Egypt... that's quite different.

We don't charge on account customers because they've committed to Vodafone up front with a contract and an account that's paid each month. Also, on account customers by and large do not make pointless calls to the call centre. Prepay customers made up the vast majority if not all of these kinds of calls. As I said on the show, 50,000 calls a month asking about stuff like what time is it, how do I turn the volume down, what's it like in a call centre... On top of that we had calls spiking when school gets out and the calls were mostly of the what's my balance kind.

That's all stopped now. In fact, call volumes are down 60%. That's a huge win because when you DO need to call in to speak to an operator (once every seven months on average, although that is now dropping and I think will end up being more like once a year)  you will be able to get through.

Cheers

Paul




Paul Brislen
Head of Corporate Communications
Vodafone

http://forum.vodafone.co.nz


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  Reply # 173596 25-Oct-2008 18:59
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PaulBrislen:
Telecom doesn't complain about this because it's already reduced its call centre costs... it has reduced the staff in NZ and hired staff in the Philipines. Vodafone hasn't reduced staff in NZ and has ADDED staff in Egypt... that's quite different.


Paul, I don't remember seeing any where that Telecom has reduced NZ staff (perhaps your referring to some of Telecom's out sourcing partners, either way it is NOT Telecom), rather ADD as you say or have trials in place.

Now, that's quite different.

nzbnw








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