Vodafone fail at customer service shocker. Not.

I know, I know. Using the words ‘Vodafone’ and ‘customer service’ in the same sentence is as oxymoronic as anything Milton could come up with. Still, they allege that they provide such an offering, so, albeit with doubt in my heart, I attempted to avail myself of said service.

The reason for this act of desperation was that my signal booster seems to have given up the ghost. Musings Towers is buried deep in the country, a full 5 miles or so from the nearest town and in a mobile phone blackspot. In order to be able to make or receive calls or texts at home I have a signal booster. These are crappy machines that plug into the router and appear to have the shelf life of a cheap toaster. Except that, at around £80 a throw, they aren’t cheap.

The tell tale signs of potential knackeredness were that the device had no lights at all, and I had no phone signal at all. I web chatted. The friendly web chattee said that the signal booster needed resynchronizing with my phone, and that a few more hours should sort it out.

It didn’t, of course. I web chatted again. The second web chattee said I needed to take the signal booster into a store for some diagnostics. I’ve been in Vodafone stores and was entirely dubious about this diagnostics claim, but when I questioned it, I was reassured. Oh yes, they had the technology.

In the meantime, I tweeted my dissatisfaction. Vodafone’s Twitter SLA is way too long (I say this as both an impatient customer and someone who is responsible for social media policy as part of her job). The responses, when they eventually come, are not worth waiting for.

Vodafone’s approach is to direct everyone to their forum. Regardless of what you actually say, or ask, respondent after respondent directs you to the forum. Even when you explicitly say that you don’t want to use the forum because life is too short.

The forum, apparently, is the epicenter of all Vodafone-related knowledge; it’s where all their experts hang out and it’s the place to be. Except that, I’ve used the forum before and it was rubbish, took days, and in the end, failed to solve my problem. Based on this experience I was entirely reluctant to try again; and anyway, if there is any useful information available,  why can’t the web chattees talk you through it? I asked this via Twitter, but as the concept of channel of choice for customers is entirely lost on Vodafone, I simply got directed to the forum again.

At the weekend, on day 6 of no phone signal, I dropped into my nearest Vodafone store. Pity the poor assistant, who flinched as soon as I said ‘signal booster’ and seemed astounded that anyone would think they could test it in store. She could send it off for diagnostics, she said, apparently missing the point that yet more time without a phone signal was not the answer I was looking for. This solution could have worked, if I’d been offered a working signal booster while mine was being tested. But no.

The thing is, my time is valuable. It’s certainly more valuable to me than Vodafone’s time, which I feel somewhat entitled to on the grounds that I’ve bought a service from them that doesn’t bloody work. It is therefore not down to me to spend hours trying to figure out what the sod is wrong. It is down to them. All I need them to do is to confirm that yes, their signal boosters are disposable pieces of crap with the lifespan of a mayfly. Then I’ll buy another one, which will hopefully tide me over until August 2017 when my contract ends and I can skip gladly away to another, slightly less shit supplier.

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