The irrepressible Spinvox blogger, James Whatley’s (that’s Whatleydude, to the universe) didn’t have a great Friday.
His, erm, 'robustly-used' phone stopped working and naturally, as a “Vodafone’s ‘best care’ program” member, he expected it to be replaced quickly and without any hassle.
Of course, if everything had been straightforward, it wouldn’t warrant some comment from me.  So, as you'll have guessed, it all went pear-shaped.

You can read James' entertaining tearjerker over on SMS Text News (probably the mobile world’s most widely-read, and massively influential blog…) but, for continuity's sake, here's the final gasp:

If I don’t have a new N95 by the end of the weekend, or at least, on its way to me by the end of the weekend – as I said at the beginning of this post – I’m going to 3.

And I’ll tell every soul that I ever sold onto Vodafone that they made a mistake and that Vodafone don’t care about their customers, nor do they care for their (outsourced) insurance – that’s not worth the paper it is written on.

Fantastic stuff! 

So, to cut a long story short, everthing worked out very well in the end, with James getting a brand-spanking new, 8GB N95 in his hand, as he put it:
"Just shy of 12hrs since the original article went live."

The ‘oil on the cogs’ was Vodafone's Amy Rose, who added this comment to the post:

Good afternoon.

Thought I’d drop a quick note in response to some of the comments on the blog, mainly to give a good representative of what I do.

I work for Vodafone and run an online team who are centred around forums, blogs and social media. As well as supporting our own customer forum - we also trawl the internet looking for Vodafone customers that have posted on an external sites looking for help.

I have a mixed team of people working for me all from Customer Management background.

I’d like to think that my team and I provide the same level of service for all customers we find, and that James’ experience is not a unique one. It’s a shame that people do have to revert to forums and blogs looking for help, and in the ideal world all queries would be resolved on 1st contact. In reality, we know that doesn’t always happen so my team has a 2nd chance of delivering a great experience and restoring some faith.

With blogs, we do rely of Google content searches picking up on the key word ‘Vodafone’ so that we’re alerted of the new blog that has been written. This is how we came across James’ blog so promptly.

I was pleased to be able to help James, and I’m hoping to see that my team continue with the same approach moving forward.

All the best

Posted by Amy Rose on March 17th, 2008 at 4:05 pm.

(From SMS Text News)

Now it's great that James got his well-used, Mk1 phone replaced with one of the newer versions. (It’s funny how losing access to our gizmos makes us addicts geeks so crabby?)
And the delivery was probably about as quick as it's gets, without booking it in first. (I guess no insurance would pay out on a claim that could be forecast and avoided!)
And it's true that nothing exceptional was done except speed up the process. 

But that’s the big news and the reason I’m tapping away:
Amy’s team actually want to sort out customers’ problems.

And that’s an open offer of assistance, y’know like real customer service?
Which is fucking brilliant! 
If it work’s, it'll be a great move by Vodafone.

I’d hazard a guess that dealing with the FIT team is a whole lot less stressful than the usual call centres, and probably a lot more efficient for VF too.  And the boost in customer morale will prove invaluable. 
If it works…

I’ll put aside my scepticism for now and give full credit to VF for opening this up — damn, that’s the second time I’ve praised VF this week!
An extended outreach for the net?  I hope it takes off!

Next time I meet up with a (justifiably) pissed-off VF customer, I'll see if I can put the two of them together. And report back on the experience.

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