Customer care: Vodafone

I’ve been responsible for getting a few people in my company set up with Blackberrys. A lot of companies are advertising these now, especially the phone suppliers, and claim to be able to provide all the installation on the server (for syncing with our email software in-house) and supplying the Blackberry handset and tariff itself. So, I took a look at O2 and discovered they couldn’t do what we wanted, and went to Vodafone, who, it appeared, could. I spent about 10 minutes on their website trying to find a phone number or someway to contact them. The number I finally found was wrong – it is no longer used, but it did send me to a live number. The live number then sent me through a series of options designed for existing customers. When I finally spoke to someone, they gave me another number to call. Well, I finally spoke to a live person in the business team who didn’t know anything about Blackberry, but who said she’d email me the info. When that came through, it became apparent that they couldn’t provide us with an entry-level option. It was possible that I could have negotiated with them, but since I hadn’t managed to find anyone who knew anything about it, I figured my best shot was to go elsewhere.

So, I found a third party supplier, who supplies the software at an entry level price, with Blackberrys connected to the Vodafone network. Fantastic! We went ahead and they got us up and running in under a week with friendly and prompt support. I loved it.

So, we had just one Blackberry in place (we wanted to see if we liked them) and we wanted a couple more. I went back to my reseller who told me that, due to a nightmare relationship with Vodafone, and a few problems with the software on some sites, they have stopped supplying new Blackberry installations. So much for telling all my friends about them. On the plus side, the reseller could supply the Blackberry handsets, but advised we might get them cheaper and quicker if we went direct to Vodafone.

I was reluctant but I tried it. From the website it appeared there’s a cheaper deal through Vodafone direct for the handsets which would be ideal for us, but when I finally spoke to a person there (having lost the original number and going the exact route I went before), it turned out that they couldn’t supply just the handset. We needed to get the server software from them as well. Excuse me while I kick something. At no point did it seem to occur to Vodafone that I might want more from them in the future and that some decent customer service would put them in my good books.

Suffice to say, I was more than happy to return to my exemplary reseller and purchase the more expensive package through them.