Won’t you stay another day?

With the G1 only available on T-Mobile, I had to cancel my Vodafone contract. Firstly, it was almost impossible to find out how to do it, with the information tucked away in the smallest corner of the Help section of the site. I can understand a company’s desire not to lose customers, but if you’re going to have a help section, it’d be good if it was actually helpful.

I sent off my email with the required information and got a reply saying something along the lines of: Sorry you’re going, we’ll cancel your contract, but will call you with the final details.

Clearly, what this actually means is, we’ll call you to try and change your mind.

I knew that in advance, and wasn’t intending to answer the phone, but by the sixth missed call, I figured I might as well get it over with.

Me: Hello?
Him: Hi, I’m from Vodafone, yadda yadda, answer these security questions. So, why do you want to leave?
Me: Because I wanted the G1 and it’s only available on T-Mobile.
Him: You haven’t had any problems with your account?
Me: No. I’ve had no problems, the service has been excellent, but you don’t have the handset I want, I’m afraid.
Him: No other handset would do?
Me: Nope.
Him: Not another handset with similar internet capabilities?
Me: Nope.
Him: Can I ask why?
Me: Because I want to test out the applications, and I like the Google integration.
Him: I see. So have they fixed the problems with it yet?
Me: I haven’t had a problem with it.
Him: They’ve sorted out the reset issue?
Me: It’s fine.
Him: Okay. I can’t offer you another handset?
Me: No.
Him: And no one else would like the contract for a new price?
Me: No.
Him: Then there’s nothing I can do, is there?
Me: No.

I started off politely, I really did. I find sales calls annoying because they don’t care about what you want, they just care about getting you to sign on the dotted line. I made a point of saying that the service had been great and I had no issues with Vodafone at all. Then he said this rubbish about the mobile resetting itself.

I haven’t heard of any problems like this. I don’t know whether he was making it up or just clutching at straws, but I can’t believe they would sink to this level.

The real answer to their problem is not to try and badmouth other handsets, it’s to get more options on their own tariff.

8 thoughts on “Won’t you stay another day?

  1. I suspect his comment about the supposed reset issue was made more out of frustration, than knowledge about any problem with the G1.

    These kinda of retention calls are commonplace throughout many industries. They rely on an aggressive approach to try and get the customer to sign on the dotted line, which as you say, is their only interest.

    I guess this approach generally works, as it’s used so widely. The downside is that it’s not exactly what you’d call good customer service. This doesn’t really matter if they persuade someone to stay, as it’s likely to be forgotten about. But if they’re unsuccessful, then they’re likely to have reduced the chances of the customer returning, at a latter point.

  2. I don’t understand how the aggressive approach can work. I was happy with the service, but now have been left with a bad taste in my mouth. If I wasn’t happy with them, being aggressively eager to get me to stay and obviously happy to make things up to try and change my mind, wouldn’t really appease me.

    There are reasons I like to do everything via the internet đŸ™‚

  3. It probably depends on the kind of person involved. Like you, I switched networks this year for very specific reasons, and wouldn’t have been impressed with an aggressive call from their retentions department (which to be fair to Orange, I didn’t get).

    Thing is, though, some people just aren’t that bothered. Take one of my mates, for example. If you were to ask him which handset he owns, he’d probably reply, “Some Samsung thing.” If you don’t have specific requirements, then you’re going to be easier to persuade.

    It sounds like better training is the answer. If someone has very specific needs (i.e. a particular handset), then it’s pointless trying to get them to stay, unless you can actually match their needs. But if the reason for leaving is along the lines of, ‘I just feel my contract’s a little too expensive’ then they may respond better.

  4. Agreed. They should sense their target audience.

    I said I wanted the G1 because we needed it to test videos and look into the app process.

    Clearly I was a woman with a plan and didn’t need persuading otherwise.

    But if I just felt like switching for the sake of it, then it would be perfect to get a better deal.

  5. But if I just felt like switching for the sake of it, then it would be perfect to get a better deal.

    Some folk I know almost make a habit out of ringing up and threatening to leave various companies when having no intention of doing so, in order to get a better deal. Seems to work, in most cases.

  6. There was a reset issue I believe with the phone in question, but Google quickly fixed it. If you tried to write a text message with the word “reboot” in it, then your phone would do similar!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/11/10/android_bug/

    And Vodafone… Crumbs they’re very persistent! Did you not have to send them a letter saying you wished to cancel your contract? They had me doing that, I guess it’s their way of trying to retain customers who can’t be bothered to do it. Very backwards.

  7. Ah yes, I do remember hearing something about that. Hardly a deal breaker, though, not the way he was trying to push it. I’m not sure I’ve ever sent a message with reboot in it.

    I did have to put my request in writing, email was acceptable, and that was the starting point for them to find as many excuses to keep me as possible.

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