Lessons in Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty isn’t passive, but making it active can also be quite aggressive.

I’m a Vodafone customer. I have been for countless years, firstly as part of the WDS contract, but in the past 2 years personally. My customer experience has always been incredibly passive — from both directions.

Recently, I had a number of incessant contacts from O2 telling me that my Daughter’s contract could be renewed and because of a current offer we could save a significant sum. So I made the changed and saved 50%, added extra 4G data, and all was good. I even changed my wife’s contract at the same time and got double benefit.

So upon receiving my monthly bill with Vodafone, I thought I had better check my contract status. Sure enough I was able to upgrade — back in April 2017. I went online and soon found Vodafone offering an equivalent contract for half the price.

I had no notifications, no warning, nothing to tell me that I might want to review my contract. No, I had been paying twice as much as I needed to for well over 6 months.

Now O2 were quite the opposite, so much so that it became annoying. Phone calls twice a week to my daughter’s phone while she was at school asking for me. Text messages. Most recently phone calls from our local O2 store. They were desperate to talk to me, and despite my daughter telling them that I am not on that number each and every time, the calls continued.

Eventually I went in to our local O2 store, and had the most guided and carefully choreographed customer experience I had ever seen.

Step 1 — Staff member to meet & greet, take my details, who instantly handed me to another staff member who was stood right next to him

Step 2 — Sit down at a carefully constructed seating arrangement to discuss my needs

Step 3 — Staff member asking me a series of faux-human-interest questions about what I do for a living, and how old my kids are, and what technology I use, and what contracts I have across my family. ALL OF WHICH WERE PROMPTED ON A WRITING PAD IN FRONT OF HIM. Hastily scribbled data about me and my world.

Step 4 — Give me a better contract, get me to read and sign some on-screen documents that no human on the planet would actually have time or inclination to read.

Step 5 — “I have to go and see my manager to discuss what we have agreed” — disappears for a few minutes.

Step 6
Rinse and repeat for my wife’s contract.

Better than Vodafone ? Well — different. Whilst it was nice to have O2 actually volunteer the ability for me to save money, the way it was handled was actually pretty frustrating. All told I was in the store for the best part of 40 minutes. Meaningful activity (actually getting on with it) could have been completed in less than 15 minutes. Perhaps customers that aren’t aware of customer experience principles would be unaware, and prefer that hands-on approach. However I was quite clear that I knew what I wanted, and that should have modified their approach to fast-track me to a solution, not just blindly follow the process.

As it happens, this is no bad reflection on the staff at the O2 store. They were friendly, and got the job done, but were seemingly forced down this standard process.

In terms of Vodafone — they were apparently quite happy to keep taking money from me for a service they were clearly offering for less than half the price, and that is just annoying. So much so that I would consider leaving.

So, lessons learned — don’t do it like Vodafone. Try and do it a bit like O2 — but for everyone’s sake — understand your customer upfront and modify your approach accordingly.

Originally published at www.threedotzerostudios.com on January 5, 2018.