Oh blessed am I, another opportunity to spar with the intellectual super power of a third world call centre. Regular readers will recall that I have had a regular monthly call with Vodafone who seem unable to set up my new contract correctly. Last month I received the same platitudes as I receive every month, the discount that I should see has been applied to the original number and they had changed it over now. Of course I raised the issue that the contract is 5 months old and that number was only live for 1 week but it was simply an oversight. I demanded assurance that this time the issue was resolved and was assured that I had the word of Manjita or whoever the hell was on the phone. Last month, in an unusually non British moment, I also demanded a ‘goodwill’ credit for the disruption which was graciously agreed.
Without boring you with the technicality of the contractual issue the agreed position last month was that the discount that I should have (£9.40) would be added to the account along with £10 goodwill. I do not for one minute purport to be a mathematical genius but I believe that is a total of £19.40, if I am wrong then please let me know as I probably owe half of the developing world an apology by now. The invoice that I received showed a £10 credit, surely something was wrong? It is not uncommon for them to credit £10 in place of the £9.40, most likely because percentages are difficult on an abacus, so I presumed that the goodwill credit was missing.
Incensed that, once again, I had been lied to I sat myself down and called the dreaded number. Having listened to the latest script and pressed more numbers than my telephone number I was through! Obviously I had to confirm various security details in case I was some odd character who purloined telephones for the purpose of arranging credits to the owner’s bank account then we got down to business.
I explained that I had expected the discount and a goodwill credit on last months invoice but had received only one part:
Manjita – Sir I can see that both discounts were applied
Me – No that is not the case there is only a £10 credit
Manjita – No I can see her that there are two discounts applied
Me – (getting clever) can you tell me the total value of the discounts?
Manjita – Oh yes sir £19.40
Me – Aha, I’ve got you! the invoice is only reduced by £10 did somebody lose the office calculator?
Manjita – Sir did you change your number? This is the debate I get every month and must be line 6 or 7 in the ‘we messed up’ script
Me – No I have not changed my number, as I explain to you every month during these calls. There was a temporary number on the account for a week, 5 months ago when I changed over that is it.
Manjita – Ah I can see here that the discount was applied to the other number. I will email my back office and they will sort this out
Me – Can I speak to your back office as I have this conversation every month
Manjita – Oh no I am afraid that they do not have telephones. I suspect that if ‘they’ exist they have no more than chalk and slate, sitting in the mud. In fact I had a vision of the monkeys writing scripts in one of the Simpsons episodes.
Me – What assurance do I have that this will happen?
Manjita – Oh I assure you that I have just sent the email sir
Me – This is the same thing that you say every month, it is the same thing that I was told last month before some imbecile credited the very account that had been credited in error!
Manjita – It is very simple to change and I assure you that it will be done
Me – I give up, thanks, whatever, have a nice evening/afternoon/morning whatever it is where you are
So it transpires that whilst assuring me that she could see the issue and would resolve it Manjita’s sister got confused and compounded the problem. Or, more likely, having finished the script she went on to the next call without attempting to resolve the issue. The crowning glory though for the corporate machine of Vodafone was that they text me their standard ‘you’ve spoken to one of our barely literate team please tell us about your experience. Now for those that have not seen this it is a series of 4 questions about the experience that you reply to with a score between 0 and 10 and a fifth option to comment in text. I received the first one “based on this experience how likely would you be to recommend Vodafone to friends? 10 for very and 0 for definitely not” I replied with a 0 and that was it. No more questions, no more interest they just gave up. I am somewhat curious as to whether they looked at the call and realised that they were doomed or was it something more sinister. Perhaps I read to much, but I had a passing vision of some exec dialling a number and saying “operator 742 just got a zero”. I saw a scope swing steadily to one of the benches in the call centre farm then a silenced shot indicated that Manjita’s daughter had just received a promotion…..