How to Lose Customers

Last month I noticed that my mobile phone bill had gone up by about £2.  I don’t have a large bill (almost £16 per month) and of course £2 will not reduce me to penury, but I thought I would check my bill to see what extra charges I’d incurred.  There were definitely no extra calls, my text limit remains untouched at the totally theoretical 5000, so I just hoped that I had not somehow ramped up data usage.

Everything was normal.  I therefore phoned Vodafone (for it is they), and a pleasant-sounding woman checked my account before smiling broadly – I could tell, even over the phone – and giving me the reason.  When I took out the contract (over two years earlier) they had applied a 15% discount to the original cost of £18.50.  Now I was into the last three months of this contract, and eligible for an upgrade – and so the discount had been removed.

It was the “and so” that amazed me.  Why was this a consequence of nearing the end of a contract?  Surely this was a time to be luring customers to stay?   The lady didn’t want to get involved in this. As usually happens in such cases she said she could see my point but could do nothing about it.  Meantime she would hand me over to a colleague…

And the colleague of course turned out to be from the upgrade department, asking me what I would like to do in terms of an upgrade.  Well, the simple answer is, and was, that after such a spectacular piece of corporate meanness I wouldn’t be upgrading with them at all, but would certainly start afresh with another company.

The net result is that I’ll be part of the customer churn.  Oh, and Vodafone will gain £6 over the three months.   As a shareholder I have to say that I am less than entranced with the extra profit, but totally despairing that a company can risk driving people away like that.



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