Operator adds 600 new customer service advisors and 72,000 extra hours of training
Vodafone is spending an additional £15 million on improving its back office customer service systems following a surge in complaints over the past year.
The operator has received stinging criticism from its customers after a succession of high profile incidents including difficulties in porting numbers and incorrect billing charges. It is currently facing a potential fine from regulator Ofcom of up 10 per cent of its annual turnover due to its poor handling of complaints and in Q4 was named the most complained about UK network during the three months ending December.
“We are always disappointed when customers have needed to raise complaints with us and, more so, when we then do not resolve them effectively first time,” a Vodafone spokesperson told Mobile News.
“Our teams, at all levels, want to provide our customers with a great service every time but we are clearly not there yet, so are investing significant resources to do so as quickly as we can.”
Vodafone said the rise in complaints was down to a switch from its legacy billing and services platform to a new single “state-of-the-art system”, although it insists only a “very small” proportion of its 18.2 million base were impacted.
Faults have been rectified over the past six months resulting in 500,000 fewer calls to its call centres.
The operator has invested heavily, adding 600 new customer service advisors, taking numbers above 1,400. It has established a 400-strong team to focus on resolving complex issues or complaints, supported by 40 new managers. An extra 72,000 hours of customer service training has also been given to staff during this period and it has opened a new dedicated call centre
in Glasgow to serve customers using its home fixed broadband service. This adds to its call centres in Newark, Leeds, Manchester and Stoke.
Vodafone Group CEO Vittorio Colao (pictured, right) claims there has been a 75 per cent reduction in complaints to its UK call centres regarding the billing migration issues since December. He expects the issue to be resolved during Q3.
“We take every case extremely seriously and aim to fix them as soon as possible without any financial impact to customers,” added the spokesperson.
“Many of the recent issues relate to the move of consumer customers from legacy billing and services platforms onto one state-of-the-art system. This is to give customers far greater control and visibility of their whole account, including real-time billing access, while allowing our customer services channels to have access to one set of customer information and treat customers as people not telephone numbers.
“This was always going to be a highly ambitious and complex programme but the impact of running an IT and a contact centre transformation in parallel was underestimated: the combination of new systems, new processes and new customer services agents impacted service levels significantly.”
Vodafone added customer satisfaction levels, which are recorded through feedback received from customers, has improved 40 percentage points since December.