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Vodafone CEO pledges to cut number of customer complaints

Wednesday, May 13th 2015 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The CEO of Vodafone wants to halve the number of calls to its call centre in the next two years.

Jeroen Hoencamp was speaking after Ofcom reported that Vodafone was the most complained-about provider of pay-monthly mobile services in the last three months of 2014.

The operator generated 0.15 complaints per 1,000 customers in the three-month period at the end of last year.

Writing on Vodafone’s UK blog, Mr Hoencamp said: “We’re disappointed that more customers needed to raise complaints with us in the second half of last year.

“We always want to provide our 20 million customers with a great service and we are clearly not there yet.

“This Ofcom report serves to remind us that we need to do more to deliver our goal of providing the best customer experience in our industry.”

He said, however, that Vodafone had taken “significant action” over the past six months to improve its customers’ experiences.

The company has increased its number of customer service agents and upgraded its billing system, said Mr Hoencamp, as part of a £1bn investment in customer service.

“We also introduced our ‘Fixed Price Promise’, which ensures customers’ monthly price will stay the same for the duration of their initial plan,” he added.

“As well as launching the My Vodafone App, which allows customers to keep a constant eye of what they are spending in real-time.”

'At the heart'

The investment in customer services follows a similar cash injection by Vodafone in its network last year.

“This £2bn investment in our network and customer services over 2014 and 2015 is starting to deliver a step change in customer experience which we hope our customers are starting to feel,” Mr Hoencamp said.

He said customer service has always been a central part of Vodafone’s strategy and was at the heart of its aim to improve every part of the business.

“With many of the things now in place to deliver a better customer experience, we’re going to focus on it more than ever before.

“My ambition is that in the next two years, we halve the number of calls into the call centre.

“I don’t know how often you ring the call centre of any business, but my assumption would be that you only call them when you have an issue.

“99% of customers ring when they have a problem, so the ambition should be to at least halve the number of calls by doing what we’re doing in improving the network, fixing the customer experience, and having products and services that just work.”

He said his ambition could partly be achieved by making it easier for customers to diagnose and fix their own problems.

“Customers continue to tell us that they’d rather ‘do it themselves’. They’d rather have an app or quickly look at the web to solve problems instead of going through the hassle of ringing a customer services agent.”

Mr Hoencamp pointed to the fact that Vodafone had more than 2.5m enquiries through its live web chat service and 12m visits to its eForum last year, while its YouTube help videos were viewed more than 4m times.

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