Vodafone – questionable customer retention techniques.

Some of you will have read my earlier post regarding Vodafone having lost the plot on how to retain long term customers. By way of a quick recap their proposal to retain my custom (two contract phones & three pay as you go phones) was as follows:

To reduce the allowance on both contract handsets of 600 free minutes by 50% to 300 minutes and reduce the existing line rental per handset from £12.50 (inc VAT) to £10.00 (inc VAT).

It became clear what was at play when he suggested that I downgrade the family pack from the group of six (there are five in my immediate family) to the group of four (yes, you read that right) for £5.00 (inc VAT) – it had obviously escaped his notice whilst “reviewing” my account that I am currently getting the group of six for no cost at all.

Effectively, in real / monetary terms, he was “offering” to halve our existing free minutes allowance and knock one of our family off the free calls package in an attempt to retain our custom.

I contacted their cancellations dept yesterday (May 5th) to see if they had taken note of my concerns raised in relation to this practice. I was amazed that the chap with whom I spoke was able to make an even more intelligence insulting “offer”.

His offer was two “FREE” Nokia X6 handsets (one for each expired contract) with a revised price plan.

Currently the price plan for each contract hand set sits at £12.50 (inc VAT). So, for £25.00 all in, I was getting 600 free minutes and unlimited texts on each handset and free calls between all five Vodafone numbers under the Vodafone Family pack which I negotiated free 18 months ago.

The Vodafone chap identified that this was not the most suitable price plan as I was using roughly only 200 minutes and sending approximately 20 texts per handset per month. “Fair enough” I thought, he suggested that a 300 minute plan with unlimited texts would suit me better. The only issue was that he wanted me to pay £25.00 per month price plan per handset!

(I should point out that the free 500mb of mobile web & internet which the offer on the £25.00 deal is of no additional value to me as I already have this on my current plan)

This is, of course, also available to new customers with no record of customer loyalty – as is the case with me stretching back over 10 years (seven with these numbers). To add insult to injury he also then suggested that I avail of the £7.00 family pack to be able to call between numbers for “Free” (since when did a £7.00. subscription constitute “free”).

So, in effect, what he was proposing was a 50% reduction in the number of free calls and a jump of 100% in monthly price plan (per handset) and a single (additional) £7.00 monthly subscription for something I am already getting for free.

Lets do the maths on this over the 24 month plan as proposed:

24 x 7 = £168.00
24 x 25 = £600.00

So the bottom line is that Vodafone think that I will be happy to forego 14400 free minutes per year ( that’s 240 hours or 120 free hours of calls per phone) and pay them an extra £768.00 over that period in order to stay with them just because they use the phrase “Free handset”.

You couldn’t make it up.

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