Vodafone fails to take advantage of Telecom woes

Good for Vodafone on putting up www.vodafone.co.nz/leave-the-xt-network/ to try to take advantage of Telecom’s difficulties, but from there it just goes downhill. I’ve annotated their pages. First up the main promo page is pretty cluttered, and I have to say I am really unsure what the offer actually is. It seems Vodafone wants me to buy a phone, and wants me to post a copy of my final Telecom bill. That’s confusing in several ways – as for a start I would not want to get a final bill from Telecom before I switch.

The next screen explains that this is a phone swap offer – bring your XT phone in and Vodafone will give you an ugly Nokia. You have to select one of two colours and one of two plans, and so this offer is not going to appeal to most XT customers – just the ones that like this phone and those plans.

The next page talks about the ugly phone – which seems to be about features (HSDPA, 2 Megapixel camera) but very little about whether you can tether it, check your email, download a Facebook app and all that other useful stuff we increasingly take for granted.

On to the plan – whis is where it starts to get really nasty. These are limited plans – use more than 60 minutes of talk time and Vodafone will charge you 79 cents a minute from then. Every call, even those 3 second ones, is taken to last at least a minute. Meanwhile you get signed up to data at $10 per month, but you need to click on the data plan bit to find that out. There is no option to scale that plan up or down, so if you use no data then bad luck, and if you use 1 GB then you are up for $100 or so.

It gets worse – If you did not sign up for that broadband then you’d be up fro $1000 per month – but rest assureed, the Broadband Lite was selected and impossible to unselect.

In summary the offer fails in three ways:

  1. It’s too confusing – the fist screen does not match the second and so on
  2. It’s narrowly focused on one phone and two similar low-end plans
  3. It’s hard to do – what with final bills and so on required from Telecom

So here is my suggested promo page for www.vodafone.co.nz/leave-the-xt-network/. The actual options can change of course, but he idea is to give something valuable to most disgruntled XT customers, while being simple to drive and it focusing on the direct benefits of the deal. I’d suggest that doing a number change from Telecom is sufficient reason to grant those benefits.

Published by Lance Wiggs


13 replies on “Vodafone fails to take advantage of Telecom woes”

  1. I doubt telecom or testra will take any notice of your posts, sadly. Both organizations have ‘experts’ that handle these things you know.


  2. I think you’re mixing up a couple of things there, Lance.

    Firstly, the ETC offer. Very simple – when you leave Telecom we’ll cover the cost of your ETCs. That’s why we need to see your final bill (no point wandering into a shop and saying “Telecom says my early termination charge is $4.2trillion thanks” without proof).

    We put the credit on your new Vodafone account and, if you sign up to one of those plans mentioned, we’ll give you a free Nokia. If you don’t want the free Nokia you can use that amount of credit ($400) towards a higher spec phone.

    If you choose to go to Telecom and argue that you won’t pay your ETCs and go to dispute resolution and win (for example) we don’t ask you for the money back, it’s all yours PLUS the credit on your account.

    Hope that helps – they’re two separate offers (ETCs and new handsets/credit for Telecom departures) but can be added together if you want.


    Head of Corporate Communications


  3. Nice work as always Lance, might need a proofread beyond spell-check though… (fist/first, date/data).

    Great to see a response from Paul (Quentin, are you impressed?) however it is obvious that the offer is poorly communicated.

    apart from simplifying the start pages I would think Vodafone should make it even easier:

    *offer to match(or better) the customers current telecom plan, make it simple, surely the plans are similar enough? otherwise have a plan comparison, ‘which telecom plan are you on?…’

    *make the two options future accessible, get the customer across to voda with the minimum confusion, same number on the vodafone network with the same phone. done, you got em. whenever they want to take the new phone they can, or just start the plan with $400 credit. when their final telecom bill arrives they take it in and get the credit to their account (or if vodafone can ensure it works perfectly actually pay telecom for the customer, this has the potential to get really messy though).


  4. Hello sir

    Very interesting series of posts, thank you.

    One thing I don’t understand – – the bit about changing your number at the end.

    With number portability as far as I understand you should be able to change network and hold on to your number.

    So that should be one less impediment to switching.

    (Although as a voda customer I must admit that when XT does work the data is astoundingly better than on voda. Damned if you do….)


  5. Got to say that is pretty cheeky of vfone. Heck, these problems have only affected one of telecoms two networks. Their Auckland to taupo network has been fine. Sure they have had problems, but they will fix eventually, and they have offered compensation. The fact is, when it is all fixed, it does offer more coverage area and better speeds than vodafones, and they will only have a fraction of the customers on that network, than what vfone has on theirs. Vfone also has issues from time to time, which don’t get picked up in the media, and as a Vfone cusomter myself, I have had calls drop out, and texts never received, but to report the issue, it would cost me to call their customer service.


  6. @the walker – nicely put. I think you’ve probably described the problem too. How to make the offer proposition simple and easy – yet capture every possible nuance at the same time.

    Here you could quote Gattung’s “confusion as it’s chief marketing tool”

    @Dr I don’t think it’s cheeky of Vodafone – I’m surprised that they didn’t get an offer like this going sooner. I mean – just take a look at Slingshots homepage message: The Notwork!

    @Paul – I think if Vodafone want to really strike while the iron is hot – it has to be clearer that the credit is available for any phone.


  7. I switched to Telecom because Voda didn’t give any compensation during their outages. Now with Telecom compensation, do you think I will switch to Voda? I am only considering between two degrees and staying with Telecom.


  8. @SteevoI don’t think it’s cheeky of Vodafone – I’m surprised that they didn’t get an offer like this going sooner. I mean – just take a look at Slingshots homepage message: The Notwork!

    As a previous slingshot customer, that is the pot (slingshot) calling the kettle (telecom) black. When I was with slingshot, I experience a few days of slingshots own ‘Notwork’ with ADSL outages, and all they do is blame their suppliers, and don’t offer any compensation. Hence I switched to another provider. They too have outages from time to time, but haven’t been as bad,

    The thing is, that all these networks have outages, the only difference is that the NZ media love to beat up telecom due to them being seen as the big bad boys. It is the ‘tall poppy syndrome’, where NZers don’t like people to get too successful, and will tear them down when they do.


  9. @Ash

    I have tried out 2 degrees and wasn’t impressesd with cusomter service. I wasn’t able to receive pix messages. When I phoned up they weren’t helpful, and said that someone would phone back. They never did. I can also only get a 2G connection on my 3G phone, so call quality isn’t good.


  10. @Dr – I didn’t know that about Slingshot – but have never been a customer of theirs. Outage + denial is unacceptable for any company.

    I don’t agree with you about the tall-poppy syndrome.
    That’s on old-dog way of thinking.

    The press though – will criticise anyone on evidence. Unfortunately for Telecom they’ve had problems – and they can’t get into the blame game, because the problems are of their own making.

    Back to my point though – if Vodafone want to be more successful and take more of the mobile market-share from Telecom, they should be more agile and aggressive to be able to do it – to become a Tall Poppy.


  11. Just been trying to get one of my kid’s onto a plan. What a nightmare. The website is so frustrating to navigate..or as Gattung said “confusing”.

    It’s so not customer focused.

    So keep the pressure up..who knows :-)


  12. I went into a vodafone store and was told yes they would do the $400 credit on an iphone instead of the Nokia and it would come off my first account. I have my first account and do you think there is a $400 credit. NOPE and do you think anyone will help me at Vodafone NOPE, so at this stage they’ve ripped me off, not to mention the first iphone I got was faulty and I had to get it replaced which wouldn’t be such a big deal if I didn’t live 3hrs from the nearest store… I’m not a happy customer right now.


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