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When customer service startup GetSatisfaction first launched I was initially skeptical. It seemed like a good way of leaving customer support requests to be solved in a peer-supported way allowing you to provide little or no official support. However, it soon began to pickup larger support products such as Twitter which still seems to be it’s most active support area (not hard given the scale of twitter’s recent problems). I still couldn’t actually see how it was solving support requests until recently.

 

My new Blackberry Bold recently arrived and whilst I shall leave the full review to another post but so far I think it is by far the best phone that I have ever used.

Blackberry Bold

Blackberry Bold

However, when I first set it up, many of my applications were complaining of no Blackberry Internet Service which caused Blackberry Maps and some other applications to fail. By the time I discovered this it was a weekend so I couldn’t call the support line and go though the usual repeat 10 times “is it turned on sir?” and “do you have reception right now” before getting through to someone who maybe understands the issue. So I googled for the error and found a thread linked on the new Vodafone support e-Forums.

 

Wow. After a tiny amount of searching I found that the problem appeared to be linked with new Vodafone BB Bold’s being misconfigured in their factory configuration process by RIM. Many of the posters claimed that they had phoned the Vodafone support centre many times and were left with a helpless feeling that none of the operators understood the issue. This is a feeling that I’m almost certain you will have all felt before – that support centres are often not that helpful beyond reading you a list of general troubleshooting procedures from their internal support site. 

After reading the thread I registered myself on the forums and posted to the thread asking for help at about 12:35AM on Saturday night. By 08:04AM on Sunday morning there was a response from an official member of the Vodafone e-Forum team saying that I should check my email for the first steps towards help. After going providing them some account and security information as well as confirmation of the problem they got back to me first thing on Monday morning and by 9:00AM Monday morning, my BIS problems were sorted.

This whole experience left me with a great feeling of satisfaction surrounding the help I was given. Whilst this form of customer service will certainly not appeal to time-sensitive queries or to businesses, I found it to be my most gratifying customer service experience for a long time! Thank-you to the Vodafone eForum team and I truly hope that this service has enough support internally, I will certainly be writing to Vodafone to provide feedback on this service! 

 

Whilst these types of support forum contain the same types of poorly specified, badly spelled and possibly over-expletive filled posts that any forum contains, what amazed me was that without exception the team were very calm and were usually able to provide resolution. The eForum at Vodafone is a venerable gold mine of well researched information from official Vodafone staff members. No flim-flam answers about expected handset release dates, queries on phone unlocking (a contentious issue for networks) and even suggestions for gettign the most out of your plan or phone (the only way I found the fantastic BetaVine site) can all be found on the site.

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