Vodafone UK: We've had 'sub-optimal' customer service, admits CEO

The CEO of Vodafone UK has acknowledged that much of the company's customer-facing processes were 'sub-optimal'. Instead of making the required investment to resolve the issues, the CEO admitted that customer problems were passed over to the company's call centre to fix.

At the heart of the problem, said Guy Laurence, Vodafone's UK CEO, was the antiquated IT systems within the company. "Our IT needed substantial upgrading. But sorting out IT takes time and customer processes are very complex in a business this big. My view is that we are about 50 per cent of the way through that. There is still a long way to go."

In a display of openness, Lawrence confirmed that Vodafone UK was focused on putting right the customer experience. "Bolting the fancy stuff on afterwards is not the big ticket issue financially or in any other way. It is about getting the basics right and that takes time."

Other issues being tackled by the company include improving the speed to market with products and services, especially on the web. This includes, said Laurence, removing the silo working mentality between departments to resolve the disjointed approach to advertising and marketing.

However, the CEO maintains that the company's network has the best coverage and reliability, and has been the first to fully integrate its 2G and 3G networks. The company claims that this approach means it can scale up the network to manage the increasing use of data, a strength it has been using as a key message in its new advertising campaigns

Looking forward, Laurence still has some problems to fix: "We need to continue to focus on improving the customer experience; sort out our pay-as-you-go offering, especially in terms of improving customer rewards; bringing our One Net converged services product into the market properly and start scaling it up; and exploit the new opportunities that are out there with things like M2M."

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