I’ve been mulling over the intersting dynamic between social media, customer care and value offering.
I got a call from a Vodacom saleswoman in about August 2011, she offered me a new contract for my 3G stick, 2 gigs at R149 pm, plus 2 gigs at some ridiculous time in the morning. At the time it was a deal. I signed up.
Last month, I cancelled my old cellphone contract, I had seen enough, and signed up at Vodacom. I soon realised that my phone was hamstrung without a data connection so I looked into data bundles. Hoping to add a gig of data to my phone at the advertised rate of R99 (for a 3G stick) – I was really disappointed to hear that wasn’t an option. Infact, it would cost R299 to add a gig to my phone contract.
So in summary,
R99 as a stand alone contract, but R299 as a data bundle for my phone.
took to Twitter, to engage with Vodacom’s customer care team.
The conversation played out below…
Over and above being frustrated with Vodacom’s pricing (which is the same as every other provider) – there’s something about the ethos of social media, and that of multi nationals that clashes – and frankly, misses the mark.
One one hand we have social media – where for the first time consumers have access to personal recommendations, and the transparency those bring. That is the fundamental of social marketing – all of the PR is cut out, leaving the value offering for all to see.
Historically insurers, mobile operators and banks can comfortably be lumped into the same group – corporations specializing in impossible-to-understand contracts, with more hidden fees than help desk assistants.
And here we have Vodacom, offering quick response customer care (and it is quick). But the offering remains the same. You can finally talk to someone… an actual person… but they have no power to help you. I don’t blame ^CN… he would probably lose his job if he’d said something more along the lines of…”Yeah, its total bull, you’re being charged 3x as much for the same thing”.
The interesting thing, is maybe that’s all I needed. Sympathetic customer care. Next year we can look at customer care that can affect the company’s value offering.