A couple of weeks ago, I decided to say goodbye to Vodafone and switch to Dutch mobile provider Telfort. And with good reason. Or at least, that is my opinion. This week I got a questionnaire from Vodafone asking me why I was leaving them.
In essence that is a great move. Someone leaves you as a customer and you want to know why, so you ask them. However, what is my trigger to fill out the questionnaire? In this case, the only thing mentioned in the email announcing the questionnaire, was that all the answers will be kept confidential. As if that is of any concern to me. In fact, I am telling everyone who wants to know that I am leaving Vodafone and why. And the interesting part of this is that it is not even about the price. It is about my customer experience.
So, yes, my new Telfort subscription is cheaper and has the same network quality. But what triggered me to change providers is the way Vodafone treated me over the past months. In the past I have had my trouble with Vodafone, but usually their customer service solved the problems. Until now. A couple of months ago the Dutch providers have jumped the data train. Whatever was possible before isn’t anymore. Unlimited internet subscriptions are turned into limited versions while prices are multiplied. And if it remains unlimited, the speed drops down after a set amount of traffic. Annoying to say the least. So, I approached Vodafone Special Services (yes, a couple of years ago they told me I was a valued customer) to ask them whether they could give me my average data usage over the past couple of months. And then it went silent. I asked again and it stayed silent. I the end, I got an offer from another party to switch to their network. So, I called regular customer service and during our conversation on the length of my subscription, they told me that they could just give me the figure for the last three months. Apparently Special Services no longer thought I was a valued customer as nobody responded even though every customer service employee can see the answer to my question with a single click.
Was I unhappy with Vodafone in general? No. Over the past seven years I have been very happy about their services. However, if I spend around €1200 with you every year, I would at least expect the courtesy of answering a simple question. In the questionnaire they also asked me whether I was approached personally with an offer and whether that would have changed my choice. That is hardly a question. Of course it would have helped if someone would have contacted me and talked with me about my personal needs in mobile communications and how they could match that. And a good offer could have kept me with Vodafone. That call would at least have shown me that my relationship with Vodafone was a two way street. Now the feeling remained that my relationship with Vodafone depended on me. My money, my effort, my enthusiasm.
If a client leaves you, it is great to ask them why they are leaving. You can learn from it. However, it is much better to keep your customer from leaving you. Talk to them before they leave. Answer their questions. Show them that you value the relationship with them as well. That is not hard to do. Most people are quite happy with a call or a personal message. If you run a subscription service, make sure you contact your customers in time, to see whether there are better solutions you can offer. Your relationship with your customer is much more important to them than the actual price of the subscription. Because the perceived value is different.