8/18/2010 12:25:00 PM
Reviving Vodafone’s fortunes
Vodafone UK CEO Guy Laurence has kept a very low profile since he took on the role in January 2009. But he has hardly been idle. As he reveals in our interview in this issue, he has focused on overhauling Vodafone’s customer processes. Laurence argues that he has to get the basics sorted out first before bolting on the shiny services. No point having fancy offers out there if the network isn’t working and customers cannot get problems sorted fast. If the processes and customer service improve, so will the company’s image, which will lure customers and retain existing ones.
If that happens, then the revenue and potential for profit will also increase. Laurence is surely right in this, although he acknowledges it will take time. But is time on his side? The answer is probably. All the networks are under pressure financially now the industry has matured, and although the UK may be creeping out of recession, the economic outlook remains poor.
But Everything Everywhere is in the middle of sorting out the Orange and T-Mobile merger. O2 is the best performing network, but it has the challenge of sustaining an industry leading performance in a declining market. This may give Vodafone a window of opportunity. It has the advantages of being a challenger now with something to aim at, even if the goal is just to catch up at the moment.
One thing that Vodafone did get right was the decision back in 2006 to put its network in order. A year ago it became the first network to finish its IP core, integrating its 2G and 3G networks. It is now much easier and less costly to manage and the company can market the quality of its network with confidence.
There is no question that Vodafone still has a long way to go to be best in class, as Laurence acknowledges. But there is also little doubt that it is fighting back hard and its rivals will need to watch out.