2/4/2009 12:40:00 PM
Which? kicks Vodafone in damning consumer report
Vodafone is meeting influential consumer charity and magazine, Which? this week, after a damning report ranked Vodafone’s retail stores among the worst of all high street retailers, coming in at 86th place.
The Which? report surveyed 14,000 people in total, and asked 276 shoppers about Vodafone.
Both Vodafone and Phones 4u scored particularly low for customer satisfaction, at 44%.
The results have shocked Vodafone’s senior management, which has invested heavily in improving customer experience, including a £15m store revamp two years ago.
Results prompted consumer sales chief Tom Devine to go on the Richard Bacon show on Radio 5 last Wednesday (28 January) to defend the business’s retail operations.
Devine said on the show: ‘It just doesn’t tie up with our information. We mystery shop every store twice a month. We get 5,000 pieces of information every month, and 80% of our customers rate us five out of five, or four out of five.’
He added: ‘I take [the report] seriously. We want to meet with the Which? team to understand what the customers said.’
Which?’s influence as the most respected consumer arbiter continues to grow as it has spread its research over a broad range of products and services, since it was first founded in the 1950s.
The magazine said its survey on Vodafone stores was credible, and T-Mobile stores were the only mobile company to have a higher number of people surveyed.
The Which? report stated: ‘The personal touch and friendly staff that you [consumers] have found in independents was favoured over the often pushy sales staff that you found in some branches of Vodafone and Phones 4u, the retailers you liked the least.’
Asked if he thought staff were pushy, Devine said on the show: ‘I really, really don’t. Pushing things on customers really doesn’t make sense, they will just bring them back. We will take the report on board, but we have 2,500 people who do a fantastic job for us every day.’
The report added: ‘One Which? member said staff at a branch of Phones 4u seemed more interested in selling specific products than giving customers what they wanted.’