ACCAN to Vodafone: Apology just the beginning

Work needed to get customers back, says consumer advocate group

Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) faces a long journey to restore its customer service reputation after chief executive, Nigel Dews, apologised for network outages, according to the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

ACCAN chief executive, Teresa Corbin, said that while she is pleased Dews apologised, she also wants VHA to send texts, emails or letters to customers who may have missed the blog.

“Vodafone has told us that the network failure was a special problem but the reality is they should have been more upfront from the start," she said. "The biggest problem has been the lack of communication about the problems the network was experiencing.

"Dews should have made the apology four weeks ago."

Corbin said ACCAN heard from many affected customers who complained to VHA but weren’t told there were problems with the network.

“Vodafone has seriously damaged their brand and customer service reputation by not keeping customers informed about what was going on,” she said.

She said VHA has learnt some valuable lessons and now has a section for network outages on its website, as well as an email customers can use to contact the company directly rather than having to email the VHA call centre.

“Our message to all telcos is this: Things do go wrong with IT and we accept that," she said. "But if you’re in the communications business, you have to let people know what’s going on or you will risk losing your customers for good."

ACCAN is also calling for more legislation of telecommunication companies to ensure customers are kept informed during network outages.

“We are now so reliant on mobile phones that this is essential," Corbin said. "There is provision for this with mobile lines and if telecommunication companies won’t self regulate, then more legislation may be the answer."

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAu

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Tags NetworkingTelecommunicationsVodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA)Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN)

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