CRM insanity

So, I have a few niggling problems with my iPhone, including dropped calls and poor call quality leading to lost business. I have been advised (by Vodafone tech support) that a new handset might be required.

I have upgraded the SIM (which should have been done by Voda when I got the phone but wasn’t).

Vodaphone have been telling me for the past few weeks that they have no stock. Carphone Warehouse today told me they have stock, just not for existing customers.

This makes very little sense to me.

In effect I’m walking up to Vodafone and saying “hey, I’d like to be handcuffed to you to the tune of at least €720 over the next 12 or 18 months.”

Vodafone are saying “feck off, we are holding out for someone else who MIGHT come along at some point in the future, we don’t know when.”

Of course, the policy doesn’t seem to take into account that I’m a home phone customer and a mobile broadband customer.

That’s another €1000 approx per year just in rental. and I’m out of contract on those too… No barrier to migration.

It doesn’t take into account that my wife is on Vodafone as well. Another €720 per year approx. She’s out of contract soon too.

It doesn’t take into account that I’m an ‘influencer’ on the mobile provider purchasing for about 10 other people. All of whom are up for renewal soon. That’s around another €700 per person.

Then let’s take into account that I’m a blogger and a tweeter with a large network. No direct bottom line impact but there is brand impact.

So. I’m actually worth about a measurable €10000 to Vodafone.

Versus the speculative €700 plus an unknown that the new connection (who incidentally isn’t actually buying iPhones at the moment) might be worth.

Carphone Warehouse told me that in the past week they’ve had a number of customers who have cancelled Vodafone contracts for just this reason.

So, does the revenue from one speculative customer outweigh the value of a half dozen existing customers?

I would love to see the data that says it does.

As markets mature the focus on new customer acquisition metrics becomes increasingly sociopathic and inappropriate. Managing churn is a big challenge in telco. Creating policies that effectively mandate churn is just insane CRM.

As markets mature the focus needs to be on retaining where the cost of doing so is less than the revenue (and it usually is) or where the strategic value of locking the customer in is worth investing.

As markets mature the focus has to shift to moving customers up the value chain and maximising share of wallet to underpin ARPU.

Vodafone had me in lockin across 3 markets. I was happy enough with costs. I was probably going to purchase additional services for my business.

Now they don’t. And my € 10000 per year customer value will be going to other operators over the coming weeks. Starting with the €1200 I personally spend on mobile and fixed line communications.

Idiots.

Posted in Customer Service.