theolynn

Johnny Drama and why I dumped my iPhone 3G and possibly Vodafone too!

In Apple, Bad Customer Service, BlackBerry, Business cases, Galaxy, iPhone 3GS, iTouch, Mobile Computing, Samsung, World Expo 2010 on August 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm

To clear one thing up – I accept that the iPhone is an iconic mobile device and piece of industrial design. No argument there. However a couple of weeks after a month of using my free one, I have dumped it and reverted to my BlackBerry Bold. Why? Because the iPhone is a consumer device and I think the BlackBerry is a business one. And the Vodafone/Apple technical support for iPhone sucked while I have never had to use technical support for my BlackBerry…it really is that simple.

Vodafone gets iPhone....yes, indeed

After a year or longer of listening to 02 iPhone fanatics, Vodafone got iPhone and so did I – it was free after all. For the month I used my iPhone, I was addicted. I already had an iTouch for around the house at home and enjoyed the apps and having web access via my phone 24/7/365; I, like many, often bemoaned the slow browser access on my Bold. From my perspective, email on a BlackBerry Bold is close to perfect but writing email, particularly detailed ones, on an iPhone is an irritant. The bad email user experience on email on an iPhone ironically has an upside – while you read the same number of emails, you don’t respond as much and thus it could be argued that it is less intrusive and addictive. Is the iPhone a cure for the “Crackberry Addiction?” However, email is my main communication mechanism. I found my self less productive. Why? The time I spent not replying to emails (and being productive) was transferred to less productive activities on my iPhone – using apps (and especially Tweetdeck) and browsing the web. But even then, I didn’t give up – not until I travelled with my iPhone.

As documented elsewhere on this blog, I recently travelled to China and for the first two days my iPhone functioned perfectly – I had my camera, World Expo apps, my Chinese transport apps, access to Tweetdeck, email and other cloud-based systems needed for work back in DCU all in one device. One other iPhone user had problems but after awhile they seemed to correct themselves – maybe it was the humidity? I didn’t care – mine worked fine. Then two days in, I tried to enter my passcode and it didn’t work. Try a few more times. No luck. My iPhone tells me to wait a minute and try again. I wait. Still doesn’t work. My iPhone tells me to wait fifteen minutes. I try again. No luck again. Wait an hour. Try again. No luck. Wait four hours. Try again. No Luck. Sync to MacBook Air. Try Again. The loop starts again. I am in some postmodern Escher iPhone hell…..in China.

The next morning I try my sim card in another iPhone. It works. I ring Vodafone Customer Support. They tell me to enter the passcode. See paragraph above. They transfer me to Technical Support. They tell me to enter the passcode. See paragraph above. It must be my sim card. My sim card works on other phones – why not this one. Resync with your MacBook Air. See paragraph above. Call back. I call back and get transferred to Apple Technical Support. Repeat process. Then where has Apple Support gone?  I have got cut off. I ring back – they close at 1945 – they take this seriously. I never hear from Apple Support again. I ring Vodafone – they suggest replacing the Sim. I am stuck in China with 24 students and no phone. Hell.

BlackBerry Bold

BlackBerry Bold

I get home, my Sim works in my BlackBerry. At least I am back where I started from. Vodafone have a Sim card waiting for me. My Passcode still doesn’t work. I ring Vodafone Customer Support. Can I drop in to a Vodafone store and send it for repair? No Problem. I drive over the the Vodafone Store in the Pavillions, Swords and leave it in. I fill out a form giving my mobile and office number.

Vodafone Retail Swords - Avoid At All Costs

Vodafone Retail Swords - Avoid At All Costs

Four weeks go by, no word from Vodafone. I drop in to check what the status is. I wait for 2-3 minutes while the girl behind the desk looks at her text messages and laughs – my little boy is bored; I am getting increasingly irritated. She finally notices me. My phone has been there for three weeks – it apparently is not an iPhone handset supplied by Vodafone. I explain there must be a mistake, no mistake. They contacted me three weeks previously to tell me. How? By text. I received no text. Why didn’t they call my office? No response – not even an attempt at an explanation – just a blank response. I explain that I got the phone from Vodafone – I have been a Vodafonecustomer for over 13 years. It’s not a Vodafone-supplied phone – the IMEI/Serial code is incorrect. How can this be so? The code on the iPhone Sim Code Tray does not match the one on my file. Could it be that the handset is the one supplied and then when I tested the sim in another phone (as per Vodafone instructions) the sim card tray got mixed up? Possibly. Did they check the IMEI/Serial number on the iPhone software with the one on my iTunes or Vodafone account? No. Can they send it back? No. I insist. Ok. At this stage, my wife has taken my kid next door for a coffee as I have been in the shop for 15 minutes getting increasingly frustrated. Things couldn’t get worse. They did.

At this point, the person I am dealing with is re-entering my information in the “Vodafone Equipment Returns Form”. The original one, has the very same person’s contact details – let’s call her Samantha (not her real name) and as previously mentioned my mobile and office number. She rekeys the data and prints for me to see. She no longer calls herself Samantha as the Contact – she is now called “Johnny Drama” – JOHNNY DRAMA! Now I am annoyed. Does she think this is funny? Who is her supervisor? She isn’t working. “Johnny Drama” is the default contact. What’s her name? She does not want to give me her name. Could it be Samantha as per the original details on the “Vodafone Equipment Returns Form”. What is worse? She no longer has my contact details right or lists my office details. I have had enough.

iPhone 3G Simcard Holder

iPhone 3G Simcard Holder

Less than a week later Vodafone telephone me to tell me my iPhone is ready for collection. My wife collects it, I take it, put it in to the original box and in to a drawer never to be used again.

What particularly angers me is that in DCU we have literally thousands of students who would like Samantha’s job and could do it ten times better. What is worse? I was a loyal BlackBerry user – Apple had me and now have lost me. And what is even worse again? I am a loyal and good Vodafone customer – I have brought over one hundred customers to Vodafone through my related companies over 13 years. I am a shareholder (although admittedly only through the Eircom fiasco). I may switch to another carrier and I am going to tell more than ten people (See note 1 below), a lot more.

PS – My BlackBerry Bold has never let me down. I still use my iTouch. I am looking at a Samsung Galaxy for personal use.

Note 1. A common customer service anecdote is that one unhappy customer tells ten others; a happy customer tells only 4. This has been superceded by the power of the Internet to spread information. See The Microeconomics of Customer Relationships by Fred Reicheld for a brief discussion on a related topic.

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  1. Does the fish rot from the head? Check out “Now Steve Jobs Is Having An Email Pxxxing Match with A College Journalism Student” on http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-in-email-pissing-match-with-college-journalism-student-exclusive-2010-9#ixzz0zsqRwRV6

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