Saturday, March 01, 2008

Vodafone introduces a new P in marketing

One of our phones is a Vodafone serviced one. (When Hutch became Vodafone etc.) The phone has always at the receiving end of SMS's exhorting us to buy ring tones we do not want to download, contests we do not want to participate in and a lot of other junk.

Now, ever since Vodafone took over, it has gotten even worse. They call you up using an automated line with a human voice pestering you to buy things you dont want and offers you have not solicited. And, if we cut the call before it is over (we dont even know how long it lasts since we now disconnect almost all unknown numbers) you get a friendly SMS, almost instantly. The SMS reads, "Hello. We tried to reach you on your Vodafone Prepaid to offer you lower calling rates @ just Rs. 39. For details call us back at 55505 (Toll free)."

Of course there are a few variants, but the standard operating procedure is this, call up and send an SMS.

My question to Vodafone. Whoever taught you that in marketing, there is a fifth P (apart from the already known 4) in marketing, Pester? It is wrong. Pester power works only when there are kids at home, not on a phone service. If you pester your customers too much they will leave you. The same applies for shops where you have a nosey attendant standing beside you, almost watching you browse - the small inclination that you would have to buy would fly away when you see an agent nearby wanting to "help". I remember this used to happen in Bangalores Kemp Fort some years back. I visited that place exactly once and decided to never visit it again because of this.

Vodafone, well, I think we will hang around somehow till number portability, but then again, customers are not to be taken for granted. A simple thing to do is this, at the end of the message, leave a tip, SMS cancel to this number if you dont want to hear these messages again.

1 comment:

Anand Gadiyar said...

I've been a Vodafone user for just under four years now. I have never had a single problem with junk calls from them. Vodafone is quite sensible if you call them up and ask them not to disturb you.

However this problem is very common with Airtel landlines. You don't really have a choice. Switching out from Vodafone to any other service provider is not likely to solve the problem.