powertoyouI wrote the other day about delighting your customers not just pleasing them. The focus was all about behaviours and leadership, not technology or social media tools (although all of those things are intertwined in so many ways).

“Delighting the customer” is a phrase foreign to Vodafone in the UK, if my recent experience is any guide. Indeed, for this mobile operator, giving the customer an expectation of only the bare minimum of service seems equally foreign.

To be fair, I know many who are delighted with Vodafone and its service. I don’t know how many of those delighted customers have used Vodafone’s customer support service, though. Right now, I am the opposite to my delighted friends – I’ve had an appalling experience with Vodafone this past week that, as I write this, is still only partially resolved.

I wrote a long email to Vodafone support today, and decided to publish the text here on my blog in the hope that such public transparency might help a conclusion arrive.

If you have comments, thoughts, ideas,etc, feel free to offer them, here or anywhere you prefer online, an offer I have also made to Vodafone.

Thanks.

[Update Sept 26: Also see the Updates at the end of the post.]

Dear Vodafone,

Today is one week since I upgraded an out-of-Vodafone-contract iPhone 3GS to a new Vodafone contract with an iPhone 4S, arranged in your Reading store. It’s also a week that we’ve had this phone sitting in its box, unable to be used: unable to make or receive phone calls, unable to send or receive text messages, and unable to synchronize the device with iTunes, install iOS6, use apps, etc.

In sum, we’re unable to enjoy the benefits of a device for which I paid an up-front sum and signed a contract on September 18 – when the meter started running, as it were, on the good and services you were to provide under the terms of the contract. As you have all my details, you’ll know the contract number, phone number, etc.

As our email correspondence, our exchanges on Twitter and a few telephone conversations make clear, the new microSIM card for the iPhone 4S was not properly activated in your store and attempts to activate it at home, following your website instructions, have failed. In one of our phone conversations last week, one of your team members did tell me that the SIM card was faulty, one of a batch that were faulty, and a replacement card would be sent. You’ll know from your records that this promise was made twice on different occasions.

So a full week has passed by without my wife being able to enjoy her new iPhone 4S. The replacement SIM card finally arrived in the post today; more on that in a minute.