MAD Week: What do Vodafone and Seinfeld have in common?

MAD Week: What do Vodafone and Seinfeld have in common?

Understanding a customer’s emotional response is more important than giving them rational reasons to buy your product or service because “feelings are facts”, Vodafone’s head of customer experience quality and insights told the audience at MAD Week’s Customer Conference.

David Hovenden
Posted by David Hovenden

Robert Glennon said that Vodafone had a pretty rough ride in the past few years and while it was partly network issues, it was also because the phone company had an internal way of working and poor leadership and culture.

One thing that having very high churn rate gave Vodafone, however, was that it managed to get great insights into the end of a relationship with a customer and what the implications of that mean. As it turns out, Glennon argued, “managing the leaving process is very important . . . most Australians have three mobile phone providers ticked off”. Just like Elaine in Seinfeld, Vodafone learned the importance of being a good breaker upper.

“Whether you like it or not, you’re in the business of managing emotions,” said Glennon.

In other words, he said customers often joined with their heads, but almost always left with their hearts. And because a customer had left, it was how bad the break up was that determined whether they would come back.

He also argued that the best service for many customers is no service at all . . . let them serve themselves. “The mobile is the remote control for your life and therefore it should be the remote for your Vodafone experience. When a customer calls your call centre, you’ve already let them down . . . they’re not calling to wish you a happy birthday.”

“Causing customers to have high effort experiences is a disaster for customer satisfaction . . . the true measure is the effort to interact with you . . .the expectations are incredibly high,” he said.

Because expectations are so high, he said he was astounded that companies did not have a customer experience map. “The beauty of customer journey mapping is we know exactly where we have a market differentiating point. We know our weaknesses and our strengths,” he said.

He also said that the first stage of good customer experience was consistency. “It doesn’t have to be stellar, but it does have to be predictable,” he said.