For a few days I’ve seen the phone number 0808-something call my main handset. I haven’t been able to answer. I thought it might be someone from a utility company. British Gas, maybe? Or perhaps an insurance company.
This afternoon I had a spare few minutes when the phone rang again from that number. I picked up.
It was a chap from Vodafone. He introduced himself politely (“my name is Aminul”) and asked if I had a few minutes to talk — noting that I’d been specially selected for an offer.
“Go on then,” I said. We went through the usual security questions and then delved into the offer.
It was about iPads.
Would I like to buy an iPad, he asked, at a highly attractive rate. I listened.
The deal was simple and, I do have to admit, pretty attractive to me.
Normally Vodafone charge £229 for a 16GB 3G+WiFi iPad 2, along with the line rental on 18-month or 24-month agreements. Today’s special offer waived the £229 up-front cost on the basis of an entirely reasonable £26.60 per month deal, including 2GB of UK data. ‘Overages’ are charged at 5p per megabyte.
I pondered a little.
I’ve already got an iPad 2. It’s not the 3G version though.
And if you’ve been following my writings, you’ll remember that just two months ago, I had a similar call from Three UK. The guy from Three was calling to offer me something irrelevant that I didn’t want. When I said I’d be interested in something else, the Three chap apologised saying he couldn’t help. I even asked him for an iPad 2, since the phoned.
So that went through my mind as the Vodafone guy went through the sales pitch.
“I don’t think I can add a new line to my account,” I said. I’ve already got 5 lines, you see.
“Let me see,” Aminul said. He was flicking through his system and in a few moments said, “Well, I’ve done a credit check and you can have another line if you like?”
I paused for a few moments.
“Go on then,” I said, “Do you need me to do anything?”
“No, sir,” replied Aminul, I’ll just get it added to your account and it will be delivered tomorrow.
He went through the details once more — just so I was clear: No up-front cost, iPad 2 16GB 3G+WiFi, 24-month contract, £26 a month.
I confirmed agreement. Job done.
“You’ll get a text from us, along with a confirmation email,” he said.
I thanked him a lot.
What a sales approach.
First of all, this is excellent, excellent targeting. I’m not sure what specific segmentation Vodafone were doing, but it was definitely right to call me. One imagines they see I’ve already bought an iPhone and I’m a high-spending customer. That’s probably all the segmentation they need.
“Is there anything else I can help you with, sir?” asked Aminul, “Are there any products or services you’d also like?”
This is a dangerous question to ask me.
I toyed with asking him to sell me a MacBook Air. [I know that's impossible at the moment -- that's the subject of another post.]
I then thought carefully about whether or not I needed an HTC Sensation. Or a Galaxy S II.
You see, it’s pretty bad when the guy’s on the phone, being very helpful. It’s really dangerous. I could have ordered a ton of stuff.
Aminul actually cleared me for 2 extra lines and I was giving serious thought to getting two iPad 2s (one for Archie to play with — is 14 months too young?).
I think Vodafone should be doing a lot more of this.
I asked Aminul how business was with the iPad 2 offer. I suggested that he must be getting a good response rate.
“Seven out of ten are going for it,” he said.
Absolutely shocking. I wonder what the sales figures are like. Through the roof, if this experience is anything to go by.
I finished the call and then got a call back 5 minutes later from Aminul. Unfortunately the 16GB 3G+WiFi version had already sold out. (So business is good).
“Would you like the 32GB version? We’ve got them in stock right now, but it’s an extra £49.”
“Do it,” I said, “Do you need any money from me now?”
“No I can just add it to your account,” said Aminul.
Dangerous, yes — because I could have bought a heck of a lot more. But highly, highly exciting. I really enjoyed the experience. It was frictionless.
Well, reasonably frictionless. I didn’t have to get out my credit card and have to start quoting numbers at him. That was good. Also, mobile operator logistics are so good that I have every confidence the iPad will arrive tomorrow morning.
It was a super way to shop.
I had to smile when I thanked Aminul and said goodbye. He replied with, “Thank you Mr MacLeod. Thank you for choosing Vodafone, Britain’s best network.”
Take note, Three UK. Your guy WASN’T allowed to up-sell me.
So two-months later, my business went to Vodafone. That’s 700 quid you won’t ever see. Utterly ridiculous.
Brilliant work Vodafone.
Poor show Orange. Who never bother to phone me. Poor show Three. And poor show, o2.
I’d have bought from each of you. Vodafone asked so they got the business.