This afternoon I headed out to Vodafone’s Richmond store. My intent was to order an iPhone 5 to be delivered ‘soonish’ for my wife. She’s still on an iPhone 4 and every flipping time I see a photo or video from her, I want to grab the thing and throw it across the room. Yes the camera was good back in 2010 but now it’s really dated. I want our memories, particularly those featuring our children, to gracefully degrade. So I want the best camera phone possible for her, but in the right package. For the moment that means iPhone.
I brought my bank statements — I even brought my passport. I couldn’t remember if I needed anything beyond my account details and password to identify myself but I wanted to be sure.
I walked into the store at 10 minutes past the hour. I walked out 5 minutes later, job done. It was a fantastically smooth experience.
I was astonished.
I told the chap what I wanted. He looked me up on the system, confirmed my identity and confirmed the upgrade availability. We talked price plans for about 10 seconds because I’d already done the research. I agreed to keep the painfully expensive insurance (which we’ve claimed on twice in the last year, so actually, it’s worth it!). He did some jiggerypokery on his computer console whilst I admired the newly refurbished store decor.
“Do you want to pay now or have the fee charged to your monthly bill?” the chap asked.
I paused for a moment. I had been expecting to have to fork up the cash there-and-then. Eventually I decided!
“Stick it on the bill!”
“Right, that’s all done for you,” he said, pushing away from his console, standing up.
“Er, do you want me to sign anything?” I asked.
He smiled broadly at me shaking his head, “No, that’s fine, the order is in the system.”
“And you’ll send the SIM card with the iPhone, then?” I prompted.
“Yes it’ll be in the pack, sir.”
“Ok I’ll call up and activate it tomorrow,” I replied, for my own sanity, “Thank you very much.”
I actually reached over and shook his hand. It was a painless experience. For a moment I thought about buying something else. Indeed if he’d prompted me, I reckon I’d have probably bought some more stuff. A Galaxy Note II perhaps. Or an SIII. Or both. Or a new iPhone for myself. But I was being sensible.
I walked out the shop and checked my phone — an email had just arrived from Vodafone:
Now that is ‘connected’.
It had all the right details. Amazingly. It made me feel rather good — like the company was actually connected and able to serve me. Vodafone and I go way back. I’ve had quite a time with them over the years (and, I’m sure the feeling is mutual with some members of the company!). So my expectations weren’t set too high.
I then got a text from my wife. She was delighted. She’d just got the news about her upgrade because Vodafone sent her a notification.
I have to say it was utterly seamless. I just walked in, specified the price plan, agreed to the charges and boom.. job done.
I just hope the company explores the possibility of offering more products and services so that I can continue to do business that way. See my notes about buying a MacBook Air in this manner.
Can you imagine the excitement that would reverberate around the UK’s tech scene (and beyond) if Vodafone suddenly started offering an £849 MacBook Air for £35/month along side your new iPhone or iPad?
Anyway good news Vodafone. Well done. The end-to-end experience was simply brilliant.
Update: Check out my experience the next day.