Operators Opinion

An absolutely seamless experience at Vodafone Retail this afternoon

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.”

Right on.

“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.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

6 replies on “An absolutely seamless experience at Vodafone Retail this afternoon”

And to be fair they have put significant effort into their back office systems and processes for exactly this reason….nice to hear it is working

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