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The fly in the ointment of my Vodafone retail order experience

Following on from my super experience yesterday, I awoke this morning to an email from the Vodafone system telling me that my phone was going to be delivered this morning. Love it. There was some excellent integration with their courier, DPD, enabling me to track the delivery real-time and, if necessary, re-schedule it — all linked from the mail.

My wife got a text message reminder as well. Very smart. I can’t begin to imagine the pain that Vodafone’s logistics team must have had to go through to get all this connected and working smoothly. But if you consider the amount of hassle involved when a customer is *NOT* able to receive their delivery… you want to do everything you can to get it right first time.

So all this went smoothly. The courier arrived between 9am and 10am as promised. Excellent.

The fly in the ointment was SIM activation. This was the only disappointing part of the experience. I got the SIM ready and then located yesterday’s order email. There was an online activation link in that mail. I clicked it and was prompted to login to my Vodafone account.

And that’s when it all went to pieces. I am a ‘business’ customer. I think that’s because I have three lines. When I logged in, I was presented with a non-functioning consumer account screen. I logged out and in once more and arrived at the business account screen — it’s utter tosh compared to what the consumers get to see. I found the ‘Activate SIM’ page on the business account and typed in the SIM number.

The form failed.

I tried again.

It failed. I was prompted to ‘contact’ Vodafone.

I imagined I could hear a room full of Vodafone logistics experts screaming with frustration.

I phoned up Vodafone. I got through immediately to a chap in Upgrades. Alas he couldn’t help me with the nano SIM activation. So I called up again and selected another option. That seemed to be the right answer, but it took me three calls to establish they were reeeelly busy. So I chose the call-me-back option. A lady called me back 15 minutes later and helped me out with the activation.

So that’s perhaps something for Vodafone to examine.

All told, I’m still hugely impressed with the end-to-end service and logistics. Nice work Vodafone.


  1. Actually yes, their account websites are an abomination at present. I had similar issues activating my new SIM card – and had to resort to calling them instead.

    Same deal with the account management, but they are in the middle of upgrading their systems. Incidentally I was one of the first to be put onto their new system, so gremlins galore for the next few months.

    On the other hand, I have no issues with the Orange account site – looking up past statements is a breeze.

  2. Home account owners aren’t in a much better position when it comes to activating SIMs.

    I had to replace an existing SIM with a microSIM for an SGS3 recently, and it took 5 calls over 3 days to get it activated. It seems that the people I’d spoken to earlier had not done the right thing and the final person did, according to him anyway.
    Once it was activated, it took another 2 days before it would register on my SureSignal, which is the only way I get a signal at home. Primarily because the SIM is registered to the primary owner of the SureSignal so the normal methods don’t work and it was only the second person I spoke with who could figure out that the solution is to deregister the SureSignal and re-register it again with the same number.
    Not a good experience.


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