The example of Vodafone and their 'Black Friday' LG deal is just one in a long line where every effort is made to part customers and their money but then the infrastructure and more importantly the human customer service are noticeable through their absence.
I do applaud one particular individual who did his best on the Vodafone forums to stem the tide of complaints, questions and queries but how can such a large organisation fail so spectacularly to make plans to back up their marketing and sales drive? (Being a Vodafone customer and having tried to use their website and get in touch with customer services I think I know the answer to that).
Another example is more personal - having bought a couple of Samsung Google Nexus 10" tablets last October, unfortunately one of them expired in November. I tried all the troubleshooting tips (several times) including standing on my head with one finger in my ear whilst holding down the power button and volume control at the same time. Alas, the tablet had ceased to be and the primary user (my daughter) was sorely missing her Minecraft fix.
So, I got in touch with Google support who told me to get in touch with Samsung support which I did. After being referred back to Google support (which I declined) I finally got through to someone who seemed to be able to help and they sent me (well, actually my better half) off to a 'local' Samsung support centre. Being close to Christmas by now, a trip was duly made to this centre who then denied all knowledge of being able to repair Samsung tablets.... wasted trip.
When I then called Samsung support for the fourth time, I got a half-apology for the wild goose chase and a suggestion that I arrange for the tablet to be sent in for repair. This of course meant no tablet tech over Christmas, but I was confident that Scrabble, the jigsaw and re-runs of Miranda would keep the beloved daughter happy.
The tablet was duly returned with a note from Samsung to thank me for sending my mobile phone in(!). However, according to their records my tablet (sorry, handset) was (and I quote) '.... originally manufactured and shipped to (UK - UNITED KINGDOM), and therefore is not covered by the European warranty and as such, we are unable to carry out a repair...'
Although it is a bit of a grey area, I do have a right to expect tech to last for a 'reasonable' amount of time and since this was actually a tablet (not a handset/mobile phone - note please Samsung) then it wasn't subjected to excessive wear or tear.
I was about to create a reply letter pointing out my rights and disatisfaction when I thought I would try getting in touch with Amazon, who sold me the tablet originally. With an immediate callback and a pause for debate (after all, I was past the official 1 year warranty - just), I was delighted to hear that Amazon would offer me a full refund, send me all the labels and instructions needed to return the item and within 10 minutes, received an email with everything needed.
When I got my refund, did I use it to buy a replacement Samsung Nexus tablet? Not likely!
Instead, I ordered the Nexus 9 (made by HTC) from the company that gave me the best service, namely Amazon and most likely won't buy another Samsung product again.
So, the moral of the Blog post is - don't forget the human side of your overall sales and marketing efforts.