Dear Vodafone

30th June 2009
All posts

Dear Vodafone,

Your website sucks. I wasn’t feeling so strongly about it until your snarky posts on Twitter drove me up the wall, and your “the customer is always wrong” attitude sparked vengence inside me.

I was searching for account history in order to provide back up for my prepay usage on my mobile phone for tax purposes, but ran into so many dead ends I decided to post to Twitter to get some answers.

What I found is @vodafonenz’s decided lack of remorse, in fact posting (in part) that, “vodafoneNZ @natobasso I said YES the website isn’t good at support, it’s about selling phones.” Huh? The website is all about support, in fact, there aren’t that many pictures of phones on the site. Much of it is dedicated to help pages.

But those help pages don’t work from a usability standpoint. Why do I have to search for a help item only to be told I have to go somewhere else to actually find the answer when providing me a proper link to that page would do?

Not only that, pages that could easily link to more detailed account information are dead ends, not a link anywhere to be found for account history:

And the kicker is, and what completely contradicts @vodafonenz’s belief that the website is about selling phones and not service, is that the majority of the main navigation is about “help & support”, “Forums”, “Help with your Phone”, and “Service”.

Do you see a pattern here? I do. But @vodafonenz’s comments completely contradict what the site actually is and does.

Now regarding my exchange with @vodafonenz on Twitter. The Forums were brought up as a solution to this problem, and used as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that the website sucks. Well — I’m not buying it.

“vodafonenz @natobasso You’ve lost me. I’m asking you a genuine question. You said websites shouldn’t need forums. I disagree. Can’t we discuss that?”

But I’m also not saying that Forum is a bad service tool. They are great for that but the Forum wouldn’t be necessary if the website actually worked.

“Customers need support and the website was set up for selling phones. Different mission.”

Huh? If the site truly is about “selling phones” then by gosh remove all the help and support links and pages and add some “selling phones” links and pages instead.

Anyone who followed the Twitter thread from its inception saw me asking why it was so hard to find the information I needed, only to be lead on a strange, sarcastic journey ending in hypocrisy.

Hey, at least Vodafone is getting more publicity out of it. Hopefully I don’t look like a complete dick for bringing it up on Twitter and then blogging about it, but I’m pissed off that I wasted my precious free time on this colossal waste of time. My two year old is more logical and responsive, truth be told. Oh, and thanks Blogger for deleting my post halfway through so I could redo it, that was awesome.

Rant over. I’m moving on.

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Nathaniel Flick

I'm a Front End Web Developer passionate about usability. My primary specialties are HTML5, CSS3, SCSS, LESS, and jQuery and I am very familiar with Foundation and Bootstrap frameworks. I've worked on top of and with Rails, Python, and ASP.net/Umbraco back end frameworks.

  • Su Yin

    Heya Nathaniel,
    I hear ya loud and clear. It's good that you're spelling it out for Vodafone to take action because it'll only be win-win for everyone.

    @VodafoneNZ may come across as being super obnoxious sometimes but I suspect that there may be some sort of corporate structure that is preventing any of your suggestions from becoming a reality. Which probably gets his knickers in a twist more than you know it.

    This reminded me of something @danatlitmos tweeted a few days ago. Dustin Curtis 'redesigns' American Airlines' website and gets a reply from a UI designer.

    On the other hand, didn't they just hired a new web designer? Here's hoping!

    And now … to get them to slash their unreasonable pricing plans. Grrr.

    Cheers
    Su Yin