Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vodafail: Disgruntled customers become enterprising

Failure is a part of life. To put it simply "Shit happens". Vodafail is an outcome of this failure by a mobile network operator. Vodafail became a hit after its music clip, featuring comedian Sheona Urquhart, was launched just months after a disgruntled Vodafone customer Adam Brimo created Vodafail.com. Vodafail is a complaints website and Twitter feed that enabled tens of thousands of users to vent out their frustrations about Vodafone's poor service.

The enterprising nature of this customer activism is the result of two factors. A high failure rate and a high dependence on the service. The dependence on Mobile networks for internet and calling makes them pseudo-arteries of modern world. Any disruption virtually halts the activities of any user. For businesses, this means revenue loss. Failure is a part of any system, although we try to reduce errors by Six Sigma practices and achieve other operational efficiencies. But when such practices are not followed, the failure coupled with dependence leads to customer complaint behavior and negative word of mouth. This directly impacts brand trust, brand commitment and the brand equity of any organization.
In my model of customer frustration, a high probability of failure directly impacts customer frustration but is moderated by the effect of system dependence. Vodafail is an outcome of customer frustration, enterprising behavior and ease of deployment. Web technologies can be easily used to create integrable forums and portals. Social media is a way to promote these technologies and give them the reach. All these factors ultimately result in a negative impact on the organization providing the service.
About Vodafone
Vodafone Group plc is a global telecommunications company headquartered in London. It is the world's largest mobile telecommunications company measured by revenues and the world's second-largest measured by subscribers (behind China Mobile).