john mcnamara

writing, gaming, inventing, hubby and daddy = me



Open Letter to Vodafone UK CEO

Hello Jeroen,

I don’t normally seek out exec members of the utility companies I use, but on this occasion the situation warrants it.

This morning at 8am i used your online Chat service to contact  a service rep around a query i had on insurance, my bill payment and accessing my online account (which i have never been able to do).

The query on insurance was sorted and was my misunderstanding. My bill however was wildly incorrect, and not something i was able to query easily before as i could never access the online service (I was falling into the trap of finding 20 mins to rectify the problem, contacting your customer services, getting bogged down in time hungry process &  ineptitude, running out of time & so resolving to sort it properly when I had the another opportunity). This time however, I would sort it. I had a free morning. Still though accessing my online account continued to be problematic. The first rep i chatted to offered to send a reset email and was confident it would sort it. Fair enough.

It didn’t, though, i still couldn’t access my account. So i then went on chat again. I expressed concern to the second rep’  that i needed to give all my info again and then explain everything again to another person. But he was personable enough and attempted about a dozen times to reset my account. After about an hour he said that although it could not be sorted now, that he had contacted his manager and that he had full ownership and that if i would just wait again for 40 mins, i would be able to log on. I made the point that i had been told this before and that i had spent now a significant amount of time of my Saturday on chat. And i would really hate to go through the process again with a 3rd rep. He told me that would not happen. He and his manager had full ownership. And they knew what the problem was and that i should expect an email which would resolve the issue. So as asked i trusted hm.

An hour later, nothing.

I went on chat again and asked to speak to the person i had been dealing with. Apparently this was not possible. So i enclosed the transcript of the previous conversation and asked rep number 3 to read it.  I’m not sure he did, as he did exactly the same thing the previous rep did 13 times before. I told the rep that simply doing the same thing over and over would not solve the problem and that it was not fair that a customer should have to deal with this for 3 hours repeating the same process over and over again. He told me that we were going to do it for a fifteenth time.  I said that it appears the customer service team simply get you to repeat the same thing over and over again for hours until you give up and go away. And that it wasn’t acceptable and that i wanted to complain about how i was being dealt with. I was told by the rep that i should complain to him directly, and that he would deal with the complaint. And that there was no complaints dept to talk to. I said i had no faith that it would be dealt with at all.

Finally, after asking him if this was a fair way of dealing with customers, to give them assurances so they will log off chat, then find nothing has happened, then go back on chat and repeat everything again, then be given another assurance and then leave chat, only to find again that nothing has happened again and to repeat for hours and hours until they give up? He told me that i could be assured that another email would arrive, and that i should log off then contact chat later to talk to someone else. He then logged off.

This is an abysmal way to treat your customers Jeroen. I am so tired of Vodaphone and i still after 4 hours of continually trying, cannot access my account.

Please let me know if you want the transcripts – i have kept them.

Just in case you might be tempted to take the numbers of reset attempts as hyperbole, here is my inbox with the reset notification mails


yours angry, frustrated and looking elsewhere

john mcnamara

Project Edge I

Hey folks,

I’d like to introduce you to an exciting new Cognitive project that we in the IBM Hursley Innovation Centre are working on with Imperial College. Our mission is to send a probe over 20 miles above the Earth, and use Bluemix, IBM Messaging, Watson and Watson IoT to parse the unstructured data from images taken from the edge of space, as well as performing tone analysis on tweets sent to the probe.

This is a Proof of Concept to determine how we might use this technology to create intelligent drones that can be used in the event of an emergency to identify people in distress along with any hazardous surrounding elements.

So lets get started…

First off, here is how you can interact with the probe (currently on the ground)

Tweeting @IBMICLSentinel with the hashtag

#getmap – to see where the probe currently is on google maps

#getdata – to receive data from the probe (altitude, temperature, pressure etc)

#getgallery – to receive pics from the probe

#tospace – to send your tweet into spaaaace… (so be sure to put a nice message please)

#gethelp – to get a list of hashtags that you can use…see below

ScreenHunter_771 Jun. 07 15.54

So, for example – to get back data from the probe you would tweet

@IBMICLSentinel can i #getdata please?

and you would have your probe data returned to your Twitter feed

OK – so lets hear from the Imperial team, as they give a rundown of their project…

Hope you enjoy it!




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