Vodafone UK has admitted that a botched migration of customer data into a new Siebel CRM system has led to a £54m crash in sales in the three months to the end of June.
The company said that “continued operational challenges” with the mobile customers’ billing system – introduced in 2015 – had led to the 3.2% drop in sales to £1.55bn due to a customer exodus.
However, it insisted that it had stemmed the flow of customers, reducing churn from 18.9% to 15.5% “supported by stabilising customer service levels”.
Vodafone first selected the Siebel CRM system back in October 2012, an implementation which was intended not just to service mobile customers, but also customers for fixed-line telecoms, data networking, TV subscriptions and other services.
But in addition to suffering from downtime, the system has also led to a flood of customer complaints about bills, including some who have continued to be billed even after contracts had been cancelled, others who have had their direct debits mysteriously cancelled, or have been shut out of online accounts.
Telecoms regulator Ofcom launched its own formal investigation into Vodafone in January following a spike in complaints during 2015 over the system. Vodafone was the most complained about telecoms provider in the three months ending in December 2015, due network failures that meant many users could not make and receive calls or were billed incorrectly.
Vodafone UK chief executive Nick Jeffrey recently announced a £15m investment in its call centres. He has also claimed that the billing issue was due to the transfer of customer accounts to the CRM system during 2015, although he maintained that it has now been sorted out.
However, there is evidence that difficulties have been simmering for at least three years following the implementation, with reports of downtime and other problems stretching back to 2013.
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