Vodafone in damage control: Company dismisses class-action lawsuit and pumps local customer service teams

Vodafone has attempted to brush off fears of a mounting class action against the company, but at least one expert warns it will take a few more years for the embattled telco to restore its reputation in the eyes of customers.

New comments from chief executive Bill Morrow indicate the company isn’t concerned about the impact of the class-action, while also claiming it will roll out the fastest 4G network in the country later this year.

New reports also suggest the business is attempting to boost its local workforce by hiring more customer service workers in Tasmania.

“I think it’ll take them four to five years to come back from the issues they had back in 2010 and 2011,” independent telco analyst Chris Coughlan told SmartCompany this morning.

“When Vodafone first launched it had a bad reputation, and it didn’t take off because of that. It’s just going to take the company a while.”

Morrow says the business has received no negative impact from the class-action, which he argued hasn’t even gotten off the ground.

“There is not a class action suit actually filed but an ongoing attempt to actually gather one, first launched in 2010. The firm is claiming to have 23,000 signatures, the same number they reported two years ago,” told The Australian.

“If there is any customer who is unhappy with their service, for any reason, we want to hear from them.”

The comment comes after law firm Piper Alderman said last week it would proceed with the class action within three months.

The action began in 2010 after complaints over poor signal coverage, and was exacerbated in 2011 when the company suffered downtime over the Easter break.

The slow rollout of the company’s 4G network has also been used as evidence the company is falling behind, although Morrow says the company’s will be the “fastest” in the country by the end of the year.

Morrow told The Australian, “We are going to be able to offer the fastest data speeds available” because of the network’s ample spectrum.

“So we are the only ones today, and at least until 2015, that can offer the fastest 4G speeds but we haven’t exploited that enough yet.”

The company confirmed this morning it has no timetable for rolling out 4G services, although a spokesperson confirmed “mid-year” this morning.

The damage control also continued this week as the company confirmed it would increase the number of staff at its Tasmania call centre, with Morrow saying the business has received the message customers want to speak to someone in Australia rather than overseas.

Despite all these moves, which Coughlan says are all good things, it’s simply going to take time for the company to improve its image.

“I think they’re doing most of the right things, including spending more on the network and trying to fix all the problems they had in the past.”

“But it’s just a matter of time, and it’s a matter of just making sure their performance continues to lift.”

Vodafone is spending over $1 billion this year in network upgrades.



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