Mobile Engagement

Vodafone’s first-quarter sales have declined amid customer service and technological problems. The company has recently updated its billing system, which has left many customers with incorrect invoices and poor customer service ratings.

The issues have caused a 3.2 per cent fall in sales to €1.84 billion (£1.54 billion) over a three-month period due to loss of customers. In comparison, Vodafone experienced flat growth in the previous quarter.

The mobile network claimed its customer base of 18 million was stabilising, however, and said it had added 26,000 new UK customers in the last quarter.

Also the rate of customer unsubscription has fallen from 18.9 per cent to 15.5 per cent over a three-month period.

Overall service revenues also increased by 2.2 per cent to €12.3 billion (£10.35 billion) in this time period, excluding financial impacts of new acquisitions and shop openings and closures.

It has also experienced enforcement of a cap on roaming fees by the EU, which will precede a full ban being introduced in June 2017.

It therefore remains to be seen if Brexit will impact whether the ban will be lifted or not.

This news comes after Vodafone was named the most complained-about mobile operator in the UK earlier this month by regulator Ofcom. The firm experienced 29 complaints per 100,000 customers, significantly higher than the industry average of nine per 100,000 customers.

The company also reported a significant decrease in customer complaints between April and June, which it has attributed in part to the £15 million customer service investment it made last month.

This saw the employment of an additional 600 customer service advisers, bringing its total number to 1,400.

The company also invested in 72,000 extra hours of training for its employees and opened a new call centre in Glasgow, in addition to those based in Newark, Leeds, Manchester and Stoke.

Vittorio Colao, Vodafone’s chief executive, said: “We are focused on improving our performance in the UK. In Europe, our growth remains stable despite regulatory pressure on roaming revenue, with good performance in Germany, Spain and Italy.”

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