Vodafone messed up!

Vodafone used to have the best customer service ever in Egypt.  I was extremely happy that finally a company in Egypt knows the true essence of customer service and knows how to handle its customers’ requests. Whether over the phone or through a walk-in visit, I used to have all my questions answered and all my requests done in no time.

Recently though they adopted a new system in their outlets.  Obviously they hired a new manager who wanted to prove that he did something and associate his name with a new system.  Well, it is terrible!!! Whenever you need to pay your invoice you have to wait for at least an hour (if not more) and why??? Because of the weird system.

While you are getting in, you are asked to say your mobile number and the reason for the visit and then a piece of paper is printed for you that should indicate your turn.  You have to wait until they call your number to go to one of the customer support representatives. Until this point, it is ok.  BUT what is really not ok is:

  1. The system generates random numbers.  So you can have number 110 and you find that 345 is called and served before you so you never really know when your turn will come.  This is VERY bad as you can not estimate how long you will wait and it really gets on your nerves while waiting.
  2. All representatives serve all purposes, so you can be there to pay your invoice and you wait for someone who is still signing a contract for the first time and is asking about the different offers and bouquets, so you wait for ever! (although inside the branch they tell you that every representative is for one purpose only….not true)
  3. The system goes down too frequently and so you have to wait again until it is up and running
  4. The representative even leaves his station and goes to the mobile phones section to answer questions for customers who want to buy mobile sets!! can’t that be done by a specialized represntative.
  5. The queues of people waiting to be served are so long and very slow to move that you get disappointed once you reach the outlet and before even getting in
  6. It is possible that you are the first person to walk into the outlet while it is still opening and the last to move out! and do not ask me how, but it happened to me!

I have seen a lot of people complaining in the branches.  I have seen people leave without doing what they came to do because they could not wait any longer and I have seen people and I am one of them who filled in a complaint in the cards they leave in all branches to collect customers’ reviews. And in spite of all that Vodafone management is not responding and the system is not being changed or updated.  I wonder why?

This is a typical example of bad management.  they rushed into installing the system before making sure that it will serve its purpose. And what is even worse is that they are not responding to their customers’ complaints.


The Three Pillars

In my opinion a true manager needs to follow the strategy below to succeed and deliver results:

  1. Being a role model
  2. Reward
  3. Punishment

I call them the three pillars that a manager uses to hold and stabilize his strategy.  If every manager follows the three simple steps above, he will gain the respect of his employees. They will love him and will make sure not to upset him, and hence will deliver more than he expects out of them.  And they must be followed in exactly the same order as listed above.

Start by being what you want them to be, and then apply a reward system to motivate them when a reward is due and finally a punishment system to penalize when needed as well.

Being a role model means that you have to do yourself first what you want your employees to do.  If you want them to come on time to office, then you must be the first one to arrive.  If you want them to perfect their work, then you must perfect yours first.  If you want them to be hard workers and always meeting their deadlines, they must see you doing that.  It is exactly like raising a child, if the parents keep preaching their child not to lie, and then they lie in front of him, he will definitely be a liar no matter how much they keep telling him not to lie.  It is what you “do” not what you say that really matters.

Then following that, you must start rewarding exceptional employees and results oriented ones.  Always focus on the results.  Whoever delivers and excels earns himself a reward.  The reward can be monetary, can be a raise, a promotion or even a thank you letter and certificate of appreciation.  It can be anything that motivates the staff and encourages them to do more and excel.  I will go back again to the example of raising a child.  Your toddler will never know that he has done something right until you clap your hands and tell him encouraging words, or take him out to his favorite place, or play his favorite game with him.  You must make your team feel that you are happy and satisfied with their performance when they are doing well.  It is the nature of human beings to excel when they are encouraged and motivated.  Once they feel that no matter how hard they work, you never appreciate their efforts, they will stop trying.

The last step is the punishment.  You have to establish a punishment system and apply it on employees who deserve it by missing deadlines or showing signs of negligence.  Your punishment system has to be wise and gradual.  When to apply the punishment is an important question and how to apply it is even more important.  Sometimes the punishment has to be in private, between you and the employee only.  And some other times, it has to be in public to make sure other employees learn the lesson too. Never start by a very harsh punishment or else you will not have room to make a harder punishment the next time.

If you start punishing before encouraging and rewarding it will backfire.   Again like your toddler, you first explain to him that he must not lie and then you never lie in front of him and then reward him and encourage him when he admits a mistake and does not lie and the final step is to punish him when he lies.  If you put any step of those before the other, the formula will not work and the end result will never be good.

Are We Passive? … Survey Results

Below are the results for the Survey I posted before. I must say the results are interesting. The results made me wonder, did people answer the questions with what they would really do or with what they think is right…. And there is a big difference

I received 296 views for this post and 81 out of those answered the survey (27% response rate). 9 out of the 81 skipped some questions.

Q.1 What would you do if your workload becomes constantly too high that you have to stay late at night everyday and come over the weekends as well?

  1. keep complaining hoping that your managers will listen and hire more people or manage the workload …until eventually you quit if they do not listen.
  2. Work with half Quality and half energy to avoid wearing out.
  3. Work very hard and never complain and accept sacrificing your personal life.
  4. Quit.


Q.2 What would you do if you never get any appreciation for your hard work (no bonus, no raise, no promotion and not even a good word of appreciation)

  1. Quit
  2. Become demotivated after a while and your work quality starts to degrade.
  3. Just keep working very hard and doing good work regardless
  4. Talk all the time about your achievements hoping that they will appreciate it someday.


Q3. What would you do if your manager promotes someone else because he likes him better when you are the one who deserves the promotion?

  1. Quit.
  2. Make a big issue and complain to his managers in an attempt to change the situation….and then quit if they do not listen.
  3. Accept and keep working.


Q4. What would you do if your manager keeps shouting and yieling all the time and creates a stressful environment around the office

  1. Try to get to his managers to get rid of him
  2. Stand up for what is right, even if this means you will clash with him
  3. Quit.
  4. Try to befriend him and agree with him all the time to avoid his temper, even if he is wrong.


Q5. What would you do if there are no more challenges in your job and nothing new to learn and even no promising career path?

  1. Try to be creative and improve your job yourself.
  2. Accept and keep working
  3. Quit


Q6. What would you do if there are a lot of distractions in your daily work and your manager keeps asking you to attend to things that waste your time and delay your actual work?

  1. Talk to him and try to convince him that these are time wasters … and eventually quit if he does not listen.
  2. Refuse to do anything that is not in the core of your job description even if this causes friction with your boss.
  3. Accept and work silently.


Question 4 in particular makes me wonder whether people really answered what they would do, because in my years of work I noticed that the number of people who are willing to clash with their managers are actually very few.

Well, the results say that we are certainly not passive, so what else could be the reason for work conditions deterioration….I wonder