What a complete and utter mess

Vodacom’s website provides little help to a person looking for a new contract package and phone, and numerous consumer complaints have not helped to resolve the problems.

MyBroadband recently tried to establish what a consumer will pay for an iPhone on contract, and was surprised to discover that it was impossible to use Vodacom’s website to get this information. In comparison, it was relatively easy to get this information on the websites of Cell C and MTN.

Using Vodacom’s website search function was of little help. There were 1,610 results for the search term “iphone”, but clicking on the first non-highlighted link (which should be the most important link) takes visitors to a page saying “No products matching the filter criteria”.

The second result was slightly better – taking people to Vodacom’s iPhone 240 package. This page tells visitors about the contract package price and description, but no mention of which iPhones are available and what the costs are.

Vodacom iPhone search result page
Vodacom iPhone search result page

The problems with Vodacom’s website are well known, and has resulted in many online complaints from Vodacom subscribers.

Well known IT expert Roelf Diedericks (his blog here: http://rodent.za.net/) had this to say about the Vodacom website: “Over the months, I’ve blogged about Vodacom’s complete inability to develop a seemingly reliable web based system, and for quite a few months now I’ve been surprised that I’m able to print my monthly statements online without hassle.”

Vodacom website error (From Rodent.za.net)
Vodacom website error (From Rodent.za.net)

“I was actually quite surprised that I got the error so late in the process. I mean, I had actually already pressed the submit button once before reaching this error! This means that some code ran successfully on their server PRIOR to this message, which is actually amazing! … Muppets,” said Diedericks.

In another post Diedericks said “I give up. Really. How hard can it f****** be? You know, if I had some kind of thing against Vodacom I would make these things up. But I don’t. I’m just a dude wanting to get his invoice”.

Contact centre

After growing tired of trying to use the Vodacom website to find information, we decided to use the “contact us” page and try the call centre.

Scrolling down the list of 14 (yes, fourteen) contact centres, the customer acquisition description sounded like a good starting point. Not so! We were greeted with a voice asking: “Please enter your IDR access code, followed by #”; (Yes, we also do not know what an IDR access code is).

New Products (082 1 9326) seemed to be the next logical option, but this time around the number did not work at all.

We eventually ended up calling sales, and in this instance we received an answer fairly quickly (although it meant that Vodacom was significantly more expensive than its competitors).

Learn from Cell C

The near-unusable Vodacom website may partly be a result of the company’s extraordinarily complicated product range.

With a wide range of pre-paid, top-up and contract services – which each feature a myriad of different rates depending on who you call, when you call, or what package you are on – it must be challenging to design a website with all the options.

Comparing Vodacom’s website, where it is nearly impossible to find what you are looking for, with Cell C’s new website shows what Vodacom should be aiming for.

Using a single page on Cell C’s site, users can build their own contract, selecting the contract type, their phone of choice, and contract length. Cell C contract packages are simple, affordable and the rates are easy to understand.

Cell C contract builder page
Cell C contract builder page

Vodacom may be well advised to simplify its products, and revamp its website to provide consumers with a user friendly way to find information and select the services they want for the company.

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What a complete and utter mess