Mobile networks need constant maintenance to keep things running smoothly, but what if that work's happening near you? Meet our new network Status Checker.
We’re very proud of our network’s performance level and work tirelessly to maximise our service for customers but sometimes, we know signal can dip or connections can slow down. Chances are, we know all about it and we’re on the case to get things fixed. But it’s only right that you know what’s going on too.
To explain the thinking behind it, and how it works, we’ve caught up with Martin Oliver once again. He’s the man behind both projects, which means he’s perfectly placed to explain how it can help. Read on for all the details…
Seeing things clearly
“If people ever had an issue in the past, we’d have to give them a bit of a long-winded journey to find out what was causing it,” says Martin. “We researched the journey that customers went through; people were being pointed to the eForum, or to phone up or ask in a store, where we could potentially be giving them inconsistent answers. That was a bit muddled and we wanted to improve on things for our customers.”
Ok, so what’s the solution? Simple: stick all the correct information in one place, and make it easy for anyone to access. “What we want to do is give our customers good and consistent real-time information on the network’s status – whether that’s planned maintenance or due to a fault occurring.
“Put in your postcode or area name and it’ll load up a Google Map that’ll show you what’s happening.”
“If there’s an issue and you want to quickly find out what’s going on, you can now use the Status Checker. Put in your postcode or area name and it’ll load up a Google Map that’ll show you what’s happening. Moreover, it then allows you to identify what each issue is, whether it affects voice or data and when it’ll be resolved. So it does a couple of important things: it allows you to quickly find out if there’s anything going on, and explains how long it’ll last.
“Chances are that if one site has an accidental issue, your signal strength and data speed in that area may decrease,” Martin explains. “Customers can sometimes see this as unreliability in the network, rather than an isolated fault. The Status Checker provides a way for us to put their minds at rest, and let them know that we’re on the case. Then they can go back and check on their current status after the work’s completed.”
What’s great about all this is that the Status Checker lets us offer up a more honest and clear view of what we mean when we talk about network issues. How so? Because it shows you, like never before, exactly how big of an area each problem or bit of maintenance work will affect.
“Mobile coverage isn’t designed according to postcode boundaries,” Martin says. “Radio waves go everywhere they want. That’s why it’s important to put this kind of coverage information on a map. It’s easy to imagine that mobile networks have huge masts that cover an entire town. With our system, you can see exactly how small an area each piece of work affects.”
“There could well be several sites in one area, or there could be just one, but we’ve carefully chosen the zoom level to represent the size of area that’s affected. You can zoom in or out, but the level of zoom you’re presented with generally shows the size of any potential issue.”
And that size might surprise you: often, when we’re talking about maintenance work or issues, it’s in an area of only a few streets or a square mile in size.
“We’ve deliberately put the Status Checker on vodafone.co.uk next to our coverage map, and the reason for that is that you can see the coverage you should be normally expecting to see in each area – not just maintenance or faults.”
While building that sort of understanding is great, Martin tells us that there’s another big benefit in handing the Status Checker reigns over to you: “It’s all about self-service,” he tells us. “Now you don’t have to ring us up or contact your local store – you can get all the answers you need online.”