Vodafone Germany has begun a trial in Berlin of a peer-to-peer customer service platform called Mila, through which “Vodafone Service Friends” can help out customers with their IT queries.
The Vodafone Service Friend platform is a marketplace that will allow people to sell their services supporting users of smartphones, tablets, computers, home broadband and TV, for hourly rates that they can set. Payments can be made in cash or through the platform.
This is an extension of rather than a replacement for Vodafone’s regular customer support lines (something for which I’m grateful, speaking as a Berlin resident whose ISP was just bought by Vodafone.) It’s the biggest test yet for Mila’s platform – Vodafone Germany has around 33.8 million customers, whereas Mila’s only existing partner is the much smaller Swisscom.
A few other small mobile virtual operators have previously set up peer-to-peer expert advice platforms, such as Germany’s Simyo and the U.K.’s Giffgaff, which rewards those who answer questions usefully with free talktime. However, the Mila platform is the first I’ve seen that gives the carrier stewardship over a full-blown, in-person technical support marketplace.