Poynt icon appearing on BlackBerries

Long-time readers of my blog will know my love-hate relationship with Vodafone and the highly erratic quality of their customer services.

In brief – the online time are good but often don’t have the full answer, the email team have a love of sending replies that are written as if your original email has not been read first, sometimes the mistakes are so ironic you think they have a full-time surrealist at work fine-tuning the Vodafone customer service system. But with enough perseverance there is usually someone really good you can get through to who sorts things out, even if the eventual news can be rather disappointing (as with the news that Vodafone’s mobile broadband doesn’t really work with their Sure Signal boxes).

So you can imagine the mix of curiosity, pessimism, diary-clearing and a ready supply of 6 pences with which I’ve approached my latest attempt to get an issue sorted.

The issue is simple at heart: an icon called “Poynt” suddenly appeared on my Blackberry Bold a few days ago. I want to know why it’s appeared, how to get rid of it and whether or not I should be concerned about the security of my phone. Unasked for software appearing on a device after all is often the signature of hackers and spam merchants at work.

The score so far is not good.

Vodafone UK’s Twitter team: clear, prompt and polite responses. However the best they’ve been able to do so far is to point me at a discussion thread in an online forum which consists of several customers asking the same sorts of questions and getting annoyed as the questions remained unanswered for weeks stretching into months, several Vodafone staff trying to pacify things by promising that they’re trying hard to get an answer and a final answer that is about a different topic all together.

In response to one of my questions they said the Poynt software icon came from Blackberry, but Blackberry’s Twitter team (also clear, prompt and polite) have asserted it’s not Blackberry but it is Vodafone who are responsible.

Vodafone UK’s email team: oh dear. So far I’ve had a series of emails which mostly read as if the person sending them has not really read my previous email but instead reached for the first off-the-shelf answer about something else that seems vaguely relevant to one part of my email. Certainly the email team’s house style of ignoring a list of questions and sending a partial answer to only one of them still seems to be alive and well.

It’s a good thing too that the reply I received with a series of steps to follow was closely read by me as it looked to be directing me to delete a whole set of data from my Blackberry which has nothing to do with Poynt.

So the issue has now been escalated and we’ll see what happens…

But in the meantime if you too have had a Poynt icon appear on your Vodafone Blackberry and are wondering what is going on, here’s my best guess:

  1. Poynt has been installed by Vodafone, not Blackberry
  2. The Poynt installation was done via a servicebook update
  3. There is widespread lack of knowledge about these servicebook updates in Vodafone and in particular a clear explanation as to what it is and why it is being pushed up is missing from the knowledgebase that their support teams use
  4. There is no easy way to remove the Poynt icon but it can be hidden in the usual way
  5. Poynt is a legitimate piece of software (and see also Vodafone’s advert for it)
  6. Vodafone’s systems for deciding what can be pushed onto people’s phones don’t involve either a standard requirement to tell customers nor any standard procedures to ensure their customer service teams know what has been done

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