Just like in news, it is mostly the bad customer service experience that spreads really fast. Good news will crawl while bad news will go viral. There is no need to make special effort in speaking up against bad service. But promoting good service is very tough. Just as I always speak up against bad service, here is one of my efforts in speaking for a good service. Please read my experience at a Nigerian store with a telecoms company.
In February 2016, I was in an Etisalat store inside Ikeja City Mall to register a new sim I bought on the streets. On getting there, there was a slight issue with the computers handling the registration so the lady in charge asked me to wait for a while.
When she could make any progress, she handed me over to another guy who joined her. The registration took a while but it was finally done. While the gentle man was doing that, we joked about the cost of data from Etisalat and as usual, most of their staff will respond by saying the cost is because of the speed of their internet service – while that is relatively true, I think they’re becoming arrogant about it and have made it a payoff line as a response to anyone complaining about cost of data.
The registration was finally completed so I first traferred fifty Naira (N50) from one of my numerous Etisalat lines to the new one just to test it. When it worked, I went ahead to ask another gentle man within the store to recharge the line with a thousand naira. He did that and I immediately switched to the easyflex package of the network. That means the one thousand naira I recharged was deducted and I was given three thousand seven hundred and fifty Naira (3750).
I didn’t use the airtime on this phone apart from calling 200 – the customer care line of Etisalat – which was a part of the registration process. I thought I could keep the line, use up the airtime I had on the other lines and then come back to this new line. When I tried to use it, I discovered that the line had been barred. This was very strange to me. Why will Etisalat bar a line that I went as far as Ikeja to register? I call the customer care and the representative told me the line was barred because I didn’t use it within 48 hours. ‘Why would you do that?’ I asked. ‘It’s an NCC rule,’ he responded. Don’t I deserve to be notified? Why would you cut me off without sending a notice? I hung up in annoyance since this representative couldn’t help me.
I returned to the store inside Ikeja City Mall to narrate my ordeal to the lady who had attempted to register it for me. She claimed someone would have told me that the line must be used within 48 hours but I reminded her of the events that day and how no one said anything to me. I had to register the line again.
Now that’s the first part. So what will happen to my airtime that you also wiped off? She asked me to meet one of the reps over the counter. Then I met a lady called Aisha. Aisha is not too far from being petit but very smart and sharp with her explanations to customers. Because of my gift of the gab, I can demoralize a customer service representative who Inst prepared for a ‘worded’ customer.
I had to listen to Aisha. She just kept explaining, even though I didn’t agree with a few things she said, but she thrilled me by going the extra mile. She sought opinions of her colleagues on her my issue could be resolved. She called another colleague in another centre who wasn’t even on duty. She sent two different mails, told me she was expecting instant reply and then promised she would compensate me even before the gets the feedback from her mails.
What else would I say when she has promised a compensation which she did immediately? I left the store, hoping the refund would come later that night. Aisha did not promise I would get the refund but she told me she would do her best and I would get a feedback by 9pm. We were having this conversation a few minutes before 6pm.
Before 9pm, the feedback came. I had gotten a full refund of the amount I recharged when I first registered the line. The following day, I got a call from Etisalat to ask if everything was now fine with my line. It was Aisha calling to be sure I was satisfied with their service and feedback.
I have deliberately told this story to say that we can’t all go round talking about poor customer service as if there is no good customer service anywhere. So many organisations still have the culture of excellent customer service, even though not all their staff will show that. It’s just to important we kep saying it when people do well so that we will encourage more people to do well.
Speak up against poor customer service when you see it and speak for the customer service you enjoyed after enjoying it.