Everyone in Kampala knows how stressful it is when it comes to dealing with Telecom companies in Uganda in order to get the service which you deserve or paid for. But nothing beats the headache when activating your bundle or better still when you need to get your phone settings done in the event you upgrade to a new device.
I recently purchased a device from an authorized dealer in Kampala and it was activated before I left for the MTN Lugogo store. I walked up to a free counter and asked which counter I could go to get my MTN internet settings configured. I was directed to a gentleman in the waiting area who had a line of people following him around like a swarm of bees everywhere he went. I decided to do the same until 15 minutes passed when I finally took a seat as I waited for him to return from behind the counter or where ever he had gone. He did not return so I decided after an extra 10 minutes to head to yet another free counter and asked for assistance – the lady asked me to hand over my device which I did and in less than 5 minutes I was on my way home.
I was glad that she had been so helpful and everything seemed to be working fine for about 30 minutes only for my device to stall and finally refuse to connect to the internet with 1 hour. Therefore I returned to my telecom provider and this time the internet setting gentleman who was too busy the previous day did my settings and I waltzed out thinking that would be the last time I was going to have any issues but boy was I wrong.
After about a week I had problems with my settings once again and for a while I thought my data had run out and I quickly reactivated a new bundle but this did not help. It was funny how I was charged for the bundle but could not activate it. So I called customer care and they made it seem as though the problem was with my device so I gave them the benefit of the doubt and returned to the authorized dealer where I purchased it and after a while of checking he insisted there were no issues with my device. In other wards I was sent back to my telecom provide which I promptly did a few days later when I had the time; this is how these events transpired when I got to the telecom service center.
Me: “Hello, I would like to get my Internet settings done?”
Female Customer Care Staff: “Okay, kindly go to the second last counter and speak to the gentleman with a Nokia shirt.”
Me: “Thank you.”
There were about 7 people in line waiting to see him but I decided I had rather wait than come after all I had been suffering with this issue for almost 2 weeks now. It was eventually my turn after what seemed like half an hour but was only 15 minutes. I explained my case.…
Me: “I came here a week ago and my settings were done and I had to return the following day because the lady did not do it properly and now a week later I am back with the same issue.”
Telecom Internet guy: “Okay so is it just internet that is the issue?”
Me: “No it is internet, I also lost about 50 MB data and 10,000 airtime yesterday – is there a network issue with MTN.” “You informed me the last time I was here I would not have any more issues with my Internet settings.”
Telecom Internet guy: “Ok let me begin with the Internet setting issue – I do not know you. This is my first time to see you.”
Me: “Really, should I give you the day and time I was here last and we could check in your records – after all you always make customers sign after settings have been done.”
Telecom Internet guy: “No madam let me do the settings.”
I decided to calm down and let him deal with the issue at hand as I patiently waited.
Telecom Internet guy: “Is this a dual sim.”
Telecom Internet guy: “Can I switch MTN sim card to sim 1.”
20 minutes later
I turned away from the TV monitor in the lobby where I was watching a series that came to an end only to catch the telecom internet gentleman hand over my device to a more senior individual next to him who had a pile of mobile money registration forms to enter.
Telecom Internet guy: “Where did you buy this phone?”
Me: “From an authorized agent.”
Supervisor: “Which sim is for MTN?”
Me: “Sim 1”
Telecom Internet guy: “You did not buy your phone from any of our shops – huh that must be the problem.”
Me: “No it is not, I purchased it from an authorized agent and I have already double checked to make sure that the problem was not with the device.”
He also had a go at sorting out my settings for a while and after a back and forth interaction between the two of them and irritated stares from the line of 10 people behind me, I stepped aside and the more senior supervisor began to deal with the people behind me.
Telecom Internet guy: “I am taking your phone to the tech department let me come back madam,” he said as he disappeared through a side door.”
He did not even wait for me to respond he just walked off in haste as if things were really tight for him at that moment. The entire line of customers was attended to and even more individuals came and went before the internet setting guy returned and during this time I had watched two 30 minute Nat Geo mini documentaries as I stood at the counter waiting for my issue to be sorted.
No I was not offered a seat, I was not updated on progress, I was not told what was taking so long and no I did not get an apology when the gentleman returned.
About an hour and 50 minutes after I had walked into the Telecom customer care center, the gentleman returned from the tech department and handed me my device.
Telecom Internet guy: “Eh finally, here is your phone.”
Me: “So is everything sorted out?”
Telecom Internet guy: “Yes it is.”
Me: “So what was the problem? I am asking this because I do not want to come back for a fourth time.”
Telecom Internet guy: “It is very technical even if I explain you will not understand.”
Me: “wow,” I responded sarcastically, “Okay So I will not be coming back for anything to do with internet settings? What about my bundle I lost and air time?”
Telecom Internet guy: “Eh I had forgotten there was also that. Okay write down your phone number here and your issues and we will get back to you when it is sorted out.”
Me: “Okay, but I hope it is sooner than later.”
I picked up my phone and walked out but I left thinking – the staff at this customer center need a refresher course in customer care ASAP. There are simply something’s that you should never say to a customer – what happens when you are dealing with a customer who is a telecom and software engineer?
“It is very technical even if I explain you will not understand.” – Really!