As you all know Ugandans always look forward to public holidays because we get to stay home and rest from our often hectic lives. For some it is as simple as some alone time from Kampala’s daily hustle and bustle, TV time to catch up on your favourite series or have friends over for lunch. Now for the tech geeks or social media platform junkies, a public holiday translates into uninterrupted data and telecom service from our provider.
As I was tuned into the spirit of the holiday; patriotic and all – the social media junkie in me decided to check in and chat with a few of my friends, tweeps on my networks only to realize I was about to run out of data. For the next hour or so I enjoyed the last dregs of what I had left as I attempted to activate a new bundle.
3 hours later
With no luck at activating my data bundle through the use of my mobile money account or airtime, I was now frazzled and in dire need of data to catch up on some much needed study time. I decided to call MTN customer care and get this sorted out quickly before losing an entire day of study especially since my data bundle had finally run out an hour earlier. After a few tries (4 to be exact) of dialling in to get in touch with MTN customer care finally paid off as I was put through to a very polite male
customer care agent.
Customer Care Agent: ‘Hello, this is MTN customer care ..... Speaking how may I help you?”
Me: ‘Hello, I have a problem. I have tried to buy a bundle using both my mobile money account and airtime for half of the day and I have failed. Is there a problem?”
Customer Care Agent: ‘I am sorry about that madam, we are currently experiencing a problem with our service and it will be rectified within 24 hours.”
Me: ‘24 hours, huh well I need to activate a bundle right now so is there a way I can do that because I wanted to use funds from my Mobile Money account.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘I am sorry; our system is down madam so that is not possible. Maybe you can load airtime and then I can assist you further.”
At the back of my mind I was thinking, while he was trying to be helpful he sounded like a broken record as he repeated himself over and over.
Me: ‘Fine, I already have about 12,000 on my account right now so activate a 200mb bundle with that then, is that possible?’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Let me have a look at your account and see if it is possible.’
Within less than 2 minutes, I received messages confirming the activation of my bundle that I had previously attempted to activate for the last 3 hours.
Me: ‘Okay so that is sorted out, so why can’t I use my mobile money account to buy airtime and this is not the first time.’ ‘I always have trouble withdrawing my funds from your mobile money agents, I have only managed to do it from Lugogo centre and this has never been rectified.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Is that so, well did you try another agent.’
Me: ‘yes I did 7 agents but I still had to go to the Lugogo MTN centre. When I asked the lady what the problem was with my account or device she said there was no issue with my account. So why they had I failed to withdraw funds and I am having the same problem now.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Well maybe you forgot your pin/ verification code.’
I chuckled in the back ground as he said this but decided that since he was so polite I would let that go.
Me: ‘No I am certain I did not.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Did you try removing and replacing your sim card and restarting your device after 5 minutes.’
Me: ‘Yes I did.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Did you try to clear any drafts and excess messages from inbox and outbox from your device.’
Me: ‘I have no drafts on my device and I have no excess sms messages – my excess sms’ come in as spam from MTN from your promotions and I delete them as and when they come in.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Okay madam, what device do you use?’
Me: ‘Samsung Galaxy ....’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Well since you have a recurring problem you need to try using a new phone – remove your sim card from your device and put it in a new one and try again.’
Me: ‘So I need another phone?’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Yes.’
Me: ‘If I may ask - so what would be the point of me coming to your service centre to do settings on my device after purchase if I will need a new one for this service to be fully functional?’
Customer Care Agent: ‘You need to try a new phone because I cannot report this problem until we have exhausted all possibilities.’ Your problem may be very technical but until you have tried everything I cannot forward it.’
Me: ‘Okay then, let’s leave that issue then.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Oh and madam did you know that we have a promotion today where if you buy our 50mb daily data bundle you get double the bundle?’
Me: ‘No, I did not but then again I have not been online and how was I to utilise that promotion when I could not even buy a bundle in the first place.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Oh I am very sorry madam.’
Me: ‘Well have a nice day then.’
Customer Care Agent: ‘Thank you for calling MTN customer care and have a nice day.’
Now telecom providers much as it is wonderful to make a sale try to ensure that you provide a fully functional service in the first place because in my case i was stunned that the agent would even make a suggestion of the promotion when all my problems were not sorted out.
Only in Uganda