Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The backbiting Customer Care Agent

Dear telecom customer care providers do not assume that all your customers are complete idiots. When a customer calls you with a query I understand that you must receive many silly requests from naive and ill informed or under educated people on a daily basis. However, do not punish everyone else for their shortcomings. Here is one such dialogue that I had with an agent from one of the leading telecom companies in Uganda.

Customer Care Agent: “Hello this is .... Customer care, can I help you,” said the agent in a bored tone.

Me: “Hello I have a complaint.”

Customer Care Agent: “Yes.”

Me: “I loaded a bundle a few days ago but today the balance on my bundle went from 630 mb to 220 mb in 5 minutes.”

Customer Care Agent: “Are you sure you did not use the bundle.”
Me: “No I did not; I don’t think checking for date bundle status uses data does it?” I said sarcastically.

Customer Care Agent: “Okay, Is this number?”

Me: “Yes!”  I responded.

Customer Care Agent: “Let me check...” she said and responded after about a minute of holding the line, “Hello, you used the bundle.”

Me: “When was that?”

Customer Care Agent: “I am seeing here there is no problem with your account you used your bundle. I can even see an additional 500mb today.

Me: “Yes I activated a new bundle when I could not utilise the old one.”

Customer Care Agent: “Okay, but madam you used the bundle. I don’t know what page or site you opened but it took 400mb.”

Me: “400mb on one page.”

Customer Care Agent: “Yes.”

Me: “Are you aware that I could not use my data bundle from yesterday late evening from 8 pm to today 6 pm about 10 minutes ago because your network was undergoing technical difficulties.” I could not even find a signal or make any phone calls!”

Customer Care: “I don’t know about that but I know you used your bundle.”

Me: “So in other wards I am not getting a reimbursement for the bundle I lost.”

Customer Care: “But you used the bundle so how can I replace it when you used it,” she said.

Having wasted 30 minutes trying to get a hold of customer care and an additional 10 minutes on the line waiting for her to check and recheck my account with no positive feedback I decided I had better allocate my time to other more important things.

Me: “Alright I don’t want to waste time, thank you and good night.”

Customer Care Agent: “Thank you for calling ....  Telecom,” she responded but did not hang up I assume expecting me to hang up.

She then turned to a college and began to back bite me without hanging up the phone.

Customer Care Agent: “Eh also these people who don’t have money and want free airtime all the time, bankowa nyo.”

Me: “...” I decided not to even indulge her further and simply hung up to give her enough time to gossip with her colleague. So is this why we cannot get through to customer care most of the time and dear agent if you think your job is tiresome and such a bother why don’t you resign and leave it for someone else who is in dire need of employment and save our souls.



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The roundabout menace.

On a sunny Tuesday afternoon, as I drove my sister around for hours we approached the industrial area roundabout which was thick with mid-morning traffic. As our car moved along at a snail pace all the way from electoral commission offices at the Jinja road traffic lights, there was little wiggle room on either side for even the most gifted boda boda rider and we all know there are quite a few in Kampala city.

As I sat in the driver’s seat and went around the roundabout, I got to the turn heading towards Nsambya and I was clearly in front of the pack when all of a sudden my sister who was seated in the co-driver’s seat and I heard a lady’s voice.

Lady driver: “Excuse me!” she said.

No response came from my sister because she did not think the lady driver next to us but a few inches behind was talking to her. In all honesty she could barely catch sight of her at the corner of her eye as the young lady driver attempted to cut in line from out of nowhere.

Lady driver: “Excuse me!” she said as she further lowered her window looking quick frazzled.

My sister: “Yes….” she responded still pretty confused and wondering what the lady would want to discuss in the middle of this downtown Kampala mayhem.

Lady driver: “Do you mind letting me go ahead of you?” she asked as she wore a straight face
My sister: “I beg your pardon,” said my sister to the lady driver.

Now at this point I began to smile, not because her request was comical in anyway but rather because I was mulling over whether I should give her a hard time or not. I must state for a fact that I am not one to exhibit road rage but at this point I thought for a second, she did not even say hello or how are you doing? It was straight to what she needs but as I silently pondered over this there was her voice going off again.

Me: “Excuse me, can I go before you, ….if you don’t mind,” she asked very impolitely a second time as she paused waiting our response.

Now we were backed up really tight in bumper to bumper jam at the turn off to Nsambya from the roundabout when she asked us this but the cars way ahead of us had started to move. My sister conveyed her request on to me and I loosed my seat belt and leaned forward to get a better look at her. No she was not old/ mature, she did not have a sick child in the back seat, she was not wearing spectacles and she did not have an ‘L’ for learner on any side of her motor vehicle.

My sister was as stunned which led her to ask me, “so does she think we also want to stay here at the roundabout in jam for the whole day?”

Me: “I have no idea what is going through her mind right now.”

My sister: “But Ugandan drivers can be so selfish on the road, why can’t she wait her turn?”

Me: “I have no idea.”

My sister: “Anyway, after all she asked and even though her request was rather rude let’s let her pass.”

Me: “Hhhhmm okay just this once.”

I swerved sideways leaving just enough room for her to get into the already tight queue as I smiled in her direction not from happiness but utter shock at how selfish she could be.

My sister: “So would you have let her go if I was not in the car with you?”

Me: “Definitely not,” I responded swiftly.

She burst out laughing at the top of her lungs so much so that the driver next to us peered through his window wondering what was so funny. I waved back at him as he continued to stare and I sped off. The moral of the story is men, do not allow your madam, sister, daughter to drive on Kampala roads if she is not up to the task. This city is a big bad place and not every driver will be this nice to her she can also be a menace to every other road user. Food for thought.



Friday, 5 September 2014

The well mannered Photographer

After a very entertaining tale on the photographer who was hungrier than the wedding guests, I thought it only prudent to share with you another experience. 

This is so as to give you a different experience which paired with your own will allow you to make a more balanced judgment of how to deal with your own service providers.

It was a bright but chilly morning of yet another wedding and this time was a little different because I was part of the bridal party; a role I had only played once before when I was 6 years old. So here we were the entire entourage all in one house (the hair and makeup lady’s home) with a great deal of activity going on. Half of us were getting our hair styled along with makeup while the rest were having breakfast and all this was taking place at the wee hours of the morning. Now since I was out of the rhythm of all this, it had slipped my mind that the photographers would be arriving about 30 minutes before we would be leaving  for the church service and low and behold they did. The assistant photographer walked into the dressing room while speaking on the phone in a very agitated tone that was only confirmed a few moments later after I had paid attention to the entire monologue.

Assistant Photographer: “Yes I am here,” he said convincingly to someone on the other end of the line.

I did not understand what was going on quite yet until I listened further to the conversation that ensued.

Assistant Photographer: “Kitufu I am here I can even see the mugole… Yes…. You want to talk to her?” He continued to convince the individual on the other side of the line that he was indeed where he claimed to be.

Bridal guide: “What is the matter sebo, I need to get the entire bridal party dressed.” This was since all our makeup had only been finished but at this point I finally added two and two together and it all made sense.

Me: “Hahaha that person on the other end of the phone wanted confirmation that the photographer had indeed arrived,” I explained to the bridal guide.

It was at this point just as I said those words that the assistant photographer walked right up to the bride and handed over the phone.

Bride: “Hello, good morning, yes he has arrived…..” she responded as she continued to giggle hysterically. “Ah okay bambi I hope they did not stress you but yes they have arrived.”

Lesson learnt: So the moral of the story is every bride needs someone like this to manage and crack the whip whenever there is a need to so that she can enjoy her day without any interruption.

A couple of photographs were taken of the bridal party without the bride but while the photographers waited for her to put on her veil.  I asked if they were okay and had found the place with no trouble.

Me: “I hope you are okay.”

Assistant Photographer: “Yes we are.” Now the main photographer was still on the phone and this is why his friendly assistant was answering all the questions.

Main Photographer: “ neda ajatusanga  ku kanisa,” he said and then paused while removing the phone from his ear. “No, we are hungry,” he said in response to my question.

Me: “Oh so sorry to hear that, so am I!” I responded as I had not yet eaten my breakfast but the defiance on his face when I gave him that answer made me smile from within.

Lesson 2: Be very clear, firm but polite with your service providers so that they after all they are not family and they also need to remember who is boss. This sets the tone for the rest of the entire day.

Most of the day went seamlessly with this service provider and by the time we got to garden photographs I had warmed up to them when I realized they were actually doing a good job. They also handled the children in the bridal party so I shared my pre packed afternoon snack which was also a sandwich with them. They were pleasantly surprised but only the assistant said thank you.

 I guess we all know whose mother taught him manners.