Good customer care lessons: Telecomms organisations

It appears I have taken a detour from my usual line of articles this time around, reason being an accolade I felt had to be given to Telecel Zimbabwe’s good customer care service.

guest column: Nothando Bhila

To be honest, if there is an industry I believe is very fluent in customer care, it is the telecommunications sector.

I have asked myself countless times if that could be the reason why they also feature among the top performing companies in our country, though some would refute this, arguing they have become the mainstay of the means by which we communicate, given the various means of communication availed to us besides the extra features that come through this industry.

In my opinion, this sector realised that inasmuch as they may not be able to make large unit sales, their gains could be quantity wise.

Now, you may be saying to yourself: “What exactly is this author saying?” Allow me to clarify in the form of my own eyewitness account, which pushed me to write this very article.

I will give an example of Telecel Zimbabwe, not meaning to say the other like companies do not have good customer care, but I was very much moved by what I experienced.
I have a series of scenarios I have called their customer care department over the years whenever necessary and received good service, but alas, this time around, I found my problem pretty much trivial, but decided to call them all the same.

At first, I felt a little jittery as I was not sure how my problem would be handled and perhaps some people in my situation would otherwise ignore and brush it aside. I had done a recharge to my account, and when I checked my account balance, it was five cents short.

Yes, you read it right, I was five cents short and I know by now you probably have a few questions running in your mind.

I called the Telecel customer care department and as they always faithfully do, the agent who took my call did the corporate greeting before asking for my name and asking how I was.

By this time, I could not help but share a silent shy laughter with myself, well that is if there is anything called a “silent shy laughter”.

I was mentally echoing these words: “If only this agent knew I am about to question the whereabouts of such a small amount as five cents.”

I went on to explain my situation to the agent as calmly as possible, you could have been arrested if you mentioned the play out in my head as short as the street theatres I told you about.

In all politeness and professionalism, the agent probed my issue as if I was missing $50 from my account.

The voice tone was not a mocking one, as is so with some organisations, where with their type of businesses large transactions take place at one go and when you question them on an anomaly on your part as the customer, their tone is telling you in black and white to go elsewhere if you are not happy, if not sounding bored by you the customer and yet they are there to serve you.

I was asked to be put on hold, as they always do the previous times I called with “bigger issues” if you may, to perhaps investigate what in laymen’s words is sometimes termed “kutarisa muma computer avo” or “ukukhangela kuma computer abo”, directly translated as “looking in their computers”.

While I held, I pondered on the possibility of there being other customers calling with the same issue as mine or better yet, one cent they could not account for.

The agent shortly came back to me and explained about a service I had joined the previous week and, indeed, I had personally subscribed to it.

I was immediately super impressed when I remembered how I was even given an apology for my bad experience at the beginning of our conversation, soon after I had explained my problem.

I was so humbled, I thanked the agent for the clarity and, as always, I was asked if I needed further assistance with anything else before parting with me.

This experience helped me open my eyes to possibilities of what in my opinion is unmatched customer care service, and I could not help, but wonder just how much our economy could grow if all organisations took a leaf from telecommunications companies in ensuring there are no disparities in customer treatment.

The deliberate stance to make every customer know they are equally important surely does help build loyalty and a competitive edge that is sustainable.

Indeed, such service is somewhat refreshing with the reigning harsh economic situation where every cent needs to be accounted for.

I say a big thumbs up to this sector of the economy for setting such a good example, perhaps you too, dear reader, should “Go Ahead and Tell Someone” that quality customer care is the best business plan.

Nothando Bhila is a Pan-African writer passionate about issues to do with Africa and its relations as well as how it can best build its capacity

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