I have been offline at home for two weeks and after multiple interactions with my broadband distributor, Vodafone Ghana, I feel compelled to write about my experiences. This is not a new topic for me, or for many other bloggers (last year, for instance I wrote about the upside to Ghanaian Customer Service) but I wanted to show some examples of how you can use social media for improving on customer service and faster reaching your goal.
1. Take it to social media.
The official routes of complaint (going to the office to report the issue and calling Customer Care) had little effect, so after a week my husband told me, why don’t you Tweet this? Within hours we had a response. The accounts I used were @vodafoneghana & @askvodafonegh On Facebook, I got friends to share their experiences. Yesterday, I live tweeted my call to customer service. I am now blogging about it. Hopefully, someone who is on charge of customer care at Vodafone will see this. The chance is bigger than if I just moan at home.
2. Always record the name of the customer service attendant you are in contact with.
Thus far, we have made around 12 contacts with Vodafone (plus friends at Vodafone seeing online complaints and stepping in). For the record it is good to know who promised what. I realise customer service people in Ghana are very reluctant to give out last names or direct numbers (maybe for good reasons), but insist on a first name.
3. Be persistent and claim your rights.
I believe that a pricy service must have excellent customer service. For 180 GHC ($90) per month, I expect my broadband to work every day. Two weeks interruption for what ever reason is unacceptable. I have not hesitated to remind customer service personel what I am paying for their service and what effects it not working has on my work.
4. Talk to friends
When I discuss my problem with friends on and offline it seems many have had similar experiences. It has encouraged me and I have also gotten hints on what to do. Some of my friends even work at Vodafone and have taken steps of me – talk about committed employees! (or very good friends…or both).
5. Educate the company
On Tuesday after 13 days without my broadband, I was offered a backup system. Although a dongle is not the same as unlimited broadband, I think this was a nice gesture. However, the information was we had to drive to the Accra office to pick it up during office hours. Travelling to a different town to belatedly get some help and also sacrificing work (the round trip is about 3 hours) is unreasonable. And so I told the company. Their attitude changed and yesterday they instead asked for my address.
Last month, the Third Customer Service Week was held in Ghana. Companies like Nest of Ideas do Customer Service Training. There is also a Gimpa Course in Customer Service Management. Clearly companies in Ghana are in a learning stage when it comes to customer service and I am hopeful.
However, I think customers have an important role to play. We need to use social media to highlight what is not working, be persistant and educate the companies on what we expect. I understand telecommunications companies in Ghana have many challenges and I appreciate their efforts at delivering customer service, for instance I think the Vodafone Twitter account @askvodafonegh is commendable. Through out the two weeks I have been in touch with Vodafone I have seen customer service systems change before my eyes!
What do you think, is customer service in Ghana improving?