I love South Africa, I really do. I love everything from the beautifully crisp beaches to the colourful culture. I get upset when I read defeatist posts about the horrible state of our country, and how we should all emigrate to Australia or New Zealand.
But one thing I agree with is that we have terrible customer service in South Africa. It’s gotten to the point where we are surprised when we get friendly, quick service.
Last year Vodacom deducted my mom’s debit order from my account. Her name is Sonja, so it might’ve been an honest mistake had it not been for the fact that we have different ID numbers. I phoned them immediately to get it sorted out, but instead of helping me, I was treated like a criminal. After being on hold for 20 minutes, I was told that the money that was deducted was a penalty. I was not satisfied with this, so I took to social media to sort it out. I also wrote a really bitchy open letter, which I felt bad about until last week Monday.
You see, on Monday I received an SMS from Vodacom to say that my account is in arrears because I haven’t paid my July account. I went from shock to befok within seconds, because:
- I don’t have a debit order with Vodacom, because I don’t trust them. I drive to my local Vodacom every month so that I can watch them while they’re swiping my card. Yes, that’s how paranoid they’ve made me.
- I paid my Vodacom account on 25 July at Vodacom in Paarl, and I have a bank statement and receipt to prove it.
- I get befok when I get SMSes from Vodacom – good, or bad.
I immediately phoned them to find out what the hell went wrong. I was told to send my receipt and bank statements to [email protected], which I did on Monday already.
By Friday they still hadn’t reversed it, so I phoned AGAIN. This time I spoke to a really rude consultant, who said that they hadn’t received my email. I then resent my email, and got in touch with their social media team too.
You would think that after sending proof of payment to four different people they would’ve gotten it? WRONG. This morning I phoned to follow up, and I was told that not one of the four people I dealt with had received or forwarded my proof of payment to their accounts team.
So, just to summarise:
- My account is in arrears due to a mistake on Vodacom’s side, yet I am being treated like shit because of it.
- There’s a higher chance of getting an email response from Barack Obama than Vodacom.
- Everyone at Vodacom drinks human tears for breakfast.
I hate that Vodacom has forced me to take to social media to get my issue sorted out. (Not that it worked.) Why do brands in South Africa not have responsive call centres? Why do I always feel skeptical when sending a brand an email? I never expect a response, because 90% of the time I never get one.
It’s unacceptable that it has gotten to the point where the only way to get something sorted out is to tweet a brand, or to post on their Facebook wall. Haibo!
ANSWER YOUR PHONE. REPLY TO EMAILS. DO YOUR JOB.
Vodacom isn’t the only company with terrible customer service. I think we can all agree that Game takes the cake when it comes to kak in store service. The moment you walk in there all the employees avoid eye contact with you like you’re a Basilik or something.
And apparently dealing with Telkom is pretty much like swallowing razors…
I don’t believe in attacking brands on social media, purely because I’m a social media manager myself, and I know how terrible it can be to be on the receiving end. I always attempt to be as civil as possible. Unfortunately, after sending emails into an abyss, and talking to a rude call centre consultant, it’s nearly impossible to keep your cool when on social media.
So the solution is obvious: brands need to strengthen their in store customer service, as well as their call centre service. But for some reason this seems to be the last priority for big brands. I guess it’s hard to see your angry customers past the stacks of cash in your life, but let’s never forget what happened to Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI of France when they ignored their people.