Thursday, January 28, 2010

Following up my customer service call

So tonight, Etisalat and I danced some more.

It was not a beautiful dance. Elbows were thrown, toes were trod on. I think Etisalat might be hearing a totally different song than I am. And so on.

Basically, our Internet has X bandwidth. I want to up that to 2X. This should be a relatively simple procedure, considering it involves a customer (me) wanting to give a company (Etisalat) more of my dirhams. And yet. Oh, and yet.

I tried to upgrade in person last week and was told, after more than an hour of waiting in line, that the system was down and I'd have to come back later. (I have since realized that this is actually code for, "something unexpected has happened that I don't quite know how to solve, so I'm just going to pretend it's out of my hands.") OK. The next step was to call the company's "customer service" phone number, which I had used to upgrade our service the last time. I went through several operators before I finally got someone who said they could help me.

Oh, and as an aside--Etisalat, if you're reading this? Calling your number, then hitting 2-2-2 on the following menu does not get you to the sales department. It gets you to the e-Vision service department, who are not only unwilling to help a poor Al Shamil customer with his account, but apparently lack the capability to transfer a phone call. The only way to actually get to the sales department is to punch 2 (for English), 2 (for "other services") and 3 (for Internet), and hope your call is randomly picked up by the sales department. I will bet you every red dirham in my wallet that this is the case.

Anyway. The first person who said they were able to help me tried to upgrade the account, then told me that I could not upgrade over the phone. I needed to go to the Etisalat office. Well, fine. But I wasn't about to give up the telephonic fix so quickly. I called right back an got a different representative, who turned out to be the second-most helpful Etisalat employee I had ever encountered. He understood exactly what I wanted... tried to make it work... and apologized when he couldn't. He said there was a glitch in the system, and that he couldn't resolve it over the phone. I would have to go to... well, you know how this goes.

That brings us up to speed. Tonight I went to Etisalat. Not much of a wait at 7 p.m., which is good. The guy at my counter took my upgrade form, typed some stuff, took my ID, then asked me how long my account had been operational. Not a good sign. In fact, at that point, I was considering anything other than "It's done, sir," to be a bad sign. He sent me to his supervisor, a guy at a different counter, who typed some more, frowned at his screen, then said, "Is not possible, sir."

"What?" I asked.

"Your current speed is a promotion. You cannot upgrade. You must downgrade first."

Yeah. That's right. Apparently our current service, which we pay through the nose for, was a promotion. (I had no idea this was the case) And that, in turn, means that not only can I not change the account over the phone, but I can't change it AT ALL without downgrading to the speed I had before... four times less bandwidth. For crying out loud.

I saw a workaround. "Can you just downgrade me now, then upgrade me to the new service?" I asked.

No. Of course not. I had to wait for the lower speed to kick in--"after tomorrow," he said--and then go back to upgrade it. So four days of impossibly slow internet, then maybe I can upgrade. Assuming the system will work the way it's supposed to.

But, he said, maybe I could call customer service and they could fix it for me. But the best bet, he said, was to just keep the service I had now. "It is good," he said.

That's right. THEY DIDN'T WANT MY MONEY. Someone explain this to me. I left under a cloud of equal parts confusion, anger and despondence.

The epilogue is that I DID call customer service again, and after several tries got the right person on the line. He turned out to be the most helpful and, bonus points, apologetic(!) Etisalat worker ever. He tried the upgrade. Of course it failed. He saw it was a glitch. He said, "Everything is fine with your account. There is no reason it can't be upgraded. But the computer won't let me. I am so sorry, sir." And then, I swear, he said, "Please do not be angry."

A little contrition goes a long way. I wasn't angry, at least not at him. I don't really have a solution either, though. I'm open to suggestions.

Unless, of course, you work for Etisalat. In which case, all I ask is that you manage not to screw anything else up until I figure out how to help you do your own job in the way you're supposed to.


Anonymous said...

'Computer says no'

Karl Smith said...

Anger leads to hate, Gerry. And know where that leads you do.

Pietro Devon said...

let your anger flow. embrace the dark side and you will have power over all!

Pietro Devon said...

being a desert nomad is beginning to sound better and better...

Kylie said...