Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More on Etisalat

Charlie, a Friend of the Blog and Reporter of Interesting Things, wrangled a good story into the paper this morning about the customer service issues of what is essentially the only Internet service provider in the UAE.

It mostly focuses on long waits--which I have witnessed with mine own eyes--and the company's PR people say all the right things, but there is a lot more going on than just massive queues. In many ways, it's emblematic of how customer service is really kind of an afterthought in this part of the world, five-star hotels aside.

It's a matter of attitude. If a customer faces a counterintuitive situation (for instance, is told that an account change can't be made over the phone, even though the exact same change was done, over the phone, a week earlier), explain it. Don't just say "It is not possible, sir."

If a customer (or millions of customers) face service outages, don't pretend that all is well. Admitting a problem is, I'm told, the first step toward recovery.

If a customer has a problem that should be easily solved, but isn't, try this novel approach: apologize. (alternatively, take a logical approach to solving it. I'm thinking mostly of a problem that struck the Guy [still] Sitting Next to Me, in which he had a week-long running battle of phone calls and e-mails simply to find out if his building had been wired with high-speed fiber optic cable. Etisalat's solution was to ask him to figure it out.)

It all adds up to a big bundle of overpriced annoyance. Unfortunately, there isn't anyplace else to turn. And so I hope that when I head over there tonight, to upgrade our service in person because they won't do it over the phone, it will be a smooth, quick and comfortable experience.

I also hope I can ride home on a gold-plated unicorn.


Pietro Devon said...

i'm on pins and needles!

violindan said...

You say "in this part of the world," but the story sounds remarkably familiar to one my sister told about trying to change her Internet service ... in Vermont.