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Opinions of Sunday, 17 September 2006

Columnist: Afari, Sena

Ghana Telecom – Shut Down or Reboot?

A lot has crossed my mind recently with regard to the National Telecommunications Company – Ghana Telecom (GT) Limited. These thoughts have as to whether a total shut down is necessary or as has become the culture a reboot with a new Operating System (OS) (management) is necessary.

My GT woes commenced when I had to get my fixed line restored in May 2006. Believe it or not, I had to drive on an almost daily basis to get this fixed and needless to say, it took a whole month! Can you believe the effect on business. I work from home so you can only imagine. I had to run through the ranks from some of the uncouth 100 help line people to the Achimota Care 4 U centre right down to the Area Manager at their Taifa office. It was simply ridiculous. Even the Area Manager threw in a couple of lies (I don’t know if it was him or the field people)! Clearly, supervision is a big mess at the Ghana Telecom. The Area manager would call his Chief Technician (or whoever) and they would claim they’d been to my residence. Is this a case of bad management or lazy/disgruntled employees?

I have come to realize that Ghana Telecom has virtual staff. Broadband 4 U Technical staff that the 100 help line people never reach and the Technicians who never make it to our homes. Recently, a family friend’s mum hopped into the GT truck and refused to get down until they drove to her residence. She sat in till they fixed her phone. LUDICROUS! Is that how GT’s customer queen should be treated?

I walked into the Achimota Care4U centre and I was stunned to see one of their corporate values ( or whatever “big word” they used to describe it ) stated: “treat the customer as queen.” RIDICULOUS! I grabbed a dictionary in the hope to check what the word queen mean because I received anything but Royal treatment. I called 100 the other day to report a problem with my Broadband connection and the helpline staff was giggling all the way through. Throwing away all my civility, I lashed at her for laughing. I didn’t seem to find it funny that my Internet which they religiously charge me for was not working!

As for Broadband 4 U, the least said the better! I signed up hopeful for a blazing 256k/64 download/upload connection. The first few days was ok till I did the tests and realized I was getting a maximum of 30kbps/sec about a quarter of what I would be paying for. Reliability has been a question lately. If it was even 30k and reliable we wouldn’t whinge about it but it is anything but this. I mean there was a time where for over a week the whole connection was just dead! Over a week later they put a notice in the papers hopefully to absolve them of any responsibility that they had problems. I cannot understand this – if the system is not ready to support that many people switching to the service, why advertise so much? GT do Queens in your world receive such treatment? Lies, more lies and more lies.

I will spare One Touch some lashing at in this article. The point is this: Ghana Telecom has big problems with fundamental customer care and customer service provision. If my basic telephone cannot retain a dialing tone for more than a few days then what is it’s use? If I have to call 100 sometimes 3 or 4 times daily to report that my Internet which I will be billed for doesn’t work, what’s its use? If the staff you are talking to have no idea what you are talking about, where are we headed for? There are many questions that are unanswered but the Ghana Telecom management must wake up.

Service delivery is simply poor. The other month my neighbour was charged 600,000 in a week for trunk calls she didn’t make. When the phone was down how could she make telephone calls? Ghosts again? I picked my handset the other day and I joined in on a fine conversation between some parties. When I called they said they were “doing some repairs!” How come they always take everyone for granted and never call.

The solution to this problem is not simple. My question to the public is this: Do we shut this GT system down or try another OS (management). In the time being I charged all in management at GT to wake up and shake up the system because it is slow and terrible.

With all that seem negativity, I must commend Auntie “Tish” at the Achimota Care 4 U centre. She is the most glorious GT staff you can meet. They need to get a lot of the folk there to learn from her. Cheers Aunt Tish I really appreciate for great customer care.

GT ,she is your best bet if you really want to treat the customer as a queen!

The Papacy
September 4, 2006

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.