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Opinions of Sunday, 13 November 2011

Columnist: Isang, Sylvester

Why I Am Porting From Mtn To Airtel

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Customer service is very poor in Ghana. A lot of factors can explain this unfortunate behavior but paramount of the reasons is ignorance on the part of both the service provider and the customer.
Many customers don’t know that they have the right to proper customer care and satisfaction. On the part of the service providers (not just the telephone sector alone) many ignorantly feel pompous and conclude that they are doing their customers a favour. They don’t heed to the wise counsel in the philosophical statement that “you are because I am, and if I am, therefore you are”.
You walk into the bank, the telecommunication office, VRA, and so on despite the long queues what you see or witness is a conversation among or between staff to the neglect of the customers. When you want to insist on your right they look at you from your toe to hair. My brother war betides you if you don’t dress in a suit and carrying a brief case in your hand-the African mentality of a rich man.
On 11th November, 2011 I had a distress call that my little daughter was ill and taken to the hospital whilst I was on field work in Tolon.
So I immediately left for Tamale to ensure that my daughter receives medical attention. Upon getting to Tamale I realized that my phone was not with me. I tried to call my numbers and the call went through for about three times and thereafter all I could hear from any call was that “the number you have dialed cannot be reached now”. I concluded that the phone was lost and perhaps someone picked it up and has decided to switch it off.
I therefore decided that since I needed to call to know the particular place that my daughter was taken to and also for the fact that I was expecting some urgent calls I rushed into the nearest phone shop to pick any cheap phone at all cost since after all phones are no more luxuries these days.
I did just that and immediately went to Vodafone where the customer care personnel asked for my phone number and if it was registered I provided the number and answered in the affirmative. The lady immediately replaced my sim. I then made a call about my daughter’s situation and was told that she was given some medicine and that her condition was somehow better. Knowing how scarce time is on my side, I also decided to go to the MTN main office in Tamale to also replace the “lost sim”.
In fact it was not as easy as the ABCD that I had at Vodafone. I’m not marketing any particular network here but as a Vandal the truth must always stand until death.
On this faithful day as I will call it I entered the MTN Tamale main office and joined the queue and waited patiently to take my turn. After having waited for such a long time it was naturally irritating when it was my turn and I saw a young girl and boy go pass me and sat in front of the customer care attendants at the time ( about 4-5 pm) so I shouted on them to draw their attention that we are in a queue. Instead of the customer care personnel or perhaps the manager on duty (because he spoke with a great deal of authority and expected that I should have perhaps be saying I am sorry sir) telling me that the girl and boy were already in the queue and only went away from it to get some documents requested from them the, officer rather shouted on me “ masa the girl is in the queue” contrary to my observation that from the time I sat in the queue neither the boy nor the girl was seen in the queue or even around it. They only came about some 30 minutes after I have sat in the queue. So how was one to know that they were in the queue? However, I replied that once the two persons in question( the boy and girl) did not tell us they were in the queue I was equally right to demand that we follow the queue and I drew the attention of the officer that the manner in which he responded to me was not the best. This officer pretended to be a child right activist by drawing my attention that a girl of bout 14-15 years could not tell me that she was in the queue which I did not dispute at all. Meanwhile the boy who even looked younger told me he was in the line upon which I told him that then he should have made us aware not to have sat aloof only to be seen or judged rigging the queue.
What made the MTN officer to give me such a sharp rebuttal? The fact is that the officer looked at my dressing and concluded that I was a “nobody”. Unfortunately for me I dressed loosely which is my usual way since I don’t belong to the class of people who fancy dressing. I still recalled with nostalgia that back in my days as a Vandal we Vandals could dress anyhow with even slippers to match and walk comfortably to lecture halls and from which we were the sharp ones to come out with the First Classes and what not. That is not to say vandals are not gentle.
We Vandals are not “Etw3 Police” who tie themselves up like goats (excuse my language but those of legon descent will understand, hahaaa) just to please ladies or society.
Based on the exchange of words that took place between me and the male officer when I finally had a second chance and sat in front of his colleague female customer care provider to receive attention the lady demanded for my ID card in order to replace my lost card which should have been the case if my sim card was not registered with a valid ID previously.
I however drew her attention that my sim card is registered and therefore there was logically no need for an identity card since my name, Voter ID Number which contains my passport picture I guessed was in their data base.
When I earlier on went to Vodafone I just mentioned my name and number and upon verification they replaced my card for me without bothering me with ID card and stuff because they have everything about me in their database.
But this lady ignored my plea and said “next” apparently to revenge for her colleague. So I got up and left with the conviction that this time we are in a democratic world so if MTN has the right to reject me on mistreat me I equally have the right to port. Hahaaaaaaaaaaa! The question is “ na who cause it or who go lose”.
Little did those guys in the so-called office know that the loosly dressed gentleman perhaps could be their boss if we are actually to count on academic qualification or job experience. But once I was not looking like a rich man but proved to be too known by voicing out my feelings they decided to show me that they are “somebody and I am nobody” which to me perhaps will give me the opportunity to experience Airtel which in any case I have been using for internet purposes. But Airtel should watch out because “you fack me I fack you up twice”.
I want to believe that these guys at the MTN office thought we are still in the era where people used to beg for phone numbers. I think they need to be educated properly. Now with mobile portability I will maintain the same number (0243220592) but on crossing to Airtel I only recharge with Airtel credits and enjoy all their services therefore. So what do I have to lose in this case? The mobile number portability has come at the right time. I hope very soon bank number portability and perhaps VRA PORABILITY will come on board. It might just be one person leaving but remember a little drop of water makes a mighty ocean.
In fact better services are what citizens expect so that people no matter their educational background, financial status would be treated equally. In any case I had the privilege to taste university education at the Premier University of Ghana and thereafter at the Almighty Queen’s University in the United Kingdom although I may look to other people like a “nobody” after all King Ayisoba says “We are all nobody” in one of his music albums. I am not being boastful here. But my principle has always been that “if you fack me once, I gonna fack you twice”.
Thank you National Communication Authority for bringing on board the mobile network portability.
Isang Sylvester
0209800466/0243220592 ( Text sent to be Airtel my Monday 13th Nov

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