The plan is for this to be a weekly post where I speak on experiences over the course of the week from a customer service and service delivery standpoint.
This week, I contacted Safaricom via twitter (@safaricomltd). I had a fairly simple, straightforward query. A couple of hours later, they phoned me with a response to my query. This has become the norm rather than the exception and after many months of complaints about Safaricom's use of twitter (they used to be aloof, impersonal and erratic with responses), they have really stepped their game up and are doing a great job of using twitter to engage with customers. I guess this stems from their CEO (@bobcollymore) leading from the front and also being quite active and responsive on twitter as well.
The Financial Services Provider (FSP)
This week, I have been in continued contact with a small FSP (who shall remain unnamed) with regards to a service that I was seeking. Now I officially engaged with this FSP on 21st December 2010. Formalities took long to complete due to the fact they closed from 24th December - 3rd January but we were done with all formalities by 4th January. Throughout the process, all communication from the FSP was that they were able to deliver within 48 hours (1-2 days) of completion of formalities. Sure enough on 4th January at 2pm, I was told that "this could be done as soon as this afternoon but will definitely be done by tomorrow". On the morning of 5th January, I call for progress and I get the told, "call us back in the afternoon" I call back in the afternoon and get told "please check with us tomorrow morning". 6th January, 7th January..same thing. Please note: all this time I was asking for honest estimates of when they would deliver but kept being told "by tomorrow". On 10th January, when I called, I was suddenly (and out of the blue) referred to a whole new party who would be handling my matter. 11th January, I was finally given a straight answer and told the process would take a further week. I decided to withdraw and seek alternative solutions.
I have to admit, this is one phenomenon that perplexes me. If it takes two weeks to deliver, why in heaven's name would you promise 2 days? What does this do for a company's chances of retaining the customer? I find that this is not really the exception but that this manner of conducting business seems fairly common place. Some seem to have this don't care attitude to deadlines/promised delivery dates; almost as if to say "it doesn't matter when we deliver as long as we do deliver eventually". As paying customers, why do we stand for this sort of nonsense?