Sunday, May 9, 2010

My New Blog.

I have moved to Word Press and can be found here:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Nelson Mandela

Yesterday Madiba celebrated his 91st birthday. Looking back, it easy to see how he has inspired South Africa to raise ourselves above the the mediocre and to do better. He was there for the our World Cup Victory in 1995 and again in 2007

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Bad Service

I believe the true test of an organisation is how they solve problems. Mistakes can happen, even when you are not at fault. So when a client complains, it means that he has not given up on you and moved on, at least not yet.

Also you must remember that the Internet allows you to get information out to a large audience in a very short space of time. Which means, quite simply that you have to treat any complaints as urgent and give them your full attention.

When a client comes to you with a problem, no matter how small, you have to acknowlegde reciept immdiatlt recievd. You also have to tell the client when they can expect an answer and even if you cannot give an answer you go back to them when promised and give them feedback.

So when I have to call Virgin Mobile 4 times and repeat my self 4 times over a very simple problem, I tend to get annoyed. When I post an article to my blog about their "Piss Poor Service" and then take the trouble to email it to their Customer Care section and three days later do not get an answer, I get even more annoyed.

So now, I have become the "annoying client" that all salesmen try their best to ignore, and managers pretend don't exist.

Remeber, I said the Internet allows you to get information out to a large audience quickly. So guess what, I did just that...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Richard Branson, Virgin Mobile and Piss Poor Service.

I have always admired Richard Branson. He lives life with a certain panache that makes me think of the adventure movies I watched as a kid in the 60's. He is the reason that the Virgin Brand has become so well known worldwide.

Soon after Virgin Mobile arrived in South Africa, we got “number portability,” which was great news for anyone wanting to change networks. And this made Virgin Mobile very tempting option for me. My contract with Vodacom was due to expire and I was seriously thinking about changing.

As it happened, I remained with Vodacom, but switched to prepaid.

I had a heated exchange of words with Vodacom and decided to switch. Being unemployed, I decided to stick to prepaid and bought a Virgin Sim card. Because Virgin's prepaid was considerably more expensive than Vodacom, so I switched back. I walked into a Vodacom Agent paid the fee to port my number to Vodacom and within a few hours, I was a Vodacom client again.

When I started my own business, I took out a contract with Virgin Mobile. I asked for my Vodacom prepaid account to ported to my new contract. “No problem.” says the salesman. I filled out the form and told that it would take 7 days. (remember, Vodacom took a few hours). Ok, I still had Vodacom airtime to use up.

A week later, I got an SMS advising it had been done and shortly after that my Vodacom Sim card stopped working. I swopped sim cards and am in business again. When the new month started, I forgot to check my balance, so I did not take note that my account had not been topped up. But the following month arrived and I saw that I had not received new airtime.

So off I went to Virgin Mobile in Cana l Walk to report the problem. I got a reference number.

The follwing afternoon, I phoned the call centre and was told it the fault had not been logged correctly, so I told my story again. The agent promised that she would get back to me the next day. Of course, she did not. So a few days later I phoned again, explained why I was phoneing, was put on hold and got cut off.

Then I phoned again and logged it again. (are you seeing a patttern?) The next day I phoned and yes, you guessed it, nothing had been done. But this time I was kept on the line whilst the call centre agent asked her team leader for guidance. Then the bombshell was dropped.. My number could not be ported because it had originally been Virgin prepaid. I could use the number that came with the contract. Except for a tiny little problem, my friends, my customers and suppliers all had the number that I had been using, all my company stationery had the number.

So, Virgin have been taking my money every month, but not providing the service I have paid for. I accept that mistakes can happen.

Having worked in a call centre that handled after hours emergencies, I can find no excuse for the sort of delays I had so far in getting answers. Every thing that we did for a client was recorded and available to the client when they walked the next morning an switched on their computer. An if it was ultra urgent, we phoned them.

So here I am faced with getting a new number, not a train smash. I can let people know the new number, I print my own stationery, so I am not having to layout money for reprinting.

So where does the Piss Poor Sevice come in.? When the request was made to port my my existing number, why did Virgin not pickup and let me know? Why did it take 4 calls to get an answer?

Why can Vodacom (and MTN) give you answer immediately or on the next working day, but Virgin take longer (much longer)?

Virgin Mobile is a niche operator. They will never be as big as Vodacom, here in South Africa. But because they are competing with the “big boys” headon, they cannot afford to make mistakes.

Actaully, I reaslise they have taught me a very valuable business lesson. You see I am also competing with the “big boys” in the field of Web Site Design and Management, and I aim to be the best.. The diffearnce is that I do have a large worldwide organisation behind me, so if I piss a client off, I am screwed!

Oh yes, what about that Branson fella? Well I am sure he would not be happy to hear that after having worked so hard to make Virgin a household name, that Virgin Mobile South African just don't deliver!