The satisfaction that comes with knowing that someone somewhere cares

My experience with customer service teams varies. There are those that do an excellent job, those that do a “just okay” job and those that don’t try at all. Those that don’t even make an effort. Being someone who lives off the internet, my interaction with customer service teams belonging to various brands/companies is mostly limited to online. Though I occasionally pick up the phone when things are either moving at snail’s pace or not happening at all, as was the case recently when it was taking forever to have some internet issues I had fixed, I’ll more likely to tweet, send a direct/private message or, in extreme cases, fire an email.

It’s never fun being on the other end: wanting something for you and the person doing it is either taking their sweet time to do so and hardly communicating or not bothered at all. This is why I particularly like and never hold back telling the world, the few brands/companies that I have interacted with that actually make an effort to treat me well and make sure my queries and/or requests are attended to not just promptly but to my satisfaction.

Being the largest mobile operator in a country has its fair share of troubles since by satisfying man’s biggest need, communication, there are bound to be issues. Many issues. Throw in money (in this case, M-Pesa, the mobile money transfer service) and things can easily spiral out of control. While it already has the largest customer service centre in the region, Safaricom announced this September that it was bringing on board an additional 300 employees to serve its over 28 million customers.

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On average, Safaricom’s contact centres receive over 95,000 calls daily and respond to over 49,000 and 290 text messages and emails respectively. By any stretch of imagination, those are big numbers. To be able to consistently pull that off and make room for side humour is impressive even though there are those moments when, it appears, they just don’t understand queries or take too long to respond.

Good customer service can be the difference between a company whose customers who stick around no matter what and that of a company whose customers are always on the hunt for greener pastures. While one can argue about the competitive pricing of the various services that Safaricom offers, the same cannot be done for its customer service. It’s above board in just about any and every regard.

Here’s the thing: I can’t remember the last time I called Safaricom’s customer service team for either M-Pesa or other related enquiries. I always use social media and, always, it works magic. Even when I am not the one requiring help with this or that. Moments after raising an issue there’s usually both: a reply to the tweet or private message and a call from that strange 0722000000 number.

Automation of some services that would have me removing my (non-existent) long hair has also helped a lot in making it easier for most of us to have our issues sorted out promptly. For instance, did you know that you can get your PUK number in the event you ever get locked out of your device through another device when you dial *100*8# or via the mySafaricom app? Previously, this may have warranted a call to customer care or a visit to a Safaricom shop. By cutting back on the time taken to resolve most common issues, many of us are getting better service without ever needing human interaction.

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It’s not just calls, SMS, emails and social media. My favourite means of filing requests right now is via the Safaricom app. On the app, the last icon is the “Contact us” icon. As expected, tapping on it results on a further emphasis to reach out to Safaricom’s customer service teams on various platforms. However, therein lies a big blue button which when clicked takes one to another page from where they can file their request and submit it.

Long gone are the days when we would all jam 100 or 234, there are now various options to get in touch whenever an issue arises.

What’s your preferred means of interacting with customer care?

Emmanuel Chenze

Let's just say I know my stuff. I have 7 years experience handling, tinkering with and then writing extensively about Android stuff. Sometimes it is exciting, sometimes it is not; things can get stale with nothing new to show but I live for each one of those moments. Have something Android-related that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze@androidkenya.com