The Zimbabwean Perspective

A look at our lives and the tech we use in them

Editorial Tech

Dear Telecel, please do better!

Dear Telecel, please do better!

So as some of you readers may have noticed last week was marked by TZP essentially having problems for the whole week and having a lapse in content. This was essentially due to switching an internet service provider, moving from ZOL, who’s LTE plans have been our main internet service when not at work or school(because I’m honestly not ashamed to say we use work Wi-fi for side projects). So after checking through some options and regarding that ADSL or fibre costs are still definitely out of my price range, we turned back to LTE based plans. TelOne’s has terrible performance in my area (Kuwadzana), ZOL has already stretched itself out of my price range, NetOne’s bundles and I have a bad history and Econet, well if I have to mention Econet’s Prices here I’m likely talking to the wrong audience. So , due to the impressive performance of it’s Night Bundles on an LTE connection, I opted for Telecel(much to some TZP members’ charging) and even though I knew Telecel has always been a risky company to rely on, my experience throughout all of last week was honestly a disgrace to the company’s customer service record.
So imagine after investing in this it just doesn’t work for a week?
You see for four days out of their five day working week, Telecel faced a technical issue that stopped their servers from activating new lines including those signed up for their Home Wi-Fi plan , essentially stopping them from adding new customers to their system for almost a whole week. If you bought a Telecel line or Home Wi-Fi package last week you were stuck for most of the day until Friday, and while maybe the former is unlikely, the latter is definitely something that happened especially considering that Telecel’s Home Wi-Fi plans and dongles are selling well due to rising demand for more permanent and affordable internet packages. Except if your first impression to customers is having the service they paid for not operational for most of the week, chances are they might not want to stay with it even after you fix it and have it working properly again. And that’s what brings to the main point of this article: Telecel’s operation management and customer service.
Now we’ve already mentioned in multiple past articles that Telecel is a company essentially in trouble, with issues to make articles almost every week if you try and find them. From employee payment issues to claims of mismanagement from top brass to seeming product categories being forgotten about , Telecel seems like a mess of a company from the outside. In fact, it’s one of the reasons other TZP team members didn’t want me to invest in a Telecel internet plan, fearing simply terrible performance from the line itself. This company does have approximately only 800 000 subscribers or less for a reason after all, but ironically this might be why my Telecel personal line performs so well , and so does the internet dongle one as well. Instead the problems from Telecel came not from the technology’s performance, at least not exactly anyway, but from the people in the company themselves. Now yes, a server crash is a technical problem and sometimes an incredibly complex one. But if you’re one of the largest companies in a country, failing miserably against your competition and hopefully trying to retain customers, gaining some through an internet service plan which is adequate to say the least , then the LAST thing you should allow is the very system meant to activate that service to fail for almost a whole week.
 Telecel’s Home Wi-Fi bundles are arguably their best product at the moment, and one they should definitely be promoting to more potential customers (which they seemingly aren’t doing enough of either). Hence letting that key product fail in any capacity at all is a failure for the company as a whole, harming whatever game plan (formulated or unformulated) to make this product work and make them any reasonable revenue. Whoever was in charge last week should have plugged that metaphorical leak, dealt with the problem within hours even. And yes, there were working hour constraints as well and we’re sure someone might bring up workforce issues bringing up a slow response to the problem. But if Telecel’s mid and top level leadership can’t communicate the need for a cohesive push to get more units of a product bought, and communicate how and why those sales will directly affect employees’ paychecks, then they’re to blame when workers slack off when customers complain about a product not working or don’t rush to fix the issue in time. This is the Achilles heel of any large corporation after all, the need for near perfect synergy, which ranges from just enough to incredibly terrible in such companies. Telecel is definitely at the latter in that department, and they need to fix that.
Telecel’s CEO , Angeline Vere needs to pull everyone into line, and make every other leader in it’s hierarchy do the same.
I keep talking about the leadership a lot because when it comes down to it only they can really change Telecel’s approach here . In a company that seems divided and demoralized, a revitalization starting with new leadership, competent leadership is what can make the company begin to turn around, and perhaps actually shake a culture of being sub-par compared to it’s competitors. Econet isn’t immune to complaints, in fact it often gets its fair share. But for all it’s flaws they hold themselves to a higher standard of work that leads to better quality in all their work even if there’s obvious flaws in their service as well. NetOne has also been stepping up their game here , trying where they can to match Econet as well. Telecel on the other hand seems to vary on the day of the week or the branch that serves you. There’s an inconsistency in the whole company that has to be eradicated, and again that’s were only leadership can come in. Not just at a CEO and MD level , this isn’t just a job for  Angeline Vere alone after all, but all middle and lower management even should be pulled in. A new or improved strategy for sustainable profits has to be made (one that makes sure employees get adequately paid thank you) , all forms of leadership are to be made to completely understand this strategy and share it with subordinates and there should be constant checks to make sure said plan is actually being executed and adequately. This is of course an over-simplified version of what needs to be done but it still covers the key aspects of what is required. And right now, it’s a better start than anything else Telecel seems to have up their sleeve. It’s customers deserve better , and so do it’s employees. So back to our original request: Dear Telecel, please do better . Thank you.

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