This last weekend was quite an eventful one that got tongues wagging about outages. Not only did WhatsApp go WhatsDown, but also Airtel Money shamelessly wasn’t so instant. Imagine your power (ZESCO) units about to run out and you conveniently decide to recharge via Airtel Money only to receive a decepticon looking message with no token but your account gets deducted. Yes that’s exactly what happened! We also got a few compalints regarding buying airtime and sending money. In this case, I’d advise that last minute actions are not very favourable. Emergencies will just have to wait!
As per our policy, we always make an effort to contact stakeholders of our articles before proceeding to publish. Unfortunately, we never always get the answers we seek. In fact, when it comes to Airtel Zambia, we have never really gotten any straightforward answers from them at all. We can’t say whose fault it is because we can’t put a finger on who exactly is running the Public Relations (PR) scene. In a not so perfect world, PR is expected to have an answer for anything and everything affecting the business operations directly or indirectly. However, Airtel Zambia just seems to have so many hoops to jump through, it’s hard to get an idea of what’s going on.
As we proceed to write and consequently publish this article, there still haven’t been any answers provided to our many questions. Updates to this article will be made if necessary, should we hear back from Airtel Zambia. Anyway, back to Airtel Money. One would think that, amid the M-pesa limelight, Airtel Money wouldn’t be so complacent as to not care about small technicalities. From the few people I spoke with over the phone (who chose to remain nameless), it didn’t seem like they even knew that there was a system glitch with Airtel Money over the weekend. One source emphasised that it wasn’t so much an outage than a system interruption. We admit it wasn’t an outage also because Airtel Money was functioning up to a certain point. However, at least have some answers as to what transpired.
Furthermore, calling the customer service center was no joy ride either. The first agent I spoke to was completely clueless and unhelpful. I was told to call back after 2 hours to enable her to get in touch with people who could assist me. “Who are these people and why are they 2 hours away from helping me?” I asked. Silence on the other side of the line. “Please call back after 2 hours, is there anything I can help you with?” Agent replies. So, I call back after about an hour and get another agent who right away says he is going to resend the Airtel Money transaction. “Wait, which department are you in?” I ask. “Customer service” Agent says. Ok so I go on a polite rant about the other agent I spoke to earlier because I know the calls are recorded et cetera. Plus, I make sure to not be rude because I didn’t want to be flagged/blocked from calling customer service in the future. We’ve heard the stories! “What is going on with Airtel Money?” I ask. Hesitation… “nothing, just possibly a system issue” Agent responds.
Needless to say the issue was finally resolved. However, this article cannot be concluded without observing the violation of one of customer services’ golden rules which is “problem resolution on the first point of contact”. Ending with the words of Eunice P. Hamavhwa, “consumer confidence in products and services is crucial to the success of mobile service providers.”