School leaver and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enthusiast, Ms Ifeoma Udaku, was keen in getting on with life beyond her immediate environment and becoming global citizen via the Internet.
She took up the opportunity provided by some Private Telecom Operators (PTO) who now showcase Internet service to gain more customers as part of their Value Added Service (VAS) offering.
Ifeoma soon got a job that keeps her very busy during the day and thus deprives her the chance of accessing the Internet during the day as she has to leave home before 7am; overcome the morning traffic and faces the same when she has to go home by 5.30pm.
So, she decided to go for night Internet service courtesy of PTOs, but an intriguing aspect of this offer has been that at night, customer care services among the PTOs are at zero as most of them now deploy Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems only with no specialist at hand to cater for the problems associated with the firms’ services.
This kind of treatment from PTOs left Ifeoma without any headway because she had some hiccups logging on to the Internet which she very much desired at home, since her work do not allow her access at the office let alone the time.
It could be recalled that most PTOs offer Internet services at intervals such as 6pm to 6am, 6am-10am, 10am to 6pm and 10pm to 6am as well as 24 hours, that is, if it is legacy Internet Service Providers (ISP).
Although those who have access between 7am to 9pm do have at hand a customer care, especially somebody to respond to subscribers’ direct inquiries, abandonment on the part of PTOs mostly at night is however raising some apprehension, that is to say, if it had not begun already, driving some to other competitor because of customer disenchantment and withdrawal from such networks afterwards.
Equally noteworthy is that though the avalanche of offers from the telecommunications sector, especially with the inclusion of the Internet services by the PTO have brought lots of options, and Nigerians seem to be enjoying the evolution in the industry, hence there is urgent need to address the 24/7 by 356 days customer care services.
Other than that, the customer services from the various operators may not be said to be of equal satisfaction to the end users, being that lots of operators in the industry, as was discovered by our market intelligence, have been operating customer care services on skeletal basis.
While some of the operators, according to investigations operate two shifts at their customer care sections; that is 7am to 2pm and 2pm to 9pm as well as some just one shift, that is 8am to 9pm, there is a vacuum being created afterwards as nobody or precisely customer care specialists at most PTOs including some Unified Licensed Operators, that would be handy for the customers towards the midnight till dawn when the specialists are expected to resume.
Then the issue of weekends, is a subject for another day, as most of them, pride themselves to inform you after 9pm that their customer care operate only Monday to Friday on week days whilst weekend is zero, yet some still offer a half day service till about 1pm.
Some of the reasons adduced by the operators as revealed by investigations was that the manpower is not there and the need to optimise the already engaged workforce.
This calls for looking inwards so as to assist subscribers attain the frequently claimed customer interest by these operators, only if they should, at least, restructure their customer care sections by placing even if it is one person on duty to help subscribers, like night browsers in order to keep the likes of Ifeoma growing with the network.
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