" ITREALMS: Get free calls, forfeit customer care

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Get free calls, forfeit customer care

Market Intelligence:

Remmy Nweke

The telecommunications industry in Nigeria is no doubt witnessing a burgeoning regime, mostly with the recent introduction of midnight free calls on some of the networks.

A trend that seems worrisome, is the possible negates the effect of the free calls, may have as customers may have foregone their right to good customer care services from most of the telecommunications operators and particularly those that are offering this ‘free calls’.

For one of the telcos, once the customer care line is called, the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) would respond by informing the caller that a specialist would soon be with him or her.

And in the next 20 minutes the subscriber would still be kept waiting for the customer care specialist.

For another operator, telecom subscribers need not worry specialist as the IVR would as soon as possible direct whoever cares to visit their website and at the event pay about N200 to get access to the Internet and only God knows when such a person would expect response; probably online too.

Equally, a factor here is that every customer is being forced to get an electronic mail (e-mail) address, which in the first instance, is not acceptable and moreover, is not even obtainable for the rural dwellers on the network.

Investigations conducted by our correspondent, showed that the outcry is on the rise and in fact, subscribers, especially those on the prepaid platforms, which formed the bulk of most of the networks, and precisely on the Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators, are beginning to consider being charged for customer care services they receive as long as they get through to experts to address their issues rather than the responses from the Interactive Voice Response systems.

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