Thursday, June 01, 2006

Etisalat Dus Customer Service

Hard on the heels of the launch of Etisalat's feeble Two Cabbage Leaves logo, I had occassion to visit their Jebel Ali shop. As the end of the month approached I thought I should give them a huge amount of money to pay for services rendered, 'cos, you know, they need it much more than I do, poor things. So I headed off to the nearest cash payment machine which quite happily accepted money for mobile and landline, but really was not interested in my broadband account. It refused to recognise the account number, even though it has done so in the past.

So I jump in the car and head off to the wilds of Jebel Ali. On entering the hallowed portals of Etisalat I was accosted by one of three young ladies in smart black uniforms.

Young lady: Hello
Me: Grunt (thinking: get out of my way)
Young lady: Are here to pay bills?
Me: Grunt
Young lady: Are you paying by cash or credit card?
Me: Cash
Young lady: Do you have more than five bills?
Me: No (thinking: get the &%$^ out of my way)
Young lady: Then you can use our shiny new Cash Payment Machine!
Me: Can't
Young lady: Sure you can, and look! There's no queue!
Me: Doesn't work
Young lady: Of course it does. It's very easy. I'll show you how to do it 'cos your obviously a bit thick
Me: Please get out of my way

Head off to cash counter. Wait ten minutes. Pay money.

I'm sorry, but if you're trying to do customer service you should not block the way of people in a hurry and subject them to a five minute grilling. What a relief to hit the cash counters and find that nothing at all has changed: the indolent old staff still wearing their their own old clothes (competition idea: design a uniform for Etisalat staff, and no, dishdashas are not allowed), still grumpy and grunting, still think that customers are like criminals.

Compare and contrast: Etisalat's new way of describing themselves...

We enable people to reach each other, businesses to find new markets and everyone to fulfil their potential. Across the UAE, we provide telephone, TV and Internet services for everyone, and much more for businesses. We are increasingly present in international markets. Our customers enjoy the latest services and technologies, as well as a choice of great entertainment.

And the reality.

We're only a phone company and ISP, but we behave like a totalitarian dictator. We charge enormous fees for our services. We only give you half the Internet and criminalise access to the other half. We lie to you when things go wrong. We really do think you are stupid. We will never let you use VOIP until we can find a way to make you pay at least as much as you are paying now. So just give in and give us more money.

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