Monday, September 25, 2006

Customer Service, UAE Style

I went to perform my patriotic duty this morning by paying my monthly visit to the gatherer of taxes.

I went to pay my phone and Internet bills this morning. I was expecting great things of Etisalat, seeing as how just last week they won an award for Best Customer Service in the UAE. And it's Ramadan, so everyone should be super-nice.

There was a small huddle around one of the cash payment machines, but the other had no queue. I fiddled around with it for a bit, and soon discovered the reason for its queuelessness. It wasn't working. So I joined the huddle for the other machine, which had grown a little bit (the huddle, not the machine). I stood in the queue for ten minutes, during which time the person at the front looked like he was about halfway through the sheaf of bills he was inputting.

So I stomped off to the cashier's desk and was about fifth in line. The cashier finished with the person he was dealing with, and turned the next one away because she had fewer than six bills. Buggrit! I left that queue and rejoined the cash machine queue, which by now was simply enormous. I must have had steam coming out of my ears because a security guard came up to me and suggested I use the other other machine. It's outside, round the back of the building, in a little lobby. Great. I get there. It's outside, round the back of the building, in a little lobby, in pieces.

Back to the main building. I noticed that the cashier had no customers now, so I approached him with my feeble list of three accounts. 'Cash machine' he said. I pointed out that a) only one out of the three machines was working, and b) he was doing nothing. 'Go see manager' he said.

I went to see the manager, pointed out that he had a problem, and wondered if Etisalat didn't want my money. 'Of course we want your money!' he said, so I suggested he might want to find a way to make it possible for me to give it to them. He had a quick look at the mess in the main hall and told Abdullah to be a cashier for a bit.

Abdullah donned a cashier's hat and did the business. He had no change, of course, so I ended up giving Etisalat a bit more than I wanted to.

Hurry up du, we need you!

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