I hate banks. I really hate banks. So today when I tried to get a mobi-account so that I wouldn’t have to go to the bank, I got naturally pissed off. Why? I’d left my ATM (card) at home.

The form needed me to fill in my account number, and I didn’t have it off-head. I asked the nice lady at the counter to look it up for me an she said no. Why? I didn’t have my original ID. It’s my account dammit! So no, I still don’t have a mobi-account, and yes, I still have to go to the bank. Aw crud.

[I suppose I should mention why I don’t carry IDs and ATMs. I hate bureaucracy even more than I hate banks. Especially the bureaucracy of replacing lost things. So I rarely carry any ID (I have scanned, laminated copies), ATMs, or notes above 200/=. Pickpockets don’t like me very much.]

But I digress. Today, I’m pissed off with Kenya Power. Again. Last month, I had drama with power and banks and M-PESA. So I was surprised when my prepaid electricity units ran out prematurely. I shrugged it off and assumed that I’d over-used the blowdrier or something. I loaded the meter with 2,000/=, which this month, bought me 127.5 units. It took 24 hours before I received the tokens, which was a bit worrying, seeing as I had just ten units left.

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Customer Care is Not Enough: Do More, Say Less, Be Better

In case the title didn’t aptly cover it, here’s a little explanation of what inspired this piece.

Yesterday morning, flights landing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were rerouted to neighboring countries’ runways. Reason being – to the best of my knowledge – that there was no power at the airport. The runway lights were off or not functioning, basically. I laughed.

You see, I had just seen the new KPLC…sorry, Kenya Power (roll eyes with me) ad*. And somewhere in the ad, I swear I saw planes taking off or landing. The irony was too blatant for a bored designer such as myself to not kill 25 minutes doing these mock ads.

Jokes aside, I didn’t stop churning these out by choice. Further irony imposed itself in the form of the blackout that knocked out my internet, halting my twitpic comedy hour prematurely. But why, you may ask, the ridicule? Continue reading

Customer Care at its Worst: “When Safaricom Meets Nokia Care”

Today, I climb atop this soapbox to tell you about Safaricom Customer Care and Nokia Care and why I’ll never deal with either company again.

Late last year I was upgrading my phone. So I let our followers on Twitter choose what phone I was going to get. Why? Because you guys give awesome advice. To answer your next question, yes, that moisture on your rump is me ass-kissing.

Anyhow, I ended up with a Nokia N8 from Safaricom (in spite of our history with them). I paid the full price – which was then the equivalent of a few goats and a cow – and waltzed out with a shiny phone and an iron clad warranty to match.

For months I used the phone and had no complaints. The 12 megapixel camera takes amazing pictures and the HD video is quite a riot. The 16GB internal memory was always more than enough and I never had any majore issue of the phone misbehaving that was not resolved by rebooting or updating.

So it was that one morning I turned the phone on, entered my lock code and received a ‘Code error’. I tried it again to no avail. Without hesitation, I quickly Googled this bug and found multiple accounts of similar qualms; some on Nokia Support Boards, others not. Heck, there’s even a Facebook Group & topic about it somewhere.

After some reading, I was reassured that this was a small system glitch that’s easily fixed by Nokia Customer Care. I called a local number and they told me know that all I had to do was drop my phone off where I bought it, they’d take it to Nokia Care and I’d get it back flashed and fresh.


I pulled out my little warranty and went to the Safaricom outlet where I bought the phone with my assistant, Michelle. We stood at the repair line for quite some time(30 or so minutes) before a little lady came and asked me whether I was there for repairs. I looked at the little sign that said ‘Repairs only’ and nodded. She asked ‘So what do you want?’ Continue reading

“The Customer is Dead…” – Does Good Customer Care Exist?

I’m at it a again, and this time I’m speechless. Well, almost. I have bashed Safaricom on more than one occasion, but because of us Kenyans and our peculiar habits, I swallowed my pride and bought an Mpesa line. It’s nothing personal, just business, so for obvious reasons, the number is constantly mteja.

I also have a Zain line to pay my electricity bills. The price war means I can now get calls from any provider, so my Yu line is perfect for everything. Also, my second handset died and I gave away my third one, so I’m now among the ‘normal’ people who have one phone and a hole for extra simcards.

Where is the problem in all this? Well, I love Yu, no complaints. It’s cool, it’s clear, the rates are really cheap, and the simcards are cute. I have to load small cards at a time, but I can live with that, and it’s still the only network that gets service in my house.

But Continue reading

Dear Safaricom: Soapbox Edition

Just for the record, I tried counting to ten before I wrote this. It didn’t work.

I’m a female, a mother, and an adult. This usually means I should not throw tantrums. But I am particularly angry right now, and anger is a scary emotion when it’s in a mother.

I have just received a call from this Mpesa Manager, who called me in response to this comment made a few days ago on this post. Justus had some less than pleasant things to say to me, and when he was done, he went and told Mr Manager about it.

The Manager asked me to email him first, which I did. He then asked for my number so he could call me. I gave it to him. Five minutes later, he sent another email asking for an alternate number, because he couldn’t get me on my Safaricom number. Why? Because Safaricom has no network in my house. I live a ten minute drive from the CBD – when there’s no traffic. The only service provider with network inside my house is Yu.

The Manager and I had a 6 minute conversation in which I didn’t say very much because I was completely shell-shocked. As in I was so mad my hands were shaking. Continue reading

Really Bad Customer Care … or A Really Good Scam!

Safaricon - The Bitter Option

A few weeks ago, I got a forward about how someone had been conned through his phone. Apparently, some guy called him claiming to be from Customer Care and gave him some story about green sim cards, black sim cards and awards, then got the guy’s name, ID number and DOB. Dude’s DOB was his M-Pesa PIN number.

He was then given a code to key in – *33# or something like that – and asked not to use his number for ten minutes. A while later, the guy’s wife calls him on an alternate number claiming that some random guy is demanding Ksh 10,000 for his release. The couple try to call Customer Care but all calls have been barred and the Mpesa account has been drained.

No, I don’t know how they got the guy’s wife’s number. Probably an inside job.

Today, I took Ksh 7,000 out of my Mpesa account, which is the largest amount I’ve ever drawn. I didn’t think about it much, except I felt a little nervous since it wasn’t my usual Mpesa point. I usually draw close to home, just in case. Continue reading