Yesterday I erroneously sent airtime credit to a wrong party. I quickly got in touch with the call center of my Telco service provider, told the care agent what had happened and requested assistance. She duly informed me that they are unable to auto reverse credit sent erroneously to another party and could only do so if the said party sent back the credit which would then be pushed back to my money service account from where it exited.
I was quite stumped because in the last month, this Telco has gone all out to make  a grand announcement on all platforms that it had responded to customers’ pleas and requests and had finally cracked the solution to reversal of erroneous airtime credit transfers.
The care agent made empathetic noises at me, asked if I knew the person I had sent the airtime to and advised that I call them and beg them to send it back to me. I was utterly perplexed. I had taken keen note of the grand announcements that came with pomp and glory, having been a victim of sending airtime to strangers out of my carelessness.
I decided to send a tweet to their online technical team asking when a solution would ever be found. The tech team responded immediately indicating that auto- reversal of airtime was possible. I tweeted back and asked them to quickly advise before the recipient of my airtime gobbled it all up. After half an hour passed with no response, I called the call center again and spoke with a different call agent who was surprised that I had initially been told it wasn’t possible. This agent took details and promised a reversal within 12hrs on condition that the recipient hadn’t tampered with it.
The space of time between my initial call and this positive response call was a record one hour forty five minutes. Sufficient time for an ill meaning party to quickly dispense off with the credit L

So here’s what I marveled about…….
Here is a blue chip company, investing millions in ad placements to make grand celebratory announcements about a process that the call center agent is unaware about? What could have caused this breakdown in communication? How is it that an agent (or who knows how many?) is not aware of this latest development. This interface is the face of the organization! The first port of a call and the first contact with customers! Could the communication chain have been broken along the line? What happened?? Isn’t it a no brainer that all pertinent persons should have this info at their fingertips?
Needless to say, this interaction left me with the perception that the brand has loopholes and that communication or the lack thereof is not streamlined despite it being a highly digitized and technical corporate.
Communication about products, services, changes to procedures, latest developments and frequently asked questions is critical for frontline staff. Brand and product knowledge is what serves to position a corporate as highly efficient or otherwise. Customers are hungry for information to make informed decisions. A highly informed workforce does the trick. Right from the so called back office staff to the customer facing staff – everyone from top down should be walking product and service catalogues. Investment should be made in creating internal awareness for immediate return on investment. It is correctly posited that an organization’s first marketers and brand ambassadors are its workforce.
Quick question at this point – are corporates making provision for internal staff awareness programmes in both budgetary and time allocation terms? If yes – then the high road of success draws nigh, if not then it makes good food for thought and action.
Back to my airtime circus – I have just received a text from my provider indicating that the recipient has already spent the airtime and they are unable to refund it as it falls short of the entire amount transferred. I rest my case. I will tomorrow make a call to their competition and find out if they have this service in place. And I will of course, like every disappointed and frustrated customer does, tell everyone who cares to listen about it……………………..