ONE morning this week, a friend of mine texted us a call for help; his internet connectivity was faulty and he had failed to get a response from the provider’s Customer Care department, so he needed the contact of “someone” in the company “to help”.
We fell upon him like a tonne of bricks; questioning why he was so accommodating of a service from a corporate entity he was presumably paying money to yet he often rants angrily when some government service or another does not meet his approval (even though he does pay taxes for it).
Some people, however, responded giving him names and numbers of people to contact within the organisation “to help” him.
Before he could make the phone calls for assistance, we told him he was subsidising mediocrity, abdicating his customer rights, and most importantly, wasting our own mobile internet packages because we were using WhatsApp.
Eventually, he emerged with a scathing blog post that the people at Orange Telecom will not be happy about for a while.
But the people who thought nothing of sharing contacts of “helpful” people made me stop to think – and my thoughts rested with three people: two of my brothers, and President Yoweri Museveni.
The two Kaheru boys both worked at different telecommunication companies (telecoms), in different departments, but were always fielding phone calls from people seeking their help in resolving or explaining or forwarding or generally helping with some cellphone-related problem or the other. Even after they had left employment with the telecoms, the phone calls and queries continued – for anything, some times without the caller having tried the official channels first.
But many of these callers would get to these two boys after having faced massive frustration with the official channels – and it was in very few cases that they asked for the number of the Chief Executive of the telecom, yet I have always felt that if you need intervention when things aren’t working properly then THAT’S who you should call – the ‘boss’.
And that’s where the President came into mind; you may have noticed that in recent months the number of ordinary people struggling to break through his security rings at public rallies has increased somewhat. And as he has always done, he shouts his security detail down and has these people listened to only for them to reveal that they have a claim that has met with frustration in the lower orders of the government.
And he has to give an ear because at the end of the day he is the one most supremely accountable to them, one and all, and needs to ensure that the government doesn’t lose even a single supporter, or the Party a single voter.
And even if it’s not the perfect solution to this problem, I believe it works quite well in getting things done and issues handled.
So people like my frustrated telecom customer friend should adopt the methods of those frustrated widows and orphans who cut through highly trained heavily armed security personnel to get to the top.
After absorbing the effective frustration of these corporate customer care systems, instead of seeking mid-level contacts a la the Kaheru boys et al to “help”, go straight to the Chief Executive for intervention; after all, he or she is the person most accountable and needs to ensure that the company doesn’t lose even a single customer.
For me, personally, the escalation to CEO level is always one step above my first official interaction with the Customer Care people; because the CEO is just an employee of the company. The CEO is senior-most, highest paid employee, with the biggest perks, and therefore the one with the most to lose.
I don’t allow them to be ‘bosses’ who are unreachable – and as the President shows when he barks at his security personnel as they try to do their job and stop those widows and orphans from cutting through, WE are their bosses.