Information flow in Airtel affects even their customer care
There is one thing very unusual with Airtel Kenya; they have made it a norm not to inform their customers of important changes. Since August Airtel Kenya has made changes on tariffs, USSD codes and lately on a significant aspect of the Vurumisha Mamili na Airtel Promotion. Sadly it seems no one knows about these changes until they try to use them.
The worst Airtel ever did was the failure to alert customers that they had increased their popular tariff offering from Kshs 3 per minute by end of August this year.The East African wrote,
It may have passed off quietly, but Airtel Kenya’s announcement on August 31  that it was raising its calling rates carried with it a significant game-changing signal in the telecoms industry — a shift in strategy from price as a major selling point. Airtel Kenya…announced a Ksh0.42 (0.48 US cents) or 11 per cent increment in tariffs.
Some (could be most) people have a careful budget for communication. Part of those people never bother to check airtime balance after every call (although Airtel has this annoying tendency of reminding one of the amount spent per call) so when suddenly they realize that they have been spending more than usual on their calls they feel robbed. I don’t know what’s worse, saying that you intend to increase prices and risk losing a few customers to rival networks or increasing the charges secretly at the risk of being called thieves?
Then we have the USSD code for topping up credit. Ever since I bought my Airtel line that I have since thrown down the trench, to top up air time one had to dial *122*card number# but without notice Airtel changed that to *130*card number#. Personally I was not aware of this change until after putting up the post on throwing away my airtel line. After the post is when a number of complains against Airtel came my way; one of them being the Airtel’s change of topping up code without notifying subscribers. Can you imagine the frustrations customers have gone through by using the Airtel’s old code to be greeted by error messages? It gets interesting when you consider the enquiry I made to them on Facebook. I wasn’t sure of which code had been changed; whether it was the balance inquiry code or the top up code. This is how the conversation went:
So Airtel Kenya’s refusal to announce changes they make has consequences even on their customer care. As you can see, it wasn’t just you as Airtel customer that was caught unawares but their customer care on Facebook thinks that they are still running on *122*card number# to top up credit.
That’s not all. I have also been informed that for sometime now the notification that people used to receive when participating on Vurumisha Mamili na Airtel is no more. We had actually wrote against the notification especially the part that required Vurumisha Mamili participants to send some code from Airtel to 30888. In the post Vurumisha Mamili na Airtel turning into a scam? we presented a scenario where participants were receiving error messages instead of confirmation from Airtel that their entry is successful. It seems Airtel has since withdrew the requirement to send the message and likewise have taken out any means of confirming to participants the progress they have in regards to collecting Vurumisha Mamili na Airtel points. This has brought confusion that made Ezekiel Olande to enquire:
— ezekiel olande (@ezykyle) November 28, 2013
To this Airtel Kenya responded:
@ezykyle hi, note subscribers are no longer getting vurumisha codes but points continue to accumulate
— Airtel Kenya (@AIRTEL_KE) November 29, 2013
And Ezekiel replied:
@AIRTEL_KE then your ad is misleading your customers.
— ezekiel olande (@ezykyle) November 29, 2013
These tweets simply means that Airtel Kenya did not bother to inform subscribers of the change of participation rules and procedures. In addition to that, Airtel did not, again, bother to put a system that informs the participants of the total number of points accumulated after every participation.
Airtel Kenya should know that brand loyalty is only possible by not only painting every object in town the the brand logo but by constantly informing customers of the products and services on offers, the changes on any previous products and services, and the upcoming products and services. Customers must always be well informed, in advance, of any changes on pricing, quality, and/or quantity of products and services that a provider intends to enforce.
Secrecy and silence won’t do you service.