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04.06.2014 Feature Article

Discard The “They Are All The Same Mantra” If You Really Want Better Services From TELECOS

Discard The “They Are All The Same Mantra” If You Really Want Better Services From TELECOS
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Put two switched on phones with full service at the same place and use one to call the other, you will shockingly be told that the 'number you have dialed cannot be reached'. Uncommonly also, the network can be unendingly disrupted for days and what is annoying is that TELECOS operating in Ghana have no decency to let customers know exactly the cause.

Woe betides you to call their customer service to find out and those young women and men whose only survival is because you buy credit and patronize their services will respond to you in a manner as if your enquiry is taking away their kidneys.

People have lost their jobs, others have missed crucial appointments, interviews and other life changing opportunities. Marriages and relationships have broken down simply because their mobile network operators for no compelling reasons denied them of services at times they most needed it - service, which they pay expensively for. Rather than investing the huge profit they accumulate in improving service delivery, all that telecommunication companies in Ghana know best is to mount elephant size billboards for advertisements.

I will not disingenuously disregard the community impact and other socially beneficial projects that some TELECOS support in Ghana. Of course, building schools, paying for the treatment of the destitute and all the other benign projects are highly commendable. Howbeit, this does not procure indemnity for TELECOS to provide poor services. In any event, in the US and other Western countries where their parent companies operate, they provide highly costly social goods in terms of quality and quantity than they do in Ghana, yet that has not encouraged them to provide abysmal services over there.

So why are they able to unworriedly provide bad services in Ghana where the cost of their service is even more expensive than they charge in Europe and the US? The answer is simple: Here we are unprepared to demand from them better services and they will also rationally not provide them - providing quality service will even eat a bit into their fat profits so why must they worry themselves doing that if especially customers do not demand for it anyways? At any rate despite their poor service delivery, they are able to charge usurious call and service rates, they still have their customer base intact and the profit margins are appreciating every financial year.

I have heard people say the Mobile Number Portability serves no useful purpose. It is normally complained for instance that as soon as TELECO A messes up in the morning, TELECO B will follow suit in the afternoon as though they are in competition to show which network operator is superior in frustrating customers. In effect as we rightly conclude 'they are all the same' so switching from one to the other will not make any substantial impact. Therefore the Mobile Number Portability brings nothing to the table in terms of fostering quality service so we feel reluctant to port our numbers even when we are hugely frustrated by our network operators.

However, I think such a thinking begs the greater point. First, merely because the TELECOS know that you have the option to switch will not necessarily persuade them to improve their services EXCEPT when you actually utilize that opportunity to switch and consequently switch. The point is that TELECOS are business institutions and the only time business listens to you is when you lose them money/revenue. Otherwise, you can complain from childhood up to a time your hair will grow grey, they will never change in so far as nothing happens to their profits. Let us in our massive numbers use one TELECO in Ghana as a test case and port away our numbers and see if the others will not take a clue from that and improve their services and stop wasting money on advertisements.

When you switch networks, first and foremost, you save your health, emotions and psyche from the traumas and anger they make you experience and it is actually absurd to continue to hand your hard earned money over to your service provider for it to be more capable to further torture you with bad services in a sustainable manner. Rationally, you ought to quit.

Secondly, whilst it is true that there is no guarantee of superior service quality from the other competitors, when we all port away our telephone lines from TELECO A for them to lose revenue heavily, by the time we will return from TELECO B to TELECO A again for similar reasons, we will come and meet highly improved services. Indeed we may not even need to come again because our effected possibility to port away from one network to the other will effectively threaten TELECO B and for that matter all the others to improve their services for fear that we will lose them money.

We always compare that the TELECOS cannot operate in the UK and US the way they do in Ghana. Yes, they dare not! Lest they lose all their customers the next 5 to 30 minutes and this is hardly because there are other efficient competitors for no service provider will rationally be scared of losing its customers if it verily knows that never will it be abandoned by the customers even when they deliver poor service, despite the presence of other competitors as happening in Ghana.

So it is not the mere availability of other efficient operators that scare the service providers to deliver quality services elsewhere but the real threat is the actual possibility of all or majority of customers losing them money by switching from their networks unceremoniously.

This strength available to Westerners, Europeans and Americans is what Mobile Number Portability offers us in Ghana. But unfortunately, we do not seem to collectively use it even when the opportune time comes as happened yesterday when one of the TELECOS inexplicably had its network shutdown nationwide.

But why must we because of poor service delivery determinedly discard OUR OWN defunct Ghana Telecom, only for us to helplessly kowtow to exploitative PRIVATE TELECOS who are also toiling with our lives, opportunities, businesses, marriages, relationships and emotions?

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