Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cell C - Raving fan, to totally disillusioned

5 Years ago when I launched my own business Cell C was the only South African cellular network that was prepared to help me with an easy to remember number. As my company grew I was able to add more contact cell numbers all with the same number sequence ending in 8008. (It did however become more and more difficult to do with each added number) In the beginning, I had 4 contracts all on my personal name. It was any cellular networks dream number, (a rental companies main incoming number on a cell phone). Due to this I was treated like royalty and was even given an Ipod shuffle one year as a gift.
My biggest mistake was to listen to a friend's advice, and move all my contracts off my personal name and onto my business instead. From that day on I was largely ignored by Cell C and treated worse than any pre-paid customer. The amazing thing is that my monthly cell phone bill still varied between R9000 in peak season to R6000 in the quieter months.
The final straw for me was when, as a brilliant promotion to swell their customer base, Cell C announced the "Weekend Free" fiasco, for pre-paid customers. As any business person will tell you in this life there is nothing for free. "Talk for free on the weekend" and the response was that everyone did just that, which basically caused a network meltdown on weekends. Contract customers, like myself, found to my horror that I could not phone out at all, to any other Cell C phones. (My phone would just say Call failed!) I do medical call for Siemens Medical Services and if the person needing my assistance happens to be with Cell C on the weekend then "Sorry For You"
I also own a large franchise network that does most of its business on the weekend. If my driver or I need to contact a customer who happens to be on Cell C on the weekend then again "Sorry for You"
But wait there is more!
Try to get hold of any cellular companies, (not only Cell C's) help line especially when you can't phone within your network, and while the network is busy melting it's own Eco friendly fake palm tree masts! I eventually asked someone else to phone 084140 and was politely told that "140 is an incoming call centre, and that they can't phone out to help with my problem"
Oh great @$%&
After some pretty serious emails I eventually got a response:
Good day, Andrew
Thank you for taking the time to raise your concerns with us.
“Our Woza 0 promotion has meant an increase in traffic on our network over the weekend free time. We completely understand how frustrating this may be to you, not being able to get through.
The congestion that is experienced is limited to certain coverage areas and our network technicians are working feverishly to iron out these problems. With each Woza 0 weekend that passes, we learn more and spend the week making good on these lessons, expanding our network capacity and resolving high traffic hot spots.
We would like to reassure you that we continue to expand our network almost daily as our customer’s ability to be connected is of paramount importance to us.”
Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience this matter has caused.
Letlhogonolo Xaba
Client Liaison Representative

The other thing that really got me hopping mad was that The Cell C Call Centre, then just sent me an SMS saying that "the Case 1584992 resolved bla bla fish paste....."
Tell that to all the Cell C contract customers who can't phone anyone on the Cell C network, on the weekend!
Woza, Monday 2 Friday, Cell C - Woza!!


Anonymous said...

This is typical of the technical and managerial incompetence of large organisations. They just don't care.

Anonymous said...

I left Cell C in 2003. I had R10 credit left on my phone and couldn't call out, so I called the helpline and they informed me that I had to use my credit within a certain timeframe. I had to buy more airtime to use what I had already purchased.

I told the Cell C person that I found that unacceptable and they informed me that I could go elsewhere if I didn't like it.

So I did and they can't get me back again ever.

Cell C is a loser company.

They made one mistake and they don't get to make another one. They should have known better.

Andrew said...

Once Again... I could not reach my family on Cell C over the weekend. I was traveling between PE and Bloem and needed to speak to them, but could not. Thanks Cell C but this is crazy...I am now going to move networks.

Andrew said...

I have been to busy to arrange for moving of my numbers to another service provider. In the mean time Cell C continues to offer poor service. We often have problems reaching our staff and family on their Cell C phones. Non of the calls I have logged with their call centre have been resolved to my satisfaction (that the phones work normally on weekends) Today my wife could not retrieve a message of her voice mail, due to the message Network Busy appearing repeatedly. Maybe Muhieddine Ghalayini (the Chairman of Cell C) should take some action to sort out his failing network.