A lot of times when we call customer care, it is because we have an issue to be sorted. So mostly we are already agitated and prone to being harsh. For a company the size of Safaricom that resolves around 100,000 queries on call and 4,500 on social media on a daily basis, these kind of agitated calls must be in the thousands every month.
I’ve never quite lost my cool with Safaricom, simply because any time I’ve had a problem I’ve been sorted reasonably fast and satisfactorily. I’ve been aggrieved alright, but never left to feel helpless and frustrated and I’m sure this is the case with other customers as well. But who are these people behind the voices and social media posts? What are their stories? I don’t imagine there’s a moment the customer care phones go silent so how do they cope with their obviously very demanding jobs?
Safaricom Customer Care team is certainly robust so as much as the company is accused of many things, nobody can really accuse them of being lax in responding to customer queries. On their part, Safaricom takes the welfare of their teams seriously by providing amenities like prayer rooms, entertainment rooms, clinic, and gym among others. Their work is therefore not just to sit in booths and pick calls but also to have wholesome lives in which their health and spirituality are minded. After all, this is the team upon whose shoulders the huge responsibility of customer retention rests. The must be enabled to stay productive and sane.
A few of their stories have since been told elsewhere and I particularly liked the story of the quick witted Erick Mwiti. Mwiti is in the social media customer care team and has become the personification of the brand easing up and being able to communicate with the people at a fun and normal level devoid of the clinical stiffness that is the corporate norm. That, I believe is a connection that goes further to drive the company’s new philosophy ‘twaweza’ which simply highlights its togetherness with its customers. As a customer you don’t feel like Safaricom is up there and you are down here.
So, who are these people and how do they manage to keep so calm and sometimes even fit in some wit and humour in the face of customer animosity? Let’s face it. Customers can shout one down and it is not in everyone’s nature to take harsh call after harsh call and still remain calm and helpful. I know a few people who would not get to call number 5 without breaking into a rant fest 😀
There is a satisfaction that comes with putting a face to tweets and voices we would otherwise be tempted to blur as just numbers. Let’s meet a few faces behind the number 100.
Julius Gatitu Mworia who has worked for Safaricom Customer care for 10 years. He describes his journey as exciting and very satisfying because he gets to make a difference in someone’s life every day by solving a problem that was bothering them. Challenges are there of course, like customers who feel that Safaricom should have a solution to everything. He has had a fire outbreak reported to him, in which case he shares the relevant numbers for the customer to call to get help.
Sauda Bashir – She’s in the social media team and has worked there for 3 years now. She loves that as much as some queries may seem small, she gets to change someone’s life. As much as her job could get mundane, the fact that customers have come to her for help and she’s able to offer that keeps her going. She says that twitter people are woke 😀
Maureen Obande – She has worked with Safaricom customer care for 5 years and gets a lot of satisfaction from assisting her customers. She has been able to help a customer sort a big issue that involved accessing funds in a deceased person’s account. She followed up after a week and was delighted to learn that the customer went by her prompts and was sorted.
Faith Muthoni who has worked there for 5 and a half year says she loves that there is no monotony on the job. As she enjoys helping people, she gets to deal with different issues every day. She advises her fellow assistants to go all out in helping customers.
These are just a few who give a general and well representative sentiment, otherwise the customer care center has approximately 2,000 people. Not to mention that other than calls and social media, Safaricom is also setting up lots of care desks around the country for those who go to physical shops for help.
Next time you dial 100, remember there’s a face behind whoever picks the phone. Yes we do seem to forget that.