Starcomms Nigeria – a dying legacy?

Now I don’t know how to measure a company that is dying, but I can guess.  OK, I admit it, more clever people than me (even the CDMA operators themselves) have talked about the difficult situations these CDMA mobile operators are experiencing.  Was it not Multilinks that recently became an orphan when its parent company in South Africa refused to finance it anymore?  Anyhow, Starcomms is in the same boat but that is not my point here.  My point is about my personal unsatisfactory experience with them on occasions.

I have had cause to write about them in the past:

Here: http://writingpad.com.ng/?p=225 (Corruption in Starcomms Nigeria)
and
here:  http://writingpad.com.ng/?p=612  (Starcomms CDMA steps up support)

Now it is very curious.  I wrote the last one just in March this year and here I am today making a complete volte farce because I wish to lambast (to the best of my ability) their service, including customer service.

If they are doing badly as a mobile telephone company, they ought to do their best to recover revenue from selling more data.  I used to boast that Starcomms Internet was one of the most reliable.  To be fair to them, it still is, but every time I have to deal closely with them either to pay a bill, renew a service or make a complaint, I go away with a worse and worse impression each time.

I’m making this short so I skip some complaints to go straight to my contact with customer service today.  Call their customer service number and you are greeted with an annoying, lengthy diatribe from the voice of a lady whom unfortunately you cannot interrupt because it is a machine.  You must needs hear her out, talking crap to me when all I want is to make a complaint about something.  Bla, bla, bla and bla, on and on and finally she tells you that you are welcome and that you are going to receive a wonderful service today and that you should go ahead to tell what you want and that they were going to attend to you after you speak…. O my!  Shut up!!!!

And when she finally shuts her crap, you get to wait some more.  After the second level wait today the phone was picked by a real person, another lady, speaking from A VERY NOISY BACKGROUND (I exaggerate not!).  Do you remember those gsm calls you make and you have to beg the person on the other end to allow you to call back another time when the background was less noisy?  Today was like that.  How can starcomms set up its customer service unit in Tejuosho market?  Thankfully she soon transfers me to another guy who spent the better part of the time apologizing for making me wait, while making me wait, coming back to take some data, etc, etc,etc.  At a point I had to tell him to please take down my number in case my call credits run out so he can call me back.  “Oh, you’re calling from a starcomms line so your credit will not run out.  This call is toll free”.  OK sir, but my time is not toll free.

And don’t even let me get going on their online “self-service” portal?  It has taken them the better part of two years to get that part of their site starting to “crawl” to existence, and even now, you cannot do anything useful on it.

An analysis of Starcomms financial health.  Read it here:  http://www.businessdayonline.com/NG/index.php/markets/companies-and-market/21462-starcomms-financial-situation-deteriorates-further-in-2010-full-year-financials

2 thoughts on “Starcomms Nigeria – a dying legacy?”

  1. Hi Ike,

    Pity indeed!

    I am reading your post from Italy where I am paying the equivalent of N4,300 per month for a 10 GByte super fast internet connection.

  2. Starcomms has tried to position itself as the network that

    "Listens to its customers", unfortunately, the events that has

    unfolded since last year has left me with a foul taste in my

    mouth particularly, given the crop of management in the

    company.

    Personal internet has now become a commodity, compared to 3

    years ago when users were charged a lot to enjoy 24 hours

    internet services, today, the market is segmented such that as

    a user, the choice of duration, time slots and other are at

    your fingertip depending on the provider of your preference.

    In Starcomms, i have used the wireless router, which costs

    N35,000, with a 247 internet access for over a year now, with a

    recurring subs of 15950 monthly. Mathematically, the

    subscription totals N191,400 yearly.

    In Economics, the network externality is the effect that one

    user of a good or service has on the value of that product to

    other people, so one will expect that it will be beneficial to

    the company that customers remain on the network and not seek

    out other providers, so long as the subs are paid. A good

    number of Starcomms users have defaulted to other networks

    simply because a bad device was not replaced timely.

    Last year December, my wireless router went bad, i requested to

    get it changed at the Starcomms service center, even if i had

    to pay for it. I was told that Starcomms does not have this

    device in stock any longer and that i had two options, either

    downgrade to a usb Internet dongle or remain on the waitlist

    for the arrival of a new batch of wireless routers. I have

    remained on this waiting list since December 2011 to April 12,

    2012….and have recieved no calls, emails or any other form of

    communication regarding this prolionged wait. I have also

    contributed to lost revenue of N63,920 since January 2012. This

    may not be much but consider the number of people who have

    similar challenges and would not talk….it took me 4 months to

    do so and i intend to keep talking that Starcomms Nigeria has

    left a bitter taste in my mouth for as long as it takes.

    As at the time of writting this, I reviewed Starcomms website

    for possible email addresses to lay my complaint to, i got 3

    email addresses for hr, finance and technical. I got a

    postmaster return email for all 3 email addresses.

    Best Regards

    Ike

    ikefor [at] yahoo [dot] com

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