Ghanaian Customer Service

Notice the word, Gently...
Notice the word, Gently…

If you’ve ever been in Ghana for more than a week you are already snickering because you know that Ghanaian customer service is an oxymoron. However, I’m here to tell you that there are exceptions to the abysmally bad service one usually receives.

My experience with MTN this morning is a good example of stellar customer service. I had gotten into a bit of trouble with my pay-as-you-go cell phone service yesterday. In my haste to scratch off and enter a 14-digit number, I grabbed the first hard object I saw and managed to rub three of the numbers into near oblivion.

I was in the middle of a phone call with Mano when the recording came on to tell me I only had one minute of credit left so I hung up with a promise to call back ASAP. The straight edge of my house key certainly looked smooth enough to rub off the silver coating and might have, if I’d taken more time. I was yammering on about nothing to Bob, scraping away, and the next thing I knew little bits of paper are beginning to fly.

To make a long story short, after multiple incorrect guesses, the MTN computer banned me from further attempts, advising me to contact their customer service. I decided to give it a day and see if I’d been forgiven in the morning. But finding myself still shut out this morning, I went to their website and filled out the online help form and also sent an email. To be honest, I didn’t have much faith that the problem would soon be fixed.

Half an hour later I went to my email to send all of my Kumasi friends a message that they could call me but I couldn’t call out until this problem was resolved so look for more emails and fewer calls. What a surprise to see an email in my InBox from MTN asking for my phone number!

So I sent it and nearly fell off my chair when my phone rang a few minutes later. “Hello?” I said. The man on the other end said “Hello” back and waited. Oh heck, I thought. I know how to play this game. “Are you from MTN?” I asked, doing my best to conceal my excitement and act bawcaw (calm and smooth).

Turned out he was, and within a few minutes had removed the ban from my account. I said I’d put in a 10 cedi top up and he said he’d call back to see if it worked. It did and he did. And then he really knocked my flip flops off when he asked about the mangled 20 cedi card.

I gave him the serial number and the first and last 3 digits and listened to him clicking away. “Okay,” he said, “Please check your balance and I’ll call you back.” I did and he did and by this time I was unable to contain myself. “I have 30 cedis of credit!” I gushed, “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you – you have totally made my day!”

And there you have it. Ghanaian customer service. Unexpected and tongue swallowing wonderful.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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