F is for Failure: My customer “service” experience with Digicel

As I sat here this morning, thinking of what I could write in this installment of my blog, I can think of only one thing: the extraordinarily poor customer service that I have received from telecommunications giant, Digicel, over the past three weeks.  In truth, I do not believe that anyone reading this will believe me when I describe my experiences to you, but I swear to you that it is true.

My troubles with Digicel began when I decided to participate in their Wheel of Fortune promotion early in June.  It is a simple game that is designed to win millions for Digicel at the cost of JA$500,000.00 for the “winner”, JA$150,000.00 for the second place “winner” and JA$100,000.00 for the person in third place.  This was my first time participating in any Digicel game – I usually delete their texts as soon as I see them – but it was my second time engaging with the top up feature on their web site.

The first time that I tried to manage a Digicel top up account I forgot my password and that was that!  I asked for help with password recovery and got it.  When I asked a second time I was told to get a new credit card since the site would no longer be accepting my old credit card as someone was already registered to use that card. The fact that it was me trying to use my own card to transact business with the company was immaterial.  I suppose that I can understand that, the staff at Digicel have to protect themselves, even at the risk of not serving their customers.

So, it was with mixed feelings that I realized the potential of the situation when my bank really did discover fraudulent use of my card about two years later, and so issued me with a new card.  Of course I had to register a new e-mail address with Digicel, but that was easy since I have several that I use regularly.  All seemed well, I topped up for myself, and even made surprise gifts of call credit to my sister and to one of my friends on their site.   And then there was the temptation of the half a million dollar prize that was dangled in front of me in one of their texts.

I blame the fact that I was studying for an exam and so, vulnerable to anything that would distract me.  I blame the fact that I really do need to find some money from some other source in order to realize some of my dreams.  Whatever the cause though, I texted “Spin” to the number suggested and saw that I moved from something like number 7,890th place to number 6,789th place.  Well… so much for that.  I texted “Spin” again and moved into number 6,541st place… and so it went on until I found myself in number 46th place having spent about JA$250 to do so.  By then, of course, I was hooked.  I could see myself paying for the wall in my backyard to separate my two giant dogs, Danny and Chase, from their intended prey, my frisky, sweet, cute, helpless puppy, Fern.  I could see myself finding the money, other than from savings, to raise my front fence to keep out the praedial thieves that come to reap what they did not sow in my backyard.

Unfortunately for me, my business seems not to be good enough for Digicel.  I have come to this conclusion since their website has refused to sell me phone credit for over a week, and neither their “customer care” representatives nor their technical staff seem to give a kick about this.  I cannot be sure how many persons I have spoken with there about my problems over the past two weeks, but it is certainly over 10 different individuals and, sadly, I have to say that I have been disappointed with all but three of them.

I have many, many issues with the group of persons who represent Digicel:

I am a customer, not your friend, so please do not call me by my first name.

Please listen to what I have to say before asking me further questions in order to “help” me.

Please do not try to pass off your incompetence on others; I know that I have enough money in the bank, and that there is nothing wrong with my credit card; I wouldn’t be calling you if I didn’t know these things; and just think, even when I tell you that the bank and I have sat for 38 minutes online, watching you reject my attempts to do business with you, it must take very great gall for you to tell me that that is all your “technical team” has to say to me, that no one else seems to be having this problem and that I must try again in an hour.  Believe me, I don’t give a f**k that no one else is having that problem; I AM, AND YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT IF YOU ARE BEING PAID TO CARE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS AND TO SUPPORT THEM TECHNICALLY.

When you say that you are going to “escalate” my problems to a more technically trained team, please do so, and please call me back as promised to tell me what is happening.  I am not here to harass you, remember me, I’m your customer?

I do not expect my problems to become worse after calling you – I couldn’t give gifts of credit to my friends OR gain access to the approximately JA$41,000 that I had amassed on the BFFF feature (and believe it or not, I had to tell your customer care representative that I ought to have been able to send text message with that as well as make calls to my fiancé since he didn’t know that), and believe me, I could actually see that your website worked UNTIL it picked up that it was me trying to gain access to it with my e-mail address at which point there was no service available in my country (I doubt that very much) a problem that your technical staff had “never seen before” (why am I not surprised), and which even your customer care representative could not overcome when I gave her my personal information so that she could top up on my behalf!

Finally, why – given my documented history of calling you with a problem, couldn’t I just be allowed to change my e-mail address and use my card peacefully on your site?  I understand your need to protect your clients from credit card fraud, but, as I have said, you could have had no doubt that it was me since I had been calling you about my issues. It may just be me, but I expect some improvement, rather than to be left with the suspicion that I am being punished by the staff for making a complaint.  I expect you to have answers for even SOME of my questions because you do call yourselves “customer care representatives” and “technical support”.

The truth is that I have been left with the worst possible suspicions about some of the members of the staff at Digicel.  I have contemplated asking the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Commission to investigate the handling of THIS particular game.  I have thought to have my attorney call the company to inform them that they owe me JA$500,000.00 because I did not receive a fair chance to maintain my Number 1 position in this game; a position that I held two days before the end of the game.  Indeed, I believe that I was hampered in this regard by the breakdown in their systems and the almost complete lack of cooperation by the staff. (I won’t do this simply because I now believe this company too far beneath me for my notice). I have thought to tell their marketing and legal teams about my case, in the interest of ensuring that it doesn’t happen again – at least, if I hear of anyone else suing Digicel over a similar situation, I can come forward – and believe me, I would – to refute the claim that I expect to hear at that time, that the company “didn’t know” about this.

Finally, do not ask me if you can “help me with anything else” (don’t tell me that you regard what you did as helping – you can’t be that thick) or tell me to “have an incredible day from Digicel” after you have just ruined it. Frankly, all that does is to annoy me further and to convince me that you are performing at the level of a trained seal…so maybe, on reflection, I am in the wrong to have expected any real help from the good folks on the other end of the line when I dial 100.  To contact you has been a total waste of my time, akin to completing the surveys to which I have been asked to respond after every call to customer care and before I shut down your website after every visit.  Nothing good has ever come from spending my time with you.  It is a pity that there isn’t an equivalent of Angie’s List or TripAdvisor to which I could log my warning about you to the public.

In closing, I have to say that I have lost respect for Digicel completely, their handling of my case has been disgraceful; and I have to tell you that I wish for the company, NOTHING but bankruptcy.  I would say that I will see them in Hell, but I don’t plan to go there myself.

About Gabrielle Burns

I am a Jamaican at play here in this vast playground in cyberspace....Yes, at times I do like to live dangerously, but I AM also working hard at becoming more interesting by the day... :)
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