Telcos Need To Streamline And Be More Transparent With Their Services

This is not going to be one of those rants about how bad the Ghanaian telcos are. This post is actually more of providing feedback and advice about what telcos can do to make their customers a little better of.

As a writer, sometimes I have to search for information about certain things I need to write about. Google is my best friend and I spend a lot of my time there looking for information.

In Ghana, customers get to choose between four major telecom companies for phone service: MTN, Vodafone, Tigo and Airtel (Sorry, Glo). For the record, I use MTN for my service but I have used Vodafone in the past.

Whenever I check my credit balance on my phone, I get a USSD message showing me the amount of data I have left as well as my phone credit. For my MTN service, I also get information about my “Bonus” credit. For the life of me, I haven’t figured out how the Bonus credit on MTN works. I can’t find it anyway. So I called MTN customer service and I asked how it works. I was told that the bonus credit would be used for outgoing calls. Meaning, any call I make, MTN would dip into my bonus credit and charge it for my outgoing calls.

But curiously, I observed how bonus credit was deducted when I make calls and it appears that it doesn’t really work like that. I can write a whole post about this but that’s not the point of this piece.

Here’s the main point of this post: Where is all this information I need to find out about my phone services? Why isn’t the information about how bonus works on MTN on their website? Or anywhere else for that matter?

Also, why is it so complex when I’m trying to choose to register for a service. I remember when I got back to Ghana and I was trying to figure out this whole USSD thing. Seriously, there WAY TOO MANY hash combinations for me to remember!

Why isn’t this streamlined? Why so complicated?

What Other Telecom Companies Do

I don’t like comparing Ghanaian companies to other international ones but I feel like it’s something we could emulate. So what I’m going to show is how telecom companies in the US display information such as data bundles and services for their customers.

Let’s take a look at what I found on Verizon’s website page. I was on their website looking at their data plans and this is what they offer:

Verizon Data Plans (Click to enlarge). Image Credit: Verizon

Simple. Straight to the point with all the pricing. It tells you what each plan offers, how much it costs and details of each plan.

Ok, now let’s look at T-Mobile’s services and what they offer customers:

T-Mobile Data Plans (Click to enlarge). Image Credit: T-Mobile

Again, everything is laid out nicely. You get to see how much data you’re purchasing, the talk time, text messages and 4G data. It’s all spelled out in the table.

Lastly, let’s look at AT&T’s unlimited data plans and how it’s laid out:

AT&T Data Plans (Click to enlarge)

Everything is laid out perfectly.

Now, I tried to find similar information about services from our local telcos. There is some information available but there’s definitely some work to be done.

Now let’s take a look at Vodafone’s website:

This needs work

Here’s a couple of things I want to talk about:

  1. Why do telcos have so much hash codes? Seriously, why can’t our telecom services just give us simple plans for us to choose and be done with it? I understand that not everyone has a smartphone but even with the USSD codes, I feel like it could be simplified.
  2. Website design. Telcos, you can do better. Vodafone, I’m picking on you because you really needs to fix your website. I really hope there’s team working on a redesign for your. homepage.*

*(Hey Vodafone, I’m a UX designer on the side, I can help you fix this. Call me if you need to)

Promos, Promos, Promos

We all know that telcos are notorious for promoting new services and bundles. I’m sure the Tigo marketing team is cooking up a new promo about a special bundle for next month. I’m pretty sure Vodafone and MTN have some special bundle promotion up their sleeve.

Seems like there’s a new data bundle everyday from Ghana Telcos

I find no problem with trying to entice customers to use your product but the problem with this strategy is that its basically information overload.

Why can’t all telcos just give us a simple package deal. Let me help out. How about something this:

20 GHC gets you the following: 20 Mins Talk Time, 100 text Messages, 100 MB

50 GHC gets you the following: 40 Mins Talk Time, 300 text Messages, 250 MB

You get the idea. Mix it around a bit. Why so many promo bundles and social media bundles? I’m so confused. I can’t remember all these hash codes! Sometimes you don’t even know what happens when one bundle expires and what happens with the rest of your mobile credit.

Where’s Your Information?

Remember when I said that I had to call MTN’s customer support line about my bonus credit information? All that could have been avoided if MTN had just put out the information on their website.

(I can rant about MTN’s website as well, but I don’t want this post to go overboard)

I’m not a fan of the idea of hand holding from my telecom company. I shouldn’t have to call every time I can’t figure something out. You should have all the information front and center where all customers can view it. There’s way too much stuff that the public can’t find. This all leads to anger and frustration.

For instance, both MTN and Vodafone have fibre broadband. I want to do a story on both of these services. Thankfully, Vodafone has a page where the information about their packages is display (Did a post on that here)

But for MTN? Nothing. I don’t see a page for pricing, or a nice map showing where the service is available. When I asked the @AskMTN twitter account, they told me to call a number.

Maybe it’s a policy on behalf of MTN. But if I’m a perspective business client, I would to find out information on your website and make a comparison.

Get With The Times

I hope telecom companies get better with displaying relevant information about their services and products. There’s too much stuff the consumer doesn’t know about. Telecom companies need to stop keeping things close to their chest and put it all out for others to see.

Also, fix your websites. The year is 2017. Having a sucky and terrible looking website in this day and age is unacceptable. And if you can, spend some of that marketing money you have on an information app so consumers can see all your information and products at one place.

Sometimes I feel like these companies need a bit of disruption in the market before they sit up and improve. Many people thought Glo would do that.

Orange looks ready to enter the Ghanaian market

Maybe if/when Orange enters the market, we might see some improvement. Let’s hope that if that happens, Orange doesn’t also follow suit with what everyone else is doing.