A few months ago, I wrote about poor customer service. Not much has changed. I have concluded that many of the service providers do not respect patrons. It is evident in their tardiness. Because there is little and, in some cases, no competition, the Guyanese customer is often left frustrated, is forced into accepting the system as is and, ultimately, left feeling powerless. Mediocre service thrives in this country and Internet and phone services are two of the most substandard. It is pathetic that with a population of the less than a million people, these services are not of the highest standards.
THINK ON THAT 3When it comes to the landline service, for the most part there are little issues. However, the problem lies with the process of applying for the service. There are people who have been waiting months for their phones and I cannot comprehend why the process is so drawn-out. Is it that the skills and resources are lacking? If that is the case then it is ludicrous. In a country where many young people are looking for jobs, if GTT is short of qualified personnel, then it should train and employ new people.
When it comes to its DSL service, I can share my own experiences. About three months ago, I started experiencing glitches. Having had the service for a number of years, I had never had any major problems. The signal began dropping and several times a day I was forced to unplug the modem then reconnect. I left the country for a couple of weeks and when I returned the problem seemed to have worsened. I called and made a report and within three days a technician came and spent almost an hour “fixing” the problem. When he left, all seemed fine, but by next day the problem resurfaced.
I called again. The last time I was fortunate to speak to a technician, I was told that they would monitor our connection from the DSL office. There have been no improvements still. When I tried calling again this week, I kept getting the recorded message indicating that all customer service agents were busy and to hold. On one call, I waited for almost half an hour but I could not sit all day waiting to speak to an agent when there were many other tasks to complete. Of course, having to wait long periods to speak to representatives is not a unique experience. And again, I have to question if it is an issue of inadequate staff. Or is that there are so many unsatisfied customers that the agents are constantly engaged? The ads and music that are played as you wait are supposed to alleviate the anxiety, I presume, but after a while it gets annoying and further irritates you.
To date, my issue remains, but one thing surprised me about the experience so far. Someone came within three days of my initial report, although I was told it would take seven to ten business days. It surprised me because I know of cases where folks have been waiting weeks and even months before anyone goes to their house.
A family on the East Coast had been calling for months to report that their DSL service was not operating as it should and they kept receiving promises that a technician would visit and reference numbers. Eventually, after a post was made on social media about their situation, someone who knew a person within the company lodged a complaint on behalf of the family and the next day there were men working in the area. One of the workers went into the home, looked around, fixed nothing and promised to return. He never did and the family concluded that the issue was probably not within his scope of work, but because they were fixing another issue in the area and someone within the company had requested that someone visit the home, the technician briefly made an appearance.
Eventually, the family’s frustration reached its limit, they stopped paying for the service and have been without Internet access since.
In the West Ruimveldt area, I know some customers who had to wait weeks and months for their service to be fixed. One person kept calling customer service and finally she saw workers in the area one day. She knew one of workers and complained. He told her that she was not on the list to have her issue resolved that day, but because he knew her he fixed the problem and to her dismay it did not take very long.
When I compare my experience—where a technician came within three days—the experience of other people, who live in places like Sophia, for example, and who have been waiting weeks and months, I have to wonder if there is discrimination based on where people live.
When it comes to cell phone service, there are also many complaints. A few months ago, the advent of 4G service was proudly announced; late it was and, of course, not without issues. But is it 3G or 4G? I thought it was the model of my phone that was responsible for me only receiving 3G service upon activating a 4G plan, until I went to the United States. There, I purchased a one-month plan and, voilà, I had a 4G plan!
There are Digicel subscribers who also complain about their data plans being automatically renewed with no prior agreement. Maybe it is the company’s policy, but once there are still customers complaining, it means that communication is not clear and the company has to work to clarify.
Where there is none or little competition, the people will suffer and that is what we are experiencing in Guyana. Since experiencing problems with my Internet service, I have asked customer service agents if there were issues with the general service and I was told that there are no issues. I am very skeptical that that is the truth since I am not the only person experiencing deficient Internet service. Eventually, some of us are fortunate to get our issues resolved and if rebates were offered for poor or no service that would be fair but I am not hopeful.
Many of our frustrations have reached their zenith and many have accepted that the system is what it is. But we must banish that voice that says, “Oh, is Guyana;” that resolve that we must accept what we get because we cannot do better. I refuse to accept that these companies cannot do better. We deserve excellent service. We are not powerless. For change, I believe, we must collectively confront these companies. Boycotts and protests, perhaps. The question is: Who is prepared to make the sacrifice? Lack of choice keeps us bound to the system that often tells us by the actions of service providers that our money is good enough to take, but we must accept any rubbish parading as first-rate service.

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