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Mpesa name confirmation function

On Monday I got a new update on my Mpesa service by Safaricom, I could now be able to confirm who the recipient to my transaction was, Yaaaay

With the Mpesa name confirmation function; no more lengthy reversal processes, I remember this one time I had to beg someone I had mistakenly send some cash to send it back to me. He promised to do so but after deducting KES 50 for the transaction fees. I was okay, at least he would send me something because I know people who had lost huge amounts of chumz and that was that.

Wait a minute, some concerns

Now if you do not have someone’s number and they are on Safaricom and registered for Mpesa, you do not need truecaller you can easily check up on them and bam, know who your mysterious contact’s name is.

On the flip side, some unscrupulous characters can decide ‘you know what, let us harvest peoples contacts’. Especially those guys always telling you that you have won this or that, it baffles me how people win things they never made entries for in the first place, I have never been a believer in quick money leave alone free money, I always think there are strings attached to it… You have to earn it. Anyway back to my concern, these people will easily convince gullible people, imagine this:

Screenshot_2015-10-21-11-38-44-771Screenshot_2015-10-21-11-40-26-422

Now, imagine the guesses are your actual names? It becomes pretty convincing right? Because the bugger on the other end will know I am a man and not Halima. I understand that after five cancellations without an actual transaction the service will be suspended, but I have buts…

We have one major headache solved, I am happy about that, the new one that might pop up is the one I don’t know how it will be sorted… Or am I making a mountain out of a mole hill?

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Breaking Loose!, Opinion, Review

 

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Safaricom Customer Service – Different approaches

Good Service makes the difference Chalk Illustration

Good Service makes the difference Chalk Illustration

I walk into this Safaricom shop in a mall
I ask the Safaricom customer service executive if they have the 4G sim cards
We do, but what phone do you have? This area is not covered by the network and additionally the 4G network drains your battery.
I tell them thank you and leave. I am wondering what they take me for? Don’t I know all that? Didn’t I spent whole morning researching on the pros and cons? Don’t I also know areas covered and would I be silly to raise my expectations if I knew I would buy something I wouldn’t be able to use?
I as I go to work the following work week, I decide let me try the town shop. This nice gentleman comes and greets me and asks what I need. Which I tell him. Five minutes down the line I decide I might get late and go ask him if they have the sim cutter which would somewhat help me. As if reading my mind, he thinks for a second and responds “sir what you need is a 4G sim card and that you will get, just queue here” as I go to get served I am thinking, yes I would have had my sim cut but as he said, almost like anticipating it, I would not have been satisfied. I get my sim and happily walk away.
Later is when I wonder, don’t all these executives undergo the same training? Because next time I have a problem I will happily queue for one hour to get served at that gentleman’s station…
PS. I wish I had got his name but I know if you have visited the Shop on Moi avenue you might have encountered him, I salute you sir.
 
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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in Just Random, Opinion, Relationships, Stories, Work

 

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5,500 ft >> 26,000 ft >> 4,265 ft Kenya – Zambia

How would you like to have your breakfast, vegetarian or non-vegetarian?  I know I eat meat, I know I am not vegetarian but here the question is thrown at me threw me off-balance. I take long to think “what am I vegetarian or non-vegetarian?” and ask the lady to repeat what was on offer… I say vegetarian, I think the stewardess could hear my thoughts and gave me that “are you sure” look and I give her “yes I am” to confirm. Wandia hands me the warm plastic bearing vegetarian food, I open it to find potatoes, peas and some fried sweet potatoes! “Who eats this for breakfast? This is not what I wanted!” is what I am thinking, the guy behind asks for non-vegetarian and once he opens his food can I am assaulted by the smell of sausages and bacon, those warus and gwacis did have a hard time going down my throat, I try to imagine they are something else to make them more palatable… I make a strong mental note “Mackel, you are non-vegetarian, get that in your thick skull, NON-VEGETARIAN!” Boiled potatoes and peas is not how you kick-start your morning, unless you are diabetic (no hard feelings if you are diabetic, I now empathize with what you go through), the fried sweet potatoes were tasty though.

Two hours later we touch down at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. I find the client’s driver waiting, apparently my second name means something else in Nyanja, one of the 72 Zambian local languages they mispronounce it and they give me a name which they think I should be called, their local version of my name. From now I think my first name will do. The first striking thing about Zambia for a first time visitor is the space, there is so much space, no storey buildings crowded, there are standalone bungalows, I came to learn they have a population of about 14 million! I get to the guesthouse I will be staying and as the housekeeper is going to get some groceries I accompany her to the mall so I can change some Shillings to Kwacha. Shock on me, since Kenya does not engage in reasonable trade with Zambia, they do not change Kenyan Shilling, this is where your visa card saves the day.  The local tv station ZNBC (Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation) has programs in the local languages i.e. Bemba, Nyanja, Tonga… Imagine KTN broadcasting in Meru, Luo or Borana!

Zambia is very large and sparsely populated and to visitors from more crowded lands the sense of space and stillness leaves vivid memories – Zambian Guide book

The guesthouse

Zambia has beautiful women.

Most are apple bodied no pears, if you love cute faces and nice boobs I just gave you a hint where to look.

Zambians are friendly, way friendlier than Nairobians. You will notice the ladies curtsying when greeting you, some even kneel. Same happens when you are buying stuff, you get the feeling like your money is gold-plated, I think instead of having too many workshops on customer service companies need to take their staff to Zambia they learn first-hand how to crown their customers and make them feel valued.

Zambia is in a rapid development state at the moment. If you are a company looking for the next frontier in business, Zambia should make your “to prospect list” and more so if you are in manufacturing, power systems and construction industries, but carry your own SWOT and PESTEL beforehand this is not to be taken as professional advice. Interesting to note was that Zambian do paint their trees, they paint them white to enhance their beauty! Crown paints should pay me for that heads up to an awesome opportunity, Peter Marangi would have quite the experience painting trees!

So should you find yourself in Zambia here are some things to note;

Visa

Zambia does not require business/tourist visas from citizens of Comesa and SADC. You should however confirm with their consulate before travel in case of changes. I found visahq.com very handy too.

Currency

The Zambian Currency is called kwacha. They had it revalued last year where 1,000 kwacha became 1 kwacha and 1,000,000 became 1,000 kwacha, I was teasing my hosts how they came from millionaires to thousands haha I am sure they were not too pleased but we laughed through it anyway. One kwacha is about 14 kenyan shillings. If you want to carry cash, ensure it is in dollars or pounds otherwise you will have tough time trying to change the other currencies, otherwise carry your VISA or MasterCard.

Culture

Zambian’s as I had mentioned are a friendly lot, you will receive Mulibwanji? (How are you?) which you respond with bwino bwanji? (I’m fine and yourself?)

I was surprised how freely I could walk in and out of the malls. In Kenya you have to pass through at least one security check before getting in any building. I would love it if Kenya would get to this level of safety and become a place you can walk without looking over your shoulder every so often.

Time

Lusaka is one hour behind of Nairobi. So remember to readjust your watch.

Roaming

For the first time I saw the usefulness of Airtel’s expansive network, they have a roaming service called one network, you do not need to activate it before leaving Kenya it picks the local Airtel carrier automatically. My Safaricom line refused to register to the MTN network. So remember to divert your calls too before leaving so you do not miss out on important events. Do load sufficient airtime, my three-minute call to my mom when I got there was charged at KES 255 (KES87.70 per min) it is cheaper if the other international party (see what I did there? :-D) calls you when roaming. You will receive 100 free minutes on all calls received after which you will be charged 45.73 per min. Data is charged at KES 45 per mb. So your KES 1,000 airtime won’t cut it if you have people to meet and deals to seal.

Remember to say thank you when you get good service. I learned to say this in three major languages depending on the region you are;

Twatotela sana – Bemba

Zikomo Kwimbire – Nyanja

Twalubanga bati – Tonga

 

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Safaricom Postpaid

When I reverted to my Nokia, few things changed in the way I communicate; I am no longer online 24 hours a day, I don’t reply to emails and LinkedIn messages past five unless it is super important, I no longer reply to WhatsApp messages at 1.00 am or 5.49 am. I don’t miss any of that much, I find that I have time to have a clear mind and not having to wonder what is happening in my online circle of friends, I do miss opportunities to instagram though, there are several items I’d have loved to add to my IG, and the notes, my phone can only handle very few reminders and notes. I am the people who have to write ideas as they happen otherwise I will forget and waste a lot of time trying to remember what it is exactly I had thought of. Have you ever had a thought while having a conversation, something you wanted to tell the other party and then it disappears, then when you have gone separate ways it comes to you and you have to call them before it disappears again? I do that a lot, regardless of how mundane the topic was. I hear a good song somewhere, be it a matatu, as I walk the streets I will save it in my notes and Google it, if I like it download it… Now my Nokia cannot hold much of these reminders and I have to keep on deleting to create room for new. If you are used to a QWERTY keyboard and you have added to the auto-complete every word you use in a conversation (people have a particular way they talk, there are specific vocabulary everyone uses more often and can be identified with them) then texting is fairly fast and accurate. On the other hand trying to type a very long text except the quick “Okay, sawa sawa, I’ll be right there, I’ll be late” becomes quite tedious and the T9 dictionary does not help.

Enter Safaricom postpaid bundles

I had heard about these bundles by Safaricom for KES 1,000 and KES 2,500, but I was not interested, my credit was going towards data than anything else, blame it on the texting, chats and emails to communicate. To Nokia 1202 data is unheard of, that leaves you with calls and texts; now I have already mentioned how texting very long texts is a pain, this is where the postpaid bundles come in to save the day. I went to Safaricom shop and had my line converted from prepay to postpaid, which happened in less than 10 minutes.

Transformation: Heavy data user learns how to talk

With the background I had, most of my calls previously were to the point; no talking about the weather and small time politics, well except when talking to my grandfather, he will receive texts, read them but won’t bother replying, therefore you have to call and stories with him continue from where you last left off, so you just do not load 100 bob and call him… Here I was with these many minutes, very few texts, barely enough for a whole month and some data bundles.

The first month I would just scroll through my phonebook and call random people just so I could use up the talk time and it was getting depleted slowly, how do you use up talk time that adds up to almost a day? You can’t talk that much. I used to force it; calling people who I don’t even know why I still kept their numbers (I tend to be slow in burning bridges). Then it slowly starts growing into you, talking and making calls becomes something you don’t think through, you don’t ask yourself “what am I going to tell her (this happens only when calling the opposite sex), is it too late in the night etc etc”. I found myself replying texts with calls, well, there are some people who feel comfortable expressing themselves in texts which is impersonal to some extend (notice how you easily type haha, lol, lmao, dead with laughter, without even a semblance of the emotions those words portray? See I told you), with calls you can read the tone, “Hey Alex how are you?” “Am good Mr. M” I can read the tone and know if that good is a forced good or it is a real good good. Along the way my mom learned I was on postpaid and she started demanding I call more often, it has become more a right for her, I have to fulfill the duties of a child to a parent and know how she is keeping and now like my grandfather, calls to her are only to pick up the story/updates from where it was left off during last call.

The second month and subsequent months, calling starts coming naturally, I don’t even bother checking my balance every so often, and by the time the month ends I have exhausted all my allocated talk time.

The good; Awesome customer service

If you have tried calling customer service on prepaid you know how it gets hectic getting connected, sometimes you get disconnected, it’s like they think you are a bother or they can read your mind and know your concern isn’t worth the call, well this is different if you contact them on twitter, my queries on twitter were responded to with a call within 10 minutes which was quite impressive. Now on postpaid calls are answered so promptly you get the feeling that someone is anticipating to handle your query and keep you satisfied; that I love very much :-).

The bad; Postpaid bundles really or prepaid bundles?

Safaricom calls it postpaid or hybrid service, but according to mobileburn.com Post-paid customers are those that are billed for their use of a carrier’s services on a monthly basis, based on either the terms of a contract or on the amount of services they have used. With Safaricom one has to pay the deposit when signing the contract, on top of that you are required to pay either the KES 1,000 or KES 2,500 depending on which contract you choose, at the beginning  of every month so that you can be allocated bundles to use that month. This to me sounds more of prepaid bundles rather than postpaid, the name postpaid was given to make people buying the bundles feel special, well the truth is we (guys on the KES 1,000 and KES 2,500) cannot afford (it doesn’t make economic sense) to be on the real postpaid service which people have to use KES 5,000 a month (you must be making big money business deals to be on this, not haggling with people who owe you that 500 bob to pay you back!). It will be therefore make more sense if the service is renames to prepaid bundles as opposed to postpaid service.

The needs improvement

It would make more sense to me if Safaricom could:

  • Actually make the service postpaid, I get to pay for what I use not what I was allocated!
  • Instead of allocating me bundles which diminish with usage, it would be great to have a quota; here if I have a quota for 500 minutes, I know that is my limit, if I get to use 300 minutes I get charged for 300 minutes and not have 200 extra minutes rolling over to the following month and still have to pay for the full 500 minutes.
  • The bundles for text messages and internet are a bit ridiculous! They are barely reasonable to keep you till the end of the month. If KES 1,000 affords you 900 On Net minutes, 100 Off Net minutes, 100 On Net SMS and 100 MBs of Data and KES 2,500 affords you 2200 On Net, 300 Off Net minutes, 250 On Net SMS and 250 MBs of Data you will agree 100 and 250 SMS’s and data for the respective postpaid bundle are ridiculously low, but what do I know, maybe they did not design this service with a person like me in mind!

What say you?

 
 

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