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The ZOL mobile app and good customer service from internet companies

Accept certain inalienable truths – Prices will rise, politicians will philander….and your internet service provider will frustrate you with bad service.

That might be considered by most people as a not-so-smart play on the Baz Lurhmann late-nineties single that carried some doses of realism on life, but it definitely reflects the general impression created by local internet services.

I can’t speak on the premium internet packages that are well beyond the reach of the average Zimbabwean consumer, but anyone trying to get internet on a sub-$90 budget will have some story to tell on disrupted service, billing issues, slow connections, delayed reactions to any challenges on a network and inadequate feedback when a problem is being addressed.

Some service providers are, however, trying to make an effort to create a better impression of themselves. Take ZOL, for example. The latest effort from the Internet Service Provider (ISP) in this respect has been its myZOL mobile app.

It’s been designed to be an interface between the ISP and its subscribers, offering a pack of services that in one way or the other sell the promise of a more concerned and engaged ZOL.

After turning a blind eye to the aggressive campaign that’s been mounted to promote this app to both ZOL and non-ZOL customers,  I eventually downloaded it, after experiencing a problem with disrupted service and looking for an alternative channel to vent my frustrations. (This was with a Wimax connection and I’ve been told by most people to accept that sort of status quo for anything that isn’t fibre)

Among its different functions which include a news aggregator, a survey, product list, and ZOL spot finder, the app has a function for submitting a ticket outlining the challenge you might be experiencing with your internet service.

I managed to get feedback after a day, something which shows that ZOL does respond to the complaints raised through the app, but could do a lot better with its response time.

Features like the ZOL products tab and the knowledge base represents an all too familiar play at advertising its inventory, something which ought to work well with users of the app that aren’t ZOL customers.

The biggest omission from the app is of course the options for payment, though ZOL has been quick to highlight that it is already being developed and prepared for the update of the app.

A hit for ZOL, but a lesson for all of them

There’s a lot that can be said about the myZOL app. Some customers at the recent Econet Beyond The Phone Expo that we spoke to weren’t too sure what ZOL wanted them to use the app for, especially in the absence of an easy to use payment feature. Like all new apps, aspects like the user interface and user experience also create divided opinion.

However, ZOL seems to be making the right move, at least in reaching out to the market. Any new, easy to access platform and channel for communicating with new and existing users is always worth exploring. The fact that ZOL wants to use a mobile app for this strategy in a market that has its internet experience largely defined by mobile devices also makes a heap of sense.

However, beyond the use of a clean mobile application with a lot of bells and whistles, and more along the way, this is a customer service tool. As such, it can only be as good as the service and care that ZOL provides.

The same should be realised by any other service provider keen on harnessing mobile apps as a communication and care extension. The technology just enables it, it doesn’t define it. This logic is what extends to effective social media use and it is also the same paradigm for any breed of call centre technology.

It’s hard to say whether ZOL will transform into the one ISP that offers a new truism on life and internet in Zimbabwe.  But with the use of extensions like mobile apps, its going to be a whole lot easier to keep track of that.

You can download the Android version of the myZOL app by following this link


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12 thoughts on “The ZOL mobile app and good customer service from internet companies

  1. Zol is the new PowerTel, l left them, its almost a month now and lm not looking back.

    Problem with Zol is not about reaching to people, its about solving problems. Imagine the frustration l had when l called for tech when my internet was slower than slow.

    The tech at Zol diagnosed the problem and immediately told me my wimax modem was hacked as it was showing that my wimax was also being used from somewhere.

    I said there is nothing like that and does the tech person understand how bad this look for the company. She told me not really since it was my fault!

    I cut the phone off! What l think had happened is before wimax, l had indoor unit which l returned and bought the outdoor. Im sure they didnt reset the indoor and pass it over to the next customer.

    When authenticating, it used my details hence the confused tech support seeing that lm appearing in two different places and conclude that l was hacked.

    If you want endless problems, sign up for Zol wimax!!

    1. What I have found with ZOL support is do not call. Simply go to their website, start a chat and log a complaint. The first thing they will say is bring your modem in for diagnostics. Then you say no, its outdoor. A trouble ticket is created and a tech is dispatched within 48 business hours. In my case I was having issues with speed and failed authentications. They came, pointed me to a different base station and i couldnt be happier. I am getting exactly 1Mbps.
      Now all that said, my link is shaped but at 49 dollars a month really I can not go wrong.
      I have said it time and time again, and i will continue to say it. if you have the money and want to go the WiMAX route just get iWAY and be done with it.

      GPON trenching was completed this week in my neighbourhood and the little microducts are at my gate, I will be signing up as soon as they offer, will retain my WiMAX and use my legacy Ecoweb WiMAX account via the outdoor once completed though. The nice thing about where I am located is Telco trenched two months ago, powertel also trenched and is doing $0.00 installs bring your own router though, so if ZOL mucks around, its cancel the GPON and get Powertel Fiber or Telco Fiber as a last mile to another provider

      If I had my way I would have just gone the MPLS route via Liquid, much more personal. With ZOL you sometimes need to make noise on twitter, cc people like the COO and CEO and make a stink to get their attention.

      Their support deals with non technical and technical people and remember at their price point millions of people call a day so some of the responses they give you are there just to blow you of and get you to hang up.

      as was your case.

      1. I have done all that and l can tell you all their engineers by names not mentioning that Heather Green can now identify me by voice! I even had an extended longer pole installed to try and point it away from cbd transmiters.
        My packages was the 99 dollars “unlimited” one and started behaving like Telone asking me to go more expensive package.

        I now hav YoAfrica for 80 dollars at 2Mbps unlimited. No shaping nonsense and lm getting what lm paying for. Its too early bt as it stands lm happy.

        One thing l noticed is there chilli package is rubbish so l switched to Wimax, just like zol, they suffer a lot of delay and dropped packets and Liquid ntwk handshake.
        Also, the wimax is a bit expensive if you do not have your own equipment, but once installed, it works.

        1. Ok you are in the CBD. In my case they insisted that I point towards Pockets Hill. I was adamant that I wanted Kenilworth. Finally they pointed to the base station i wanted and my problems went away. How is the pricing with Yo? you are very correct the problem i noticed is
          my machine —>wifi—->Outdoor—>Basestation—>ZOL AAA —> internet was done really badly.
          Same base station but using legacy ecoweb wimax account i do not drop a single packet. This is why I buy 500Mb at 2.5c a Mb every month from Econet plus the public IP from Econet is a bonus! I do not use the 500Mb but the fact that it accumulates I will use it for a rainy day!
          There is nothing wrong with the infrastructure, just something wrong with the engineering. The number of flaws i have picked up are insane!

          I am dreading the GPON in that it will either be a hit or miss, but well time will tell.

  2. I have been using UMAX and i have no complains and its US$75 for 20 GB per month. I stream video for free between 10pm and update my apps on my ipad, iphone, blackberry overnight.

  3. On wimax that is always stable and at the right price point umax is best. Though 75 for 20gb sounds a lot the service you get and quality is worth it. Africom id also food bt depending on the location i get 3mbs on the dongle stream in hd the only problem id the dongle can only handle 2gb in4 bedore needing a restart or it slows down to powertel speeds.

  4. between 10pm & what time Jonas? So during that night period, you are not billed & your data remains intact? Rr, apart from Africom’s MiChoice & Flexi bundles, what else are they offering ( probably affordable enough to allow streaming and downloading). thanx

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