Over the weekend, EcoCash blocked a customer requesting support on their Twitter platform after a request to reverse a transaction went south.
Maynard Manyowa, a journalist working for Khuluma Africa and a correspondent for the Daily Maverick in SA, tried to purchase electricity from Powertel for $85. The transaction failed and when he reached out to EcoCash to perform a reversal that’s when the problems began.
Customer support informed an incensed Maynard that he would have to use other means to get the service he had just paid for whilst waiting for a refund which would take 72 hours. I don’t really understand why the support guys would urge someone to use ‘other means’ before they refund him. The money he had set aside is with you, so why would you urge him to use other means?
This response predictably incensed Maynard further and led to a Twitter rant where he called out EcoCash for their tendencies in a very aggressive tone which eventually led to EcoCash support blocking him.
We reached out to Econet to get a better understanding of the situation and to establish why he was blocked before his issue was resolved.
Why was Maynard blocked?
EcoCash gave this reason for blocking Maynard:
The customer was blocked to protect other users because he was using extremely abusive language (He was later unblocked after he had calmed down).
Is the issue resolved?
Econet went on to state that the issue had since been resolved and they had reached out to Maynard. Whether that means he has been refunded or not is another thing…
As mentioned above, Maynard’s approach was very hostile and though this may be attributed to his frustration over the handling of the issue by EcoCash, it may not have been the best approach. Some on Twitter even urged him to approach the issue more respectfully. Personally, I think there are two sides to this situation
For Maynard, he had every right to be incensed because issues relating to money are very touchy. At the same time, I do think in any situation where you want to get assistance from anyone insulting support agents and calling them witches and imbeciles may not necessarily help your cause. At the end of the day, we have to understand that support agents are human beings so your approach could affect the way they handle situations.
Be cautious of what you say online…
The use of abusive language is also a slippery slope that could have gotten Maynard in trouble as the use of such language through telecommunications can result in a penalty. This is stipulated in the telecommunications act and though it is never policed it is something to keep in mind when you make complaints. This means that if you are found on the wrong side of the law you can actually be fined or jailed.
On the other hand…
EcoCash still made a huge mistake by blocking him.
As a support agent, you have one job. To support customers and address their issues. Not to block a user. Yes they may say his language was abusive and they wanted to protect users but at the end of the day the tweets were directed at Twitter and if they felt these tweets were abusive they could have just used the reporting function on Twitter and flag his content as inappropriate.
Blocking him becomes a bigger issue, especially before you have resolved the issue at hand. Doing this makes it seem as if you have no care for a particular customer or you are trying to pocket his precious money and from the responses given by EcoCash it’s clear those were not their intentions.
As stated above support agents are human beings but they are also trained to deal with unhappy customers. They should have better defused the situation rather than to block a user which actually infused the situation.
Hopefully, Techzim’s Twitter page is not blocked because we wrote about this. On a more serious note, this could serve as a lesson to EcoCash and other Telcos on how NOT to solve a dispute and we sincerely hope Maynard got his money back.