ZOL Hates efficiency

Jan 14, 2020

In a normal and vibrant ecosystem, running a digital service partially backed by a payment platform related to your parent company is supposed to be seamless. It is supposed to work without the need for a client to call or email billing or support services to log a complaint or ask for assistance to ‘activate a service’. This is not the case in Zimbabwe, as evidenced by my past experiences with ZOL.

Yesterday, we paid for data at ZOL Gweru. This was mainly because in the past, paying for the same via the atrocious “MyZol” App resulted in delays with crediting our account. So our thinking was “if you pay at their offices, you will have less problems”, we were very wrong.


After paying, we were told:

“… the payment will be converted to data and credited your account by the end of the day..”

This was around 4pm, that statement was already Strike 1 in my books, why? Because you are receiving a digital payment BUT you have to manually activate or credit the account which has made a payment. Regardless of the reasons you will give to defend this process, you have to acknowledge that it is absurd, inconvenient and results in negative user experience for your clients.
Why must your client wait for your personnel to manually send an email to the billing department for a paid service to be activated? Have your process managers (assuming you have these), imagined what will happen if n*100 customers pay for the service at the same time, at the same office? Will you then send n*100 emails to the billing department to have the services activated??


Anyway, 5 O’clock comes… and goes, the data was still not credited to our account, never mind that an SMS confirming the amount has already been deducted from the wallet (a wallet that happens to be associated with your parent company). By this time I was getting restless, I had a substantial amount of work to complete on a remote server by 7pm. We decide to reach the Call centre and the voice prompt indicated that we have to wait for

"....approximately 35 minutes..."

That was Strike 2. Why are you making clients wait for more than 10 minutes to get assistance from your service agents? Moving on, we hung up and called again after 15 minutes and are informed that

"…the queue has progressed, you have to wait for less than a minute for the next free agent…",

But because we were having so much fun contacting the call centre, we timed the ‘less than a minute’, it lasted exactly 7 minutes 46 seconds, I mean come on? Do I have to complain about this too? We finally got an agent online, by this time it was way past 7pm, I had already made alternative arrangements to finish my task, these alternative arrangements cost me extra money, extra money I had not budgeted for.. do you see where I am going with this? Anyway, a delightful chap was on the other end of the line, we explained our predicament, he took our account number and told us to wait, he came back and said:

“..there is no payment reflecting on/for that account…”,

that’s Strike 3. By this time, I was now totally confused. How exactly are you operating? how does one pay and the amount does not reflect where it should? again, why is this process manual? After a very polite chat with the service agent about when we could expect to get our credit, he told us the following:

“...Well, there isnt much I can do to assist you tonight because our records show the request has been sent to billing but not actioned yet, so you will have to wait for tomorrow...”

Strike 4, obviously.
19hrs later, we tried the call centre AGAIN and were on hold for 48minutes, we resolved to go to the ZOL office because there was still no change, the response we got from there was even worse than expected… it was as follows:

“..because you were given a reference number last night, it means a ticket was opened with the billing department. Whenever a ticket is opened, you have to wait your turn for it to be processed or resolved and as such, there is nothing we can do to assist you… all this is handled in Harare, where billing is centrally processed..expect your issue to be resolved in 48 to 72 hours…”

Honestly, in what universe does such a process make sense?
ZOL, and your owners/handlers whatever, we pay you for a service, we pay so that we get instant access. For some of us, having an internet connection determines whether or not there will be food on the table tomorrow and school fees for our kids the day after. Your delays (such as the one I recently experienced) negatively affect me, my livelihood and my family’s wellbeing. Offering your clients an efficient service is not doing them a favor. I should not have to drive to your office to get assistance. Whatever system you are using to sort your billing, bin it, whoever your process manager is, get rid of them. For an entity making millions your service is appalling.

Why are you inconveniencing your clients like this? You have a flawed process, I am obviously not the 1st person to complain about this, a visit to your Facebook page proves this, there are posts and comments from as far back as June 2019, people complaining of not getting a service they paid for on time. What are you doing to improve this?

Refine your process. Do not be an inconvenience. Do not take us for granted. You can still make profits while providing positive user experience, the two are not mutually exclusive.Just so you know, I am not sticking around because I enjoy or rate your service as classy, I am sticking around because well, you are pretty much bad, while your competitors are worse..

Anyway, I am making numerous animal sacrifices and throwing snuff on the ground with the hopes that another service provider will come and offer a more convenient service...Do better.

P.S The Jingle you play when a caller is holding is also annoying. Get rid of it

Yours sincerely,
The deranged coder who could not SSH to his server or push any commits for the past 24hours