CX Blog

An open letter to Sean Nourse, CEO at MWEB

MWEB_final

Dear Sean,

When my current contract period is up, you’ll definitely lose me as a client

I’m switching to an ISP that can offer a quality product and just as importantly, good customer service. MWEB has failed dismally on both counts.

Last December, I signed up for your premium fibre package. Naturally, I expected premium service. I got nothing of the sort.

If only I’d read your reviews. There’s a lesson people – do your homework!

When I finally got around to checking out what people say about you, by then curious whether other customers had suffered similar experiences to mine, I discovered that I was far from unique. Most tellingly, from 3,949 customer ratings, MWEB averages a horrible 1.53 out of 5 for customer service. Even on Instagram – where no doubt you’d hoped for some free marketing, a silly idea as it turns out – your gallery has become a platform for irate customers to berate you.

You should hear what people are saying about you on peer review sites (I strongly suspect you don’t read reviews). The first couple of comments I came across are typical:

“Mweb, you do not deserve to be in business. Your levels of company service are DISGUSTING!

And

“Since their move to Telkom, Mweb service has been DISGUSTING.”

“Disgusting” seems to be the common theme. It’s strong language, but having personally endured your service, I do feel their pain.

As for my experience, I chose your fibre package after being told it was your fastest and most reliable. A few days later, a technician arrived to install your router and we were away. Or so we thought.

From the start, speeds were nowhere near what we’d been promised. Instead, we’d go online only to experience that acute frustration of waiting for websites that normally load instantly to gradually take shape. Streaming was a nightmare.

Not only was it slow, the signal was poor, with much of the house having no connectivity.

As terrible as it was, I hadn’t got around to calling MWEB when Covid-19 hit. Like many families, school, work and whatever else means we’re rarely home. Now I was home 24/7, steering my business through a crisis while homeschooling my son. Bad internet wasn’t an option.

I contacted your call centre and was taken through a few trouble shooting fixes. After these went nowhere, repeated attempts to have you do something to fix the issue proved fruitless. When I made the obvious suggestion that you send a technician, something I was willing to pay for, I was told “that’s not our policy”. That classic way of telling a customer ‘we don’t care what you’re going through, and we’re not willing to help.’

Fortunately, I persisted. It took close to 20 calls and a ridiculous 8 hours on the phone, before one of your staff arranged for Openserve – the telco that installed the cable – to send a technician. After finding the cable was fine, he was kind enough to look into what the actual problem was. It turned out to be your router. It seems you had supplied a device that didn’t have the capacity to deliver the speeds we’d been promised. It was similarly incapable of producing the signal required for a house this size. I’d need an extender for that, apparently, something MWEB failed to mention.

Openserve’s technician recommended a different model of router which I have since purchased at my own expense. Fortunately, it’s solved the problem, although the signal still doesn’t carry throughout the house. What progress I have made was no thanks to MWEB.

Nor have any of your staff ever apologised for supplying a product incapable of providing the service I’d paid for.

The business I founded, nlighten, is a Customer Experience firm. We help companies improve customer relations, teaching them how to better understand and then satisfy their customers’ needs. So while my frustration with MWEB at least partly motivated this letter, there’s more to it.

My experience with MWEB is a text book example of how to lose customers. In all our dealings, I felt an overwhelming lack of empathy. You clearly didn’t care about my situation. As a result, you were unwilling to make any real effort to fix it. It’s this attitude that explains your appalling customer service ratings.

It also bodes badly for your future prospects. When I did get around to reading reviews, I noticed that MWEB is not the only big player with poor ratings. In fact, most major ISP’s seem to be loathed by their customers. I guess that’s why your industry has become notorious for bad service. Interestingly, there’s some new entrants rated way ahead of the pack. Host Africa, Rain and Xneelo all have customer service ratings above 4.5. It wouldn’t be the first time a market notorious for poor service is disrupted by new players offering something better. When the time comes I certainly know where I’ll be taking my business.

Yours faithfully,

Nathalie Schooling

CEO, nlighten

 

POST SCRIPT

Seriously annoyed with the lack of decent customer service I’d received from MWEB, I wrote this open letter, intending to share my experience as widely as possible. But I am feeling kinder than usual – the whole Covid-19 thing getting to me, perhaps. ‘Why not give him a chance to fix the situation before going public’, I thought. So I sent you the letter privately on Linkedin. You kindly gave my your number .  We chatted briefly.  I then received a call from a friendly chap called Etienne. After telling my story, he put me onto another nice fellow called Richard, who promised to send me an extender “immediately”. This turned out to be a few days, but to his credit, it eventually arrived. But then, when I saw it lying there on my dining room table – having no idea how it connects with my new router – I was filled with dread at the thought of hours waiting on the phone with your call centre. Still, no one had offered to send a technician. There’s a complete lack of personal service and with it, an inability to offer customers authenticity and empathy. If you cared, you would have called me personally when you read my letter. The fact you didn’t, suggests customer satisfaction is nowhere near the top of your priorities – a typical CEO in denial that customers are not a commodity, I guess.

In the end, I decided my sanity was too important for another stint with your call centre. I’ve found someone – an actual person – who would come out and install the extender, before ensuring that everything works and I have the premium internet I’m paying for. It’s a pity MWEB couldn’t have done this for me.

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View the previous nlighten article by Nathalie Schooling: 5 Ways COVID-19 is Shaping CX Trends

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