Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Swift Networks Does Not Give a Shit About Their Customers

If you reside in Lagos, Nigeria and are internet savvy then you need no introduction on who or rather what SWIFT Networks is. However for the benefit of my readers who don’t…

Swift Networks Limited is a facilities-based telecommunications services provider. The company was founded in 2002 and generally provides multi-service broadband connectivity services (simply put, Internet) to businesses and residential subscribers within Lagos state.

Swift Networks recently introduced with a new 4G LTE platform that would make internet faster and cheaper (if you believe their campaign or advert). What they obviously forgot to mention was that this new platform will require all customers to change their modems and MIFIs to be able to access this platform.

To silence potential complaints from customers, they were crafty in coming up with this promo whereby you could turn in your old modems/MIFIs for the new ones only for a swapping fee of N5,000. Great right? Of course, especially considering the fact that none of the service centers were provided with enough MIFIs to last a week. That is like telling 1 million customers they can trade in their old cars for new ones and yet make only 1000 cars available.

As soon as the stock ran out, we MIFI users were then put on a longgg P by constantly reassuring us that new MIFIs will be available soon (soon in this case turned out to be 3 months!).

What happened during the three months of “longfully” waiting with N5,000 clutched in our fist while we watched the customers on the new 4G LTE platform browse for half the cost ( WiMax customers pay N8,000 for 17 GB while 4G LTE users pay same N8,000 for 34 GB) we were paying on our slower WiMAx platform? I will tell you…

1.    A pathetic email was sent to all customers telling them it was okay to remain on the WiMax platform even though it is slower and more expensive. Really? So if my neighbor is buying a loaf of Shoprite bread for N250, I should feel satisfied to be restricted from buying same bread and yet to happily continue buying agege bread for N250?
2.    A surprising you-can-go-hug-a-transformer Merry Christmas email was sent to inform customers that the swapping fee has been increased from N5,000 to N8,000. So I am still restricted from buying Shoprite bread but should in case I am allowed in the future, I should be prepared to pay extra N100?
3.    Speed of the WiMax platform dropped. Honestly, I could stream a YouTube video in the past without the buffering effect. Now I have to wait for at least 5 mins to allow the streaming download half of the video content first. Think about it, why should they waste resources on few customers remaining on their old platform?
4.      The Oshiomhole go-and-die moment came yesterday when I discovered that the new MIFIs were available. I quickly got home after, grabbed my old modem and USB cord, made a quick dash to the ATM to withdraw N8,000 and then drove to the nearest service. I was determined to get my new modem that same day. When I presented my swapping fee, I was told my money was incomplete. “I don’t understand” I said and the sales lady was quick to explain, “Madam, the MIFI costs N15,000. If you are swapping then it’s for N13,000”. I was shocked. “So you guys increased the swapping fee without any mail or text informing customers? Are you now implying my old modem is worth just N2,000?...”. My dear readers, I was speechless. I left defeated vowing never to bother myself about exchanging my old MIFI for a new one.

I understand that Swift Networks couldn't care less about the opinions of one small customer. After all we need fast internet and theirs seem to be the most affordable for now but then again I know that this I-don’t-give-a-shit attitude towards customers has brought many a business to their knees. It usually starts with one customer like me speaking out.

I bought my MIFI modem barely 6 months ago for N20,000 and have refused to part with it for just N2,000. I will stick it out on the old Wimax platform using my old MIFI modem even though 4G LTE users have it faster and cheaper.

Perhaps there will be another promo someday; perhaps another company will offer 4G LTE service in my area for a lower price. One thing is certain, forces of a capitalist economy combined with those of demand and supply will surely vindicate me.

You have made a strong brand rebel Swift Networks. Thelish.