1. I've been a Virgin Mobile customer for two years. (Was with Vodacom for 12 years prior.)
2. I want a new phone. A Nokia N95, to be precise.
3. Virgin REQUIRES me to purchase my new handset through their call centre, if I want to retain my phone number.
4. So, I order one. From Creason. I go through the whole process, and he says it'll be with me in 5 working days.
5. The days pass. I call to find out where my phone is.
6. Whoops. Creason didn't PLACE the order for some reason.
7. Noone can help me. They can't explain why it happened. They refuse to escalate my problem.
8. Eventually, I'm told that the head of Customer Complaints, Mark Jackson will call me at 8am the next morning (Thursday September 11).
9. Mark Jackson calls me mid-morning of Thursday, while I'm doing a visual facilitation. So I can't take his call.
10. I call back at 1pm, but he's at a function. So I speak to Na'eem.
11. Na'eem apologises for the mess-up, and asks me to speak to Eugene, a sales rep. I tell Na'eem that I want the phone the next day. He says he'll sort it out with the courier company they use, and that they'll expedite the delivery.
12. Eugene processes my NEW order, and tells me that it'll take 5 working days to get the phone to me.
13. I say that Na'eem is arranging to have it expedited. Eugene says that he'll just confirm that, and will get back to me within two minutes.
14. Thirty minutes later, I call back. I ask to speak to Eugene. He's on lunch. I ask to speak to Na'eem.
15. Na'eem apologises, confirms that the order has been placed, confirms that the delivery will be expedited, and assures me that he will call me first thing in the morning on Friday morning to confirm that delivery will take place that day.
16. At 11:30 on Friday 12 Sept, I call Na'eem. Whooops. He's waiting for confirmation from the courier company and will get back to me within half an hour.
17. Na'eem doesn't get back to me within half an hour. I call back. He's not there.
18. I speak to Mark Jackson. Mark tells me that Na'eem has gone on a team building exercise. He apologises for the fact that Na'eem has dropped the ball, and promises to deal with the situation.
19. I tell Mark that I would like to have the phone by close of play that day, as promised. He tells me that it's in the hands of the courier company, and that he'll follow up with them, and come back to me before close of play on Friday with confirmation from them that I'll have my phone. He promises to follow it up on Monday if he can't get it sorted on Friday.
20. I say that Monday is too late, and that I'll be terminating my dealings with Virgin if he can't sort something out. He understands, and reiterates that he'll call me back on Friday afternoon with an answer.
21. Mark Jackson doesn't call me back. He's dropped the ball.
22. Saturday morning, 8:50am, I phone the call centre. I speak to Zizi. She's not authorised to make a decision. So she puts me through to Jacob Lesufi, her supervisor at the call centre.
23. I ask Jacob if he's in a position to make a decision about how to retain me as a customer. He asks me for details of my question before he can answer. Good call on his part. I explain the situation to him. I say this: 'Jacob, the only way Virgin can retain my business is for me to have a Nokia N95 in my hands by 12 noon today. I don't mind going to the Sandton store to pick it up. Can you make a decision to make this happen?'
24. Jacob loses the plot completely. He starts explaining to me that the courier has the phone, that he can't do anything about it, that I'll have to wait till Monday.
25. I tell him that he doesn't need to explain anything to me. That he just needs to put me through to someone who CAN make it happen.
26. He tells me that there's noone in the office today, that it's a Saturday, that he's the most senior person there, that I'll have to wait till Monday.
27. I ask him who his boss is. It's Mark Jackson. I ask him to put me on hold, phone Mark Jackson, and patch me through to Mark.
28. He tells me it's impossible to do. I ask him why. He tells me it's because I refuse to listen to him. And I eventually give him a count of ten to put me on hold. Which he doesn't do. I end the call.
29. I phone the call centre again. And I speak to a call centre operative with a garbled name. I say, 'Please can you call Mark Jackson on his cellphone, and ask him to call me back within ten minutes.' She says, 'Who is Mark Jackson? Does he work here?' I say, 'He's your boss.' She says, 'Oh. Mark Jackson.' She agrees to give him my message. I say, 'It's now 9:11. Please ask Mark to call me back by 9:21.'
30. At 9:30, I call the call centre. My call is dropped three times in a row.
31. I get through on the fourth attempt. It's Zizi on the other end of the line. I ask her if Mark Jackson has been given my message. 'No,' she says, 'Jacob decided not to phone him.' I say, 'Well then Jacob is responsible for Virgin losing my business if I don't get my phone in my hands by 12 noon today.' She says, 'No, he's not responsible--' I say, 'That's fine. I'm blogging about this as we speak. And it's all going online. Please do the following... put me on hold, and have a discussion amongst yourselves... and all you have to do is decide whether or not you will phone Mark Jackson and let him have my message. That's all you have to do. So... put me on hold, have your discussion, make your decision, and come back to me with your answer. I'll wait.'
32. I'm on hold for ten minutes.
33. Zizi comes back to me. 'Thank you for your patience. Mark says he will be phoning you back.'
34. I say, 'When will Mark phone me back?'
35. Zizi says, 'I can't give you a time frame.' I say, 'It's now 9:40am. Please ask Mark to phone me back by 10.' She says, 'I can't give you a timeframe.' I say, 'Zizi, you don't have to give me a timeframe. I'm asking you to give Mark MY timeframe. Please ask Mark to call me back by 10.' She says, 'Okay. I'll give him that message.'
36. It's now 10am. No word from Mark Jackson. I wonder if he thought I meant 10 tonight?