Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Telenor - European Standards or lack thereof

This is an article I wrote that was published in a very well known business magazine in Pakistan and the Middle East called Pakistan and Gulf Economist.

Telenor, as everyone may know, is a multinational mobile connection provider based out of Norway. With such high standards and aggressive penetration skills to enter a market such as Pakistan, they must have spent a lot of time, money and resources working on a market strategy, to maneuver into mobilink’s monopolized customer space.

One would think that a company that has committed a first-time complete ownership on an operation in a new market, such as ours, with a $600 Million license fee would have at least trained, trained and trained yet again, a well rounded local team before launching into the dark realm of Pakistan’s mobile consumer market. Sadly, they missed one very important factor in their user policy, which even I took for granted.

The license agreement is there for us to read and as the end user; we are given the choice to read it before getting into a contract. But when most of the elements in a cell phone contract are believed to be generic, you think that each provider would have mentioned something like a ‘refund policy’ in their agreement.

Apparently, according to the horse’s mouth, that is not the case. In fact, Telenor, having been bombarded with account cancellations (mine being among the first), decided it was high time they prepared a refund policy so that the term “refundable security deposit” was real and not just a poof in the air. Just 2 weeks after getting three accounts, I cancelled them due to poor user feedback.

Thinking that, since the sim packs were unopened, I would get the “refundable” security deposit back within days. To my dismay, refund is a word unspoken in the company’s financial department. Tut tut Mr. Financial Manager, you did not learn very well from your previous job as to how a customer should be satisfied. Customer service can only act on policies that are enforced by the folks sitting upstairs.

Giving you the job was probably the most negligent decision that Telenor made and now that they have committed $600 Million into a 10 year contract here, they should probably consider replacing you so that the company does not continue to suffer from a bad repute because of a very careless oversight on your part.
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