Open letter to MTN CEO Rob Shuter – the missing TCF link

From Elise Hoffman

Dear Rob

RE: Treating Customers Fairly ought to be taken seriously

I have been an MTN customer for approximately 22 years and, in spite of my entire family having moved to Vodacom, I have hung in at MTN.

Sadly, the time has come to move service providers as a matter of urgency, as well as to expose MTN for the disorganised, unreliable and unprofessional organisation it appears to have become.

A quick visit to the internet indicates that I am in plenty of good company with regard to being an unhappy customer and Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) is conspicuous by its absence.

Although I initially drafted a letter to send to you personally, so as to give MTN the opportunity to make good ‘behind closed doors’, you are entirely unreachable. You are even unreachable through some of the professional connections we share on LinkedIn.

It is not surprising therefore, that a lack of customer engagement and service stretches across the entire organisation. Evidently this is the manner in which leadership operates.

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There is no need to bore you with endless detail as to the ‘straw that has broken the camel’s back’ in giving rise to this open correspondence. The MTN centres, email centres and the various bits of correspondence between MTN and myself over the past month, particularly the last week of June 2019 and beginning of July, will provide the necessary.

In a nutshell, after having always had access to international roaming, I am currently on my third trip out of the country in the past 18 months, without roaming.

Whilst it has been a comedy of errors on each occasion, this trip takes the cake as I was assured, reassured, had it twice confirmed on the phone and was also advised via SMS prior to departure, that I would enjoy uninterrupted service whilst in Vietnam.

Needless to say that four days of frustrating and slow email correspondence with MTN after my arrival in the country, and a personal visit by my husband to a local store in Cape Town in trying to assist, I was informed of the following:

“We apologise for the delayed response and for any inconvenience incurred. All networks in Vietnam are still forbidden, MTN does not have any partnership agreement with them. Kindly purchase a sim card that will enable the use of the local network.”

As a CEO you might appreciate the destructive business impact this has had on a busy, self-employed professional who relies on cell phone coverage for a number of reasons, not least of which is finance transactions.

The bottom line is that it is laughable that MTN can publish its adherence to TCF when clearly there is no understanding of what this is, how it is carried out and what accountability means.

The words of Ms Jacqui O’Sullivan, Executive Corporate Affairs, published in May 2018:

Treating Customers Fairly underpins everything we do and places us on track to further enhance our high standards and improve the lives of our customers’, would be laughable, were they not so profoundly misrepresentative of how MTN treats its customers.

There has been no clear information during my contract period over the past 18 months with regard to roaming; advice of and attention to my circumstances and the performance of MTN has not been what has been expected, nor has it been up to standard.

Furthermore,  there has been – and is – no appreciation for the extent of the inconvenience caused and the personal costs incurred.

I will be leaving MTN upon my return to South Africa and expect to do so by migrating to Vodacom with the same number and no contractual cancellation cost. It is the very least owed to me in the circumstances.

It is recommended that MTN allow other customers with similar complaints to do the same.