My Not So Awesome Experience Shopping Online At Safaricom Store

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Nokia Coloud Speakers
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This story would never have been written if the Samsung earphones weren’t so damned promiscuous.

I have always held the notion that my earphones were not only sentient but had a far more active sex drive than most rabbits. How else can you explain the tangled mess after less than 3 minutes in your pocket? (Science tried to…)

On 1st December, one earpiece finally realized that my collection of Queen’s best hits is about as good as it gets and cut the cord. I’m assuming that’s the headphone equivalent of suicide.

Freshly deprived of the glory that is stereo sound, I lamented to my kin in the twittersphere of my aural bereavement and requested recommendations on replacement gear.

The answers came think and fast. A large number of the prospects were way out of my budget range but then these beauties on the Safaricom store showed up as a recommendation:Twitter recommendation

shopping on safaricom online

*Eyes Pop*

Those actually look decent! And it seems they won’t be coiting passionately within my bag as well! The cord is anti-tangle!

So.Much. Win.

This is such a good deal it must be a steal! Well…to some extent. It was.

*Day 1*.

The most obvious thing to do is hit that giant green button so I did.

It takes you to this page:Safaricom store

I was prompted to login into the self care portal.

No biggie. I’m one of those chaps who has a stash of passwords for all occasions. I login and this screen shows up:

Safaricom store prompt

Yes! They know me! Daddy is about to get his new groove on in glorious pastel colored stereo!

The Authenticate button was dutifully bonyezwad.

This came up:

Safaricom auth

Notice the lack of any corporate branding on this page.

I select the SMS option and click the blue “send” link.

Nothing happens.

I wait.

Nothing continues to happen.

Perhaps I should have chosen the email option?

Safaricom auth 2

I proceed to do exactly that.

If you were the betting sort, you may hazard a guess at what happned next.

If you guessed nothing, collect your winnings.

So lets just pause for a second.

  • I am willing to buy this product.
  • I have logged into your portal successfully.
  • I cant be authenticated on the portal I have just logged into

Bollocks.

Lets call in the calvary shall we?Safaricom care

So they basically called, said…”Sorry about that. That shouldn’t happen. We’ll just have a look and sort that out for you real quick.”

Huzzah! Any minute now, I will experience the joy of magnificent sound at prices that won’t sprain my wallet.

Any minute now..

Any second..

Right about now..

Day 2 – *30 hours later*

Bloody hell! What does it take to buy a pair of headphones off this damn site?

Maybe the physical Safaricom shop will have a different approach to this matter. So I pop over to the Sarit Center Safaricom shop.

Queued for 10 minutes. Met a harassed looking chap (it was just after the Safaricom Open day and offers were closing). Explain the situation with placing the order online and not being able to be authenticated to complete the order. Can I complete the order in the store?

“Of course sir!”

“Excellent! I assume the price advertised online is the one that applies to this transaction?”

He frowns.

“Sadly no. We account for the shop stock differently. You would have to buy that pair at 2,800.”

I frown.

“But your site said 1,500. See? Look at it!” and I hand him my phone.

He looks at the image. Then says “That’s not the POP headset. That’s the CO-LOUD headset. The price is different.”

Right. I have been chasing the wrong product because someone linked the wrong image to the description. I check the pricing of the CO-LOUD headset on the online site.

It’s listed at 2,340.

“Ok, fine. Can I then pick this CO-LOUD at the price shown on your site?”

The chap looks at me, sees the expression on my face and diplomatically explains that the online stock and that of the shop are accounted for differently so…No.

“Ok then. So what do I have to do to complete this process and get these headphones?”

“Raise a ticket.”

“I already have!!”

“Please be patient”

“FINE!” (The art of passive aggression has not been lost.)

I left Sarit and headed for the Railway station. As I passed Safaricom’s Moi Avenue shop, I decide to make another enquiry..just in case the folks in Westlands had missed the plot.

The staff at the Moi Avenue shop seemed more knowledgeable. A chap was called from the back office who listened to my query, then asked me to log onto one of the terminals. He then called a different team member who begun processing my request from the back end of my system.  They eventually gave me an order number and the Mpesa Paybill number to route it to.

Home stretch!

Not Really.

Mpesa was down.

Day 3 – 74 hours later

Fired up twitter and sent this missive to the world

Safaricom care 2

Feedback within Safaricom moves at speeds comparable to sloths, glaciers and continental drift.

Nobody has time for that!

I headed over to the Moi Avenue branch after completing the Mpesa transaction with the details obtained on the previous day.

It took them about 15 minutes to verify the transaction but finally…at long last

Nokia Coloud Speakers

Here’s the kicker.

All the system screen shots above? I took those yesterday..meaning I still can’t make a purchase on the online store today should there be a product I want.

Summary:

  • The online store seems to depend on a number of integrations to other systems. If any of those systems has data that is incorrect, then the online shop is crippled.
  • On checking my profile on the self care portal, I discovered this:

Safaricom portal

Would you like to guess why I could not be validated by the online shop?

  • There is no facility to update the information on my profile. Which has me wonder…where exactly did all the data I provided during the sim registration go to? It’s certainly not on my profile.
  • The shops do not give a uniform experience when handling online shop queries. Kudos to the Moi Avenue staff who went the extra mile to enable the purchase be concluded but could/did not resolve the issue that caused this mess in the first place.
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