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Customer Care – UNISA takes a brave but welcome step to shut down call centres. September 1, 2011

Posted by warwicksworld in Uncategorized.

As published on BizAssist.co.za

If you think about it, call centres are really a poor business solution – and for a variety of reasons. The list is endless. Staff are often contract workers, call answer times are notoriously slow, language and communications skills are often poor and above all there is no commitment, motivation and passion. They are expensive – and all this in the name of customer care! If you have a problem it is ‘escalated’ to another supervisor and much like when you experience bad service at a restaurant; unless you complain directly to management not much will change.

So what is the solution?
Give some of the people what they want. Many queries can be resolved without the customer dealing with call centres. With millions of South-Africans using pc’s , smartphones and tablets – there is a much better way.

How about an online ‘customer ticketing system’ which achieves the following:

Every query submitted can be followed and tracked simultaneously – by the client and by management. Clients can see the status of the query online, who is handling it, if it has been reassigned, what extra information is needed and when the expected resolution date is. And it’s all documented, dated and time stamped.
And product mangers get reliable feedback. Even the MD, if he wants, can log on and monitor staff actions. Perfect.

Funnily enough the software has been available on the net as an asp.net plug-in for websites at a cost of around R1000. Sort of makes you think why companies haven’t downscaled their call centres dramatically. The best is yet to come – You do don’t need a call centre. Staff anywhere in the world with access to an internet browser can access it. What’s more – the system can be set to trip when overload is reached and normal office staff can assist whether they are at work, at home or even on holiday.

So UNISA has taken this bold step and I believe it is the right one. I have used the system and although I get instant feedback – there is room for improvement. But a great step none the less.



1. annwiliams - September 1, 2011

Just because the query can be tracked doesn’t mean that it is answered. I am still waiting for a query on when the last day to be able to cancel one’s studies for the semester is – that was more than THREE WEEKS AGO.
So much for that. Basically it’s just a great big black hole that one’s queries seem to dissapear into.

2. warwicksworld - September 2, 2011

Hi there- I agree that there is no substitute for action and problem resolution – but having all your queries logged – really does help if and when the problem gets escalated. When dealing with companies in different time zones – such as the USA it becomes vital. Some local companies such as my hosting company WebAfrica – use a similar system and I wouldn’t want it any other way. But then again they reply promptly and are very efficient.

3. Sharmin Ganesh - June 21, 2012

There are 2013 complaints on http://www.hellopeter.com and only 186 compliments about UNISA. Not a single complaint has been addressed on the website by Unisa. This shows a clear and apparent disregard for customer service. As a higher education authority, UNISA is one of the worst in South Africa in terms of attending to students queries. The staff at the Durban campus have an attitude that matches Unisa as they simply can turn a blind eye to genuine compliants…..

4. Dissapointed - January 31, 2013

I agree with all of the above, there is simply no way of getting hold of UNISA. I have tried absolutely everything, and in the process I am going to loose R1200, which could have been resolved if I were able to speak to anyone.

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