Customer Support in Saudi Arabia

Customer Support in the Kingdom can be a real mixed bag and requires a lot of patience. For example, if you subscribe to the Aljawal (STC) mobile services you will be connected to an automated menu with a grating male british accented voice “Welcoming you to Aljawal customer service.” The first menu alone provides 9 choices of options to select but not a one of them will connect you to a customer service representative! The convoluted menu choice is very unclear and when I break down to call it is usually because I have a problem I cannot resolve and need to speak to a PERSON. It can easily take 20 minutes of navigating the automated options before finally finding one which leads to a real person. At no point does it give a choice “if you have a problem and need to speak with a customer service representative press 0.” I also learned that unlike other automated systems there does not seem to be a bypass where pressing 0, # or * may lead you directly to a person.

Once you finally do reach a person IF they speak English they will likely be very polite. It is evident they’ve been trained on what to say but politeness does not equate to service. Most of the time you will ultimately be told they will make a trouble report and forward it to the service department! With any luck, ones problem may get resolved in ten days. In my case, my phone simply stopped allowing me to send SMS messages. When I attempted to send one I’d get the error message “Message sending failed, not allowed” in spite of my phone bill fully paid with credit and having the right SIM centre number programmed. Ultimately this error requires some kind of resetting of my phone from the STC computer centre to correct but that can usually take 10 days to 2 weeks. Why do I sound so sure? This is a recurring problem that crops up every 2-3 months.

Orbit customer service can also be as irritable. You again go through the usual automated voice messaging system and if you’re lucky, it will stay in English and not switch to Arabic which can create some challenges! A person will eventually respond but most of the time their customer service reps do not speak English so you will keep getting put on hold (if not inadvertently disconnected) until finally someone who speaks English is found. Again be patient and you will listen to a lot of loud elevator music during this experience as well.

SABB bank is equally as confusing with a mirage of many selections and choices without leading to a person. Why do these automated customer service messages think I have the time let alone want to listen to all 25 selections and choices they may be offering?

I have not been in the States for quite some time so I can’t say if customer service and voice support is as convoluted in the States or not. I can say I do not recall such extensive and long-winded automated voice systems which allow ones frustration to build rather than subside.

I have learned that most Saudis when requiring customer service or assistance try to use their Wasta and personal friendships rather than go through the standard route of calling a business’ support number. I can certainly understand why!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,277 other followers

%d bloggers like this: