Telkom is facing a challenging future, with a growing number of South Africans vowing to never deal with the company again due to its poor customer service.
MyBroadband receives daily complaints from Telkom subscribers who are unable to cancel their services due to the company’s poor systems.
Many former Telkom subscribers also complain about being billed despite having cancelled their services months ago, and if they stop paying they run the risk of being blacklisted.
“We tried for 3 months to cancel our ADSL service with Telkom without success. We have never had such a poor experience with any service provider,” MyBroadband was told by a Telkom DSL subscriber.
“Telkom is forcing people selfishly to remain indebted to them just because you once had a service with them. They have zero care for customers,” another client said on HelloPeter.
New system launched, but without success
In January, Telkom said it was working to improve the accessibility of its support mechanisms to customers.
This included a feature which allows customers previously unable to cancel their accounts to process the matter online.
Telkom also acknowledged that errors in the migration of its cancellation system resulted in users being incorrectly blacklisted, and promised to improve in this area.
Despite these interventions, customers still struggle with this problem and in some areas the company’s support became worse.
MyBroadband continues to receive complaints about cancellation problems, with many people reporting that Telkom’s helpdesk and support platform is often down.
This means that customers can not cancel their services and are left frustrated by the company’s poor support.
The effect on Telkom’s numbers
While making it difficult for customers to cancel their service may result in short-term financial gains, the long-term damage to Telkom is devastating.
The company is already losing fixed-line subscribers at a record rate and its poor reputation means it is unlikely to turn the tide.
Telkom now has 2,566,000 fixed-line subscribers, down from 2,840,000 a year ago. This is a year-on-year decline of 274,000 lines.
Telkom is also losing fixed-broadband subscribers despite its continued investment in a fibre rollout.
Telkom is blaming competition from mobile services, copper theft, and tough economic conditions for this decline – but there is more to it.
Even if people can get access to Telkom’s fixed-broadband services, they prefer to use other companies because of Telkom’s poor reputation.
To gain South Africans’ trust again will be very difficult for the company, which does not bode well for its future prospects.
The graph below shows Telkom’s fixed-line subscriber decline over the last two decades, illustrating the effect of its poor reputation.