I recently moved house, and upon moving in I realized that Vodacom has almost no signal in my area. So, after having a Vodacom contract for more than a decade, it was time to move to another network. So I jumped at the chance to finally move to Cell C. On Saturday I went to the Cell C store in Tygervalley center to get a Nano SIM for my phone, which I would need before I port. The sales lady informs me that a Cell C Starter Pack with a Nano SIM will cost me R150. Upon enquiring why, she tells me it is a “very expensive” SIM card to manufacture (which I happen to know is BS).
I then walked over to Game (just a few stores away), and bought the very same Nano SIM Card Starter Pack for the royal sum of R1 and the Game employee tells me that she is well aware of the “skelms” at the Cell C store. So I buy it, and walk back to Cell C to ask the store manager if they are aware of this. She tells me yes, but they cannot do anything about it. Apparently other stores (like Game) buy their SIM cards from “Cell C Direct”, and the Cell C franchise stores get their SIM cards from Cell C.
First off, I know my issue is all about the (some might argue) measly sum of R149, but it is things like this that affect your brand’s reputation. Right now Cell C is punting itself as the most innovative network with their customer’s interests at heart. I must agree, their current offerings like Supacharge prepaid make it very hard to ignore, and I believe their smartphone deal packages are much better structured than any other network.
But here is the thing. If you want to attract people to your network, maybe you should not charge 150 times more at the very store that carries your brand name. This is all about trust – I know other retailers ask R1, and so I immediately distrust Cell C after this. Take note – I don’t distrust only the store, I actually distrust the brand after experiencing this class of service. If a store carries your brand name, it becomes the face of your brand. The employees and the service in the store become your brand representatives. If they are dishonest about why a SIM card costs more, potential customers will notice this.
Customers should not have to understand your complicated corporate hierarchy or franchise structures – they should simply receive fair service.
Get it together Cell C.