February 3, 2012.
Lets talk customer service. Specifically Batelco's (Bahamas Telephone Company) customer service. We've had a Bahamanian cell phone for a couple of years now. Its a simple, no frills phone. We purchase a few $20 dollar phone cards so that we can get in touch with our people back in the states whenever we have cell service. We spend the majority of our time down in the Jumentos so our cell service is rather limited. But it works.
This year we decided to add an “air card” to our communication arsenal. The air card plugs into the USB port on our laptop and will let us connect to the internet wherever we have cell service. The air card has its own internal “SIM” card that once the account has been set up, allows the air card to connect. So while in Georgetown we strolled down to the Batelco office and had them set up our air card with our laptop. The service is $30 per month for unlimited data with no contract. So we'll pay monthly for the few months that we're here and store it away until next year.
Since our first month was expiring shortly, Christy & I walked into the Batelco facility here in Duncan Town to pay for February (This involves a 3 ½ mile dinghy ride to the next island). The “facility” is actually a small, one person operation at the bottom of the cell phone tower. We went in, paid our $30, he worked some computer magic and we headed home confident that we were good for the next month.
So imagine our surprise when on February 1st the air card was dead. Crap. Christy called Batelco and explained the problem. He remembered us coming in and checked our account balance. The money is there but he hasn't a clue about how to get the air card reactivated. He's never had to do it before. He called the main office in Nassau and called us back to tell us that the guy up there will be out of the office until 1400 hours.
At 1515 he called us back and told us that hes having the procedure faxed down to him and he'll call us at 1700 to walk us through it. He never called so when we went to bed I was pretty sure I was gonna have to take the long dinghy ride over to town the next day. Both of us can't go because the wind and seas are up and its pretty much gonna suck.
The next morning at 0800 a fishing boat pulled up alongside us. Once in a while a local fisherman will putt through the anchorage seeing if anyone wants to purchase some of his catch. He was ankle deep in conch and I was gonna tell him “no thanks” when I looked at his face. It was the brother of the freaking Batelco guy swinging by to hand deliver the faxed instructions. THATS customer service.
The air card is up and running and we're back online. AT&T, Verizon and Sprint should all send customer service reps down here for a little training.