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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Service: The Bigger they are, the Harder they Fail!

The bigger they are, the harder they fail… in serving the customers

Why with all their money and resources, can’t they do it right?

I’m writing this with a great deal of frustration. I changed my telephone service provider three times and still can’t get no satisfaction!

I started out with PLDT. After I transferred house, I asked them to move my connection to my new residence, the rep said it will take some time to do that while I continue to pay for the services without the actual service. I found it an unfair deal so I said to myself, I’ll just change to Bayantel with their “satisfaction guaranteed” claim. The first few months went well but not long after, their services started faltering. I had them for three years and those 3 years were filled with frequent breakdowns that reached to a point when I experienced an almost a month of downtime which led me to give up their service. The connection often breakdown when there’s rain. When I complained to one of their service contractors, the person said it happens a lot with Bayantel.

After I gave up Bayantel I tried going back to PLDT with their quick connection promise only to find out that, that promise is only good for areas where they have available connections. They said there are no available connections anymore in my area (in FAIRVIEW, QC?!?!) which means that we will have to wait when a line becomes available which is between three months to God knows when. It sounded very uncertain and I cannot afford to not have a phone connection so I tried Globe Lines which is my current service provider. I’ve been using it for a couple of months. Yesterday, my line was restored after more than two weeks of outage. This is the third time that it happened to me in a span of less than six months.

What is worst than the frequent downtime and slow service that I got from these three big telephone companies is the poor service attitude of the people whom I and my wife take places in calling whenever something is wrong with our connection. They are not rude, they do not say things that are insulting or demeaning to us but they offer only insincere apologies, break their promises on delivering the service and never go back to us as they promised. When I had Bayantel, I had to contend with busy tones and music playing while repeatedly being told to wait on the line for an operator to be available. With Globe it’s worse. My wife experienced being told by an operator to wait, a music would be played, somebody would pick up from time to time to listen if she’s there and then play the music again until out of frustration, my wife would put down the phone.

While some players in the industry admitted they have poor service reputation, this is not exclusive to the telco industry. When I conduct customer service training, I hear horror stories from my participants’ experience with big banks, restaurants, retail companies, transport companies ( I think the service quality in the transport industry is much worse than in the telco).

Here’s a question that’s looking for an answer… Why despite knowing how people perceive the quality of their service do these big companies still fail to improve them? If they have the resources to acquire the needed technology for hiring the right people, giving the right training and putting the right development interventions and if they did invest in all these, why do the quality of their service continue to suffer? I wonder where the disconnect is.

I wonder about the busy tones and the lengthy queues. Shouldn’t they project manpower against client demands? Shouldn’t they provide more lines as their clientele increases? I wonder about the broken promises when they have high tech CRM’s. Most of all, I wonder about customer service representatives who dish out all sorts of excuses for not delivering on their promise while the company promises excellent service.

From a customer’s point of view I can only surmise that quality of service is not their priority, it’s something else. I remember one time a passenger was complaining to the bus conductor about how much higher their fare is compared to other bus companies despite poor service. The bus conductor asked the driver to stop the bus and ordered the passenger to go down which the customer refused to do. The conductor told the customer, if you don’t like our service, you can always take other buses. They can afford to do this because passengers hardly have a choice. I wonder if the other companies we complain about have the same mindset.

In my opinion, Service excellence is a result of a culture championed by the organization’s top executives, driven by their managers, understood, appreciated and lived by everyone in the organization not excluding the ones who champion it. For it to happen, more than front line training is required. It requires leadership and it requires management in all fronts. The quality of service of the organization is a reflection of its leadership. Last question, how equipped are your leaders to establish and maintain a culture of service excellence?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:45 AM

    worst customer service for me is that of the government agencies'.
    - always busy
    - just rings and rings
    - if somebody answers she'd put you on hold and would rarely get back or
    - would transfer the call then you'd have to wait til you get frustrated and just hang up or
    - you could patiently wait til the line gets cut by itself..
    - lucky you if you get to talk to someone.. but naah, coz most of the time or always, you won't be able to get the answer that you need
    - or you'll get really, really poor customer service from them. most of them talk really, really rude.

    kaya lalong nakakainis magbayad ng tax e. haay..


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