You Mean You Don’t Want Me? The Finale…?

(George)

Well, true to his word, Sivan (the P1 Tech) dropped by our house last night to pick up the P1 Wimax modem and have us sign off on the service cancellation form. After Sivan’s visit to our house a couple of weekends ago and getting our Internet back up and running at advertised speeds, we found that we couldn’t access sites like Gmail and Facebook that we depend on. “Server not found”, was the error coming back at us time and again. The competition’s service, on the other hand, gave us no trouble at all. Sigh…

Anyway, Sivan said that there would be no early cancellation penalty. I asked about the couple of months’ overdue billings for service that we weren’t provided with and he said we wouldn’t have to pay. I asked if that meant a “clean slate” and that we wouldn’t owe anything. “Yes”, was his response. I’ll be crossing my fingers that his affirmation does not get lost between his department and P1’s accounting department and that we will see a “zero” bill or some kind of message from P1 in the near future verifying that the service is terminated and my wife does not owe anything.

It’s so frustrating to think that things had to reach this point. Why did it take my wife going public about poor service before she was able to get P1’s attention? What about all the other poor schmucks who don’t have a blog and a means to take things public? Does this mean that they have to suffer in silence, continuing to pay for poor or non-existent service until their contract runs out so they won’t be charged an RM999 cancellation penalty? Companies really have to come up with a better way of dealing with customer service issues. Telling people to call customer service, putting them on hold forever and a day, and then asking customers to go through all kinds of troubleshooting they don’t understand, only to tell them that “…the speed test shows that you getting 1Mbps download speed so the problem is not with P1” is NOT an answer – especially when the connection used to work fine up until then. We customers need to WORK to eat and keep the wolves from the door. Apart from that, we have busy lives with our families and don’t have time to sit at home for hours over multiple days to troubleshoot Internet connection problems.

To add insult to injury, P1’s response to a wounded customer is:

1) To have a customer service agent show no concern about our plight, and make no attempt to find out what the problem is and correct it  – effectively telling us that P1 doesn’t value us as customers and doesn’t want our business.

2) To have a P1 “Buddy” send a bubbly email asking us to contact them to tell them about the problem.

Note to company CEO and customer service trainers: you have your staff do”bubbly” when you are trying to promote your service to new customers.  The bubbly “don’t worry, be happy” mantra of the Gen Ys you’ve hired as P1 Buddies does NOT work when you have an irritated customer – especially a Baby Boomer or Gen X that expects their concerns to be taken seriously. It only pisses us off more…

I have some other suggestions that P1 might want to consider to minimize the chances that our experience will be repeated with others:

1) You need to be more proactive in monitoring the capacity of your system. In our case, your tech identified fairly easily that there were too many users accessing a certain sector of the P1 base station near our house. He redirected our modem to access a different sector and we got our service back – well, with the exception of problems accessing some websites. Perhaps it could be done seamlessly if staff were to monitor the situation and, like traffic cops, take action to reroute users to less congested paths. If it can’t then maybe this is something that your tech support people can do while customers are on the phone with them without requiring a visit from a service tech. I’m not a technie, so don’t know the technicalities involved in such things.

2) You can be more more proactive in following up on service issues. You may want to make it a habit to call customers back a few days after they’ve called tech support about a problem to find out if the problem has REALLY been resolved to the customer’s satisfaction. Many customers call, don’t get the help they are looking for, then don’t ever call back again – even if the problem hasn’t been fixed! – because they are made to feel foolish, cannot collect the information that tech support wants from them, are dealt with rudely or coldly, etc. Follow up to ensure that customer problems have REALLY been resolved.

3) Include more “DIY” troubleshooting resources on the P1 website, and make them VISIBLE there. You could develop a matrix of typical problems and solutions and post this on your website under the title of “Having problems with your P1 connection? Things to check before calling technical support…”. By doing this, you give your customer the opportunity to diagnose and potentially fix a problem without having to call tech support. If the customer can’t fix it, then you at least give them the opportunity to save time when they phone tech support by telling what they’ve already tried.

At the end of the day, we are happy that we were finally able to get an acceptable resolution to our problem from P1. Closing off now with the hope that we’ve reached the finale.

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The Greatest Birthday

Has it been a year ago since I blogged about my BIG FOUR OH OH?? Oh uh!

Wow! Time flies!

Each and every day, I feel so blessed to have the two people that I love most in my life with me. They have been the pillar of my strength, my sunshine on rainy days, the cure to all poisons.

To my Teenager,

My part time beautician (who opens and closes her “outlet” as and when she pleases), my friend and intan payung.

Thank you for the wonderful scrap book you gave me. I was so proud to show it off to my friends. A few cried with envy. Many complimented on how lucky I am to have you as my daughter. The scrap book reflected on who I am in your eyes. I told them how you conspirated with George on the surprise celebration last night. That was a pleasant surprise, although I suspect none of the pictures can be posted in the FB due to its censorship rating…Thank you to the rest of my anak-anak angkat for making it happen.

The brownies are gone by now, by the way. My colleagues sent their thank yous.

To my husband,

My love, lover, partner, friend, soul mate and coffee maker.

Thank you for being with me, my Love. For being a wonderful person that you are. I love the bouquets and I KNOW I will love the dinner you have arranged for us tonight. The bouquet was so heavy that the delivery guy had difficulty in carrying it to my office. My office became the center point for today. Everyone stops by to admire the flowers and the scrap book. Someone counted on the number of roses, even guessed on the costs.

But I know it was not about the cost. The amount of time and love put on putting together the scrap book and the time took to consider what kind of bouquet I would love, now, thats what counts. And I would love it even if it were a piece of paper or a stalk of flowers.

All that I need is here and thank you for making me feel loved, because I know I am.

You Mean You Dont Want Me? (An open letter to P1’s CEO)

Dear Mr Michael Lai

First and foremost I would like to thank you for your P1 wifi service that has been used at my house since July last year. It was my husband who thought that by using a P1 service, it would enable us to get connected as he was away in Canada at that time. It would make our communication easier.

Communication using chat with my husband  after signing up was tough at best as the line kept on dropping or slow, crawling to a dial-up pace. It went on and on and on till now. The word crappy came to my mind first but I like to be diplomatic as I could. My husband has a better word than crappy. He called it shit but that wasnt too nice to put forth to a CEO of a Company, I told him.

Yes I did receive your email explaining about the service upgrades and all that. That was last year. But I was kinda hoping that it would improve. My husband and I talked to your Customer Service a few times too. They say we can do a speed check online. But how can we do an online speed check when we can’t even get online? Whenever we are able to get connected, it is always at a snail’s pace. We can’t even upload our holiday pictures onto our Facebook albums. You see, Mr Lai. We are a family oriented people. We want family and friends to be connected to us via all modes of communication including FB. 5 of the children are located in another continent which has 14 hours time difference and another teenager, who even still live with us, wants to show us her photography skills via pictures uploaded in her site.

We can’t do this efficiently when our internet connection is not stable. It reacts like a psycho bitch who is moody and self-centred. It only works when it wants to. Most of the time, it doesn’t want to. It makes us pissy mad. My husband who believes that all these high-tech things will make our lives easier, cant even pay his bills online lest the data got lost while transmission.

I am a bit of a conservative type. I use the net to surf for recipes, read news, emails, FB-ing and blogging. I dont really blog well but so far I have steady followers who read my rants and stories for the past 3 years or so. I can’t even do that with the internet always at a dying pace. Or worse still, dead.

Then, my husband came to realization that he can actually switch to another provider! And change he did. Their service works all the time and at any time. Must have been the good works coming from the cute, funny Yellow Man who tags us whenever we use the service. It works in the toilet too! How cool is that?

With the new service provider in place, it makes me ponder, what should I do with P1? I have a few options, really:

  1. grin and bear with the service and hope it will get better.
  2. Go to the hub and buy out the service contract so that I don’t have to listen to my husband’s rant.

Listening to my husband’s rant day in day out about the service wasnt very pleasing, I must tell you. You see, he is a creative guy in a lot of ways, including word play. I stopped defending P1 service, its upgrading stuff and how the CEO is a caring guy. I ran out of creative excuses to give him and justifying why we are paying RM99/month for something that doesn’t give us anything in return.

With that I went to your P1 hub yesterday. 99% of the intention was to buy out the contract. However, 1% of me was really hoping that some miracle would happen so that I don’t have to do the deed. I was getting very attached to see the modem blinking red on the counter near the sofa at home. I know it wasnt really a comforting sight but it has been there for almost a year.

But we human beings never learn.

I sat in front of your Customer Service staff telling him that I am looking at buying out the contract. He clicked a few things on his computer and told me that I have another approximately 12 months for contract expiration. I looked at him, still praying for that miracle so that I can change my mind.

He proceeded to write down the total amount for me to pay (came to about RM500 plus including some dues because I was pissy mad at your service) and said, “You need to pay all these including RM299 termination fees”.

“Ok”, I said. “Can you please tell me why RM299 and not some other amount?”

He said, ” This is what we charge for termination of contract”.

“Ok”, I said again. “But what does it means? Worth of your contract? Documents? Modems?”

“No”, he said. “It is just an amount to pay….”. Sigh.

“You mean I dont owe you anything anymore after paying all these?”

“Thats right. Instead of paying RM1,188 as penalty, we are giving you a discount of RM299 plus amount due.”

“Hmm…the amount is weird and you can’t even explain to me why the RM299….”

“Is this all, Madam? Thank you and have a good day”.

WHAT? You don’t want to know the reason why I want to terminate my contract???”

“No, I don’t want to ask. Besides it is your right to terminate the contract at whatever reason you have.”

“Uh yeah, but here you are saying that you are willing to let me go at a cost of RM500 plus so that you can get rid of me and not looking at the potential income for next 12 months which will generate you a thousand plus ringgit??”

“Thats right!” And he smiled at me.

“Arent you supposed to do a service recovery here by asking why? I might change my mind, you know?”

“Ohhh, we will only ask you when you return back the modem to us…”

“Isnt that a little bit too late to do service recovery?”

“Well, that’s our procedure here.”

I promptly left the counter as I felt that either this guy didn’t get what it means to be customercentric or the company hasn’t given him any training of service recovery. I didn’t want to waste my time talking to someone who didn’t feel it is important enough for him to ask questions from his customers. It didn’t matter to him.

Mr Lai

A source in the internet says that you have a client database of about 80,000 subscribers as of 2008 and climbing I am sure for 2009. I am not sure what is the segment of users who fall within my category but lets just say, for the sake of discussion, if you have a fall out of 20% and their profiling is similar to mine, you are losing 16,000 customers on a steady rate. Charge them RM299 per termination, you will get RM4,784,000.

BUT, if you train your people to do a service recovery well, you will actually gain RM19,008,000 if all changed their mind like I almost did! (RM99 x 12 months x 16,000 customers).

By the way, here is my first rant about your service. Enjoy reading. Search for other rants in the search box if you will.

PPS: I was told that you and your team have a weekly meeting to discuss on any items that came out in the internet search. I hope you found mine. And share with your team. Especially about the service recovery. Mention about the potential loss of income too. Let them ponder a little.

Thank you

Yours sincerely

Your soon to be ex customer

Local Holidays

I read in the newspapers that the Menteri Besar of Terengganu “would no longer approve the construction of chalet-type accommodation on the renowned island, which is much visited by the diving community”.

I have been travelling all over Malaysia ever since I was small and even just last few weeks managed to squeeze a short trip to Singapore with George. Singapore has always managed to fascinate me with its cleanliness. I can take a peek in between the flower beds and not see even a cigarette butt which is welcomed relief, unlike here. (I have this nasty, nasty association/mind thingy about cigarette butts and anything else which is cigarette associated) Towards the end of this month we have planned to have another few days up North as a family by flying with the local budget airlines. Travelling costs for local travels is cheap  and reasonable but sometimes when I cant help but to make comparison between travelling local or having your passport stamped by some Asian Immigration counters. Looking at things in bigger perspective, I would prefer to travel outbound. At least I get my passport stamped.

Now coming back to this Redang high-end accommodation proposal. It stated that each room will be sold no less than USD$500 per nite (about RM1,600 per nite). Looks like 90% of Malaysians can’t/wont go for a holiday in their own country, especially to Redang Island. What a pity!

I believe that this proposal came about when the MB saw the need to address the failing eco marine system in the area but must it be that the local Malaysians be punished when the law is not tighten up to curb this destructions? I was in Pangkor a few months back to enjoy a few days of short weekend. The local chalet operators are making a steady income from the local tourists which I must feel is what it should be. But, the areas where they frequent were littered with garbage. I didn’t even have the guts to look down in between the planks that connect the main road to the beach, in fear that I might see something dead and nasty down there.

I feel that with education and some vigilante enforcement officers doing their rounding bid may be able to address all these garbage issues. There should be some form of guidelines on sewerage and garbage system put in place and a regular enforcement so that people will always be reminded what not to do.

Another weekend trip to Morib, the so called “newly developed Gold Coast of Malaysia” was a disaster. The water was dirty and there was no sufficient garbage bins in the area. There were clogged drains that lined up the beach too. Public toilet was no where in site. There were like ten gadzillions people and I was feeling sick.

Bukit Malawati was supposed to be beautiful, with all the old, majestic trees lining up the hills overseeing the old fort facing the faraway ocean. Again, there was no sufficient bins to throw rubbish. There was a pond next to the butterfly that I found to be clogged with green algae. The steps that led to the upper side of the hills were littered with water bottles and other kinds of garbage. It was pretty disgusting.

My question are: Is our people ready for this? Isnt there should be more education given to the public? Is our municipal ready for this? Is our resort operator ready for this?