Posts tagged ‘customer service’

The power of social media

When I put up my last post regarding my war with K-Electric a lot of my friends and colleagues told me that I was wasting my time, that nothing would come of it.

That post was read by 1200+ people within a few hours, several people shared their experiences; the Facebook status I put up was shared by 36 of my Facebook friends; several people tagged people they knew at K-Electric.

The result was that I was contacted by half a dozen K-Electric staff offering to help resolve my issue – two of them actually at senior level – a Deputy GM and a Director. Within a few hours my Rs. 40,000 bill was revised and I received a bill by email for close to Rs. 8.900. I was told that unfortunately there had been an error in generating the bill and an apology was rendered.

I responded by email making enquiries regarding some of the lingo used on the bill and a very patient and polite Deputy GM actually phoned me and clarified each of the reservations I had. He also offered to send a mobile unit to check out the meter and replace it if it was necessary.

Appreciative though I am for the immediate resolution of my problem, I am left to ponder on whether this is the power of social media or is it because I have a certain profile online that I received this special treatment? One lesson I did learn through all of this was that one should at least try and redress the problem and not just take it lying down.

Nonetheless thank you K-Electric; thank you Taha Siddiqui and thanks to all the people who empathized with me and shared their stories and experiences.

 

May 28, 2016 at 11:08 am 3 comments

On the warpath with K-Electric

logoI thought they were getting better. The guy who handles social media for them is prompt at addressing complaints. The SMS complaint chat works. Breakdowns are handled as quickly as possible most of the time. And although I am still upset that I should be the victim of load-shedding despite paying my bills regularly, I have learnt to live with it since there seems to be no-one able to solve that problem for me.

However, when I get a bill for Rs. 40,000 I am absolutely dumbfounded. How is that possible when my air conditioner broke down two months ago and it is only a couple of weeks ago that I bought a new one. There is one refrigerator and some lights and fans that are used. I am not home most of the day and the only time I use the television is for a couple of hours in the evening. So I can’t understand why I should receive a bill for such a horrendous amount. I look at the bill and I see that there is a large amount that is labeled as “Arrears”. I figure they have made a mistake so I send my office assistant to have it checked alongwith paid bills of the past 6 months. He is told that they can’t handle the enquiry at just any K-Electric office and that I have to go to the office in my area – so much for a so-called technology enabled company.

Yesterday I sent another person to the office near my home. It is an understatement to say that he was not given a fair hearing. In fact instead of listening to the complaint and trying to resolve it, the guy at the K-Electric office said to him: “Aap log kunda lagatay hein aur phir aajatay hein shikayat karnay”. My rep told him we have never used kundas, showed him previously paid bills and requested that he send someone to check out the meter. To this the response was “We know that your meter is installed inside the house so we will have no access, and you have had it turned off for a month”. Wrong!!! The meters were installed by K-Electric outside our gate and we did not have them turned off. We wouldn’t even know how to turn them off. “Come and check out the premises yourselves” he was told “or talk to my boss on the phone”. Both pleas went unheard.

The K-Electric staff member said that the best he could do was provide a revised bill breaking the amount into 4 instalments. No argument or debate or explanation was acceptable to him. He insisted that I had to pay Rs. 40,000 for the month and that was that! He also said he did not feel the need to send a person to check out my premises nor the need to talk to me. After all, who am I – just the customer!

Without any proof he made all these assumptions about a customer who pays her bills regularly:

  1. That I was involved in electricity theft
  2. That my meter was installed at an inaccessible location on my premises
  3. That I had shut off my meter for a month

Would the situation have been different if I had gone myself? Was he rude and unreceptive because the man who had gone there was visibly not someone who “looked” important enough?

Should I be intimidated into paying a bill for electricity that I know I didn’t consume? I don’t think so. I am angry and upset – and rightly so. I expect much better service from a company that is presumably run like a well-oiled machine or so I am told. Who should I reach out to? Why should I have to reach out to anyone in particular? The customer service people should treat me like any other paying customer and resolve my issue. Isn’t that how good businesses are supposed to run? Or am I living in a fool’s paradise?

May 26, 2016 at 8:35 pm 13 comments

Cathay Pacific – you have lost a customer

imgresI have always been a Cathay Pacific fan – well maybe not always. There was a time when the Cathay stewardesses didn’t treat women business travellers with the same respect and decorum as they did the male traveller and that used to annoy the hell out of me. But either the number of women business travellers have increased over time thus forcing a change in the attitude of stewardesses or the CX training has focused on bringing about this positive change. Anyway, suffice it to say that I was until recently a very satisfied Cathay Pacific customer.

So what happened to change all that? Well, this time when I was traveling to San Francisco I decided to fly Cathay Pacific. Since I had some frequent flyer miles available I upgraded myself on the outgoing sector to business class. I enjoyed the comfort so much that on the return journey I went online to the Cathay Pacific site to upgrade the return journey although I had to pay a little for the upgrade. Sound simple? I thought so. Apparently it wasn’t.

The upgrade wasn’t reflected in my online booking so I asked my brother who lives in Hong Kong to talk to CX and find out why the change was not reflected. In response to this they checked and told him that it was done.

A happy ending you would think. No it wasn’t – it was the beginning of a nightmare. Apparently what CX had done was that instead of upgrading me on the sector they had issued a new business class ticket and charged me for it. How or why was this done, you might ask. Well, when I checked with CX on landing in Hong Kong, I was informed that I should never have used the online mechanism for the upgrade. Isn’t that what it is there for, I asked? I was told quite rudely that passengers were not expected to use the service – that it only resulted in messing up things. And because my brother had made the call as a follow up, they said the instructions had been duplicated resulting in two tickets (Economy & Business) being valid on the same day, on the same flight, same passenger name, same Passport number, same Marco Polo Club number instead of a simple upgrade from Economy to Business.

Whereas I can understand that mistakes happen, the rudeness and total inflexibility with which the Cathay Pacific team dealt with the problem at Chep Lap Kwok airport – the counter staff as well as the Supervisor – put me off traveling CX. I thought that the customer was always right. In this case the deaf ears of the airline staff proved that customer service is not of any importance to what used to be one of the best airlines in the world. It’s really sad. To win a customer takes a lot of effort but to lose them it takes but a moment of rudeness. Has Cathay Pacific forgotten that as a customer, I have a choice of many airlines and that my satisfaction or otherwise with their service can influence my decision and the decision of many people in my network?

Since they were aware that I could use only one ticket on that flight from SFO to Hong Kong to Karachi, wouldn’t it have been easier to accept the mistake of their online system & staff, and refund the economy portion? They would have lost nothing by doing that and would have in fact gained the gratitude and loyalty of an existing customer.

This happened to me last June and only now have I been able to write about it. That shows how upset I was and have been since then. I didn’t even want to think about it. CX turned what had been a wonderful business trip to San Francisco and personal stopover in Hong Kong into a frustrating and annoying experience. I didn’t expect this of you Cathay Pacific.

February 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm 7 comments


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