Series of Unfortunate Events? Part II

And the saga continues here ūüôā

After the minor accident and the¬†long-awaited¬†check up with the Orthodontist, I¬†reached my major destination. I’m finally inside¬† Bank B.¬†My main concern is¬†simply to open a savings account. But for some reason, a certain level of excitement was thriving in me. I was very eager and excited to become one of Bank B’s millions of clients.

When I reached the premises of Bank B, I was overwhelmed with the number of clients waiting to be served. A few steps led me to the area for the new accounts. This later gave me my first disappointment for Bank B. 

There was no clear instruction¬†to guide new clients. ¬†The only thing clear to me was the requirements posted on the entrance of the teller’s cubicle. I was clueless of whom to approach and what should I do to be recognized as a prospective client. But I never gave up. I asked a fellow client of where should I line up for the new accounts. The old lady courteously instructed me to sign my name on the logbook provided near the entrance of the teller’s¬†cubicle. As I was about to write my name, I was surprised with the number of written names. The two pages represent all the clients waiting to be served.

As much as I wanted to leave Bank B, I have no choice. I have the need to strictly open an account with them. I joined the agony of my fellow clients. Second score of disappointment was recorded!

Fortunately, I found a comfortable seat amidst the numerous clients. To keep me occupied and divert my attention to other positive things, I decided to take out my current read. However, my mind is starting to pile all the disappointments I had for the day. I looked around the premises of the bank and it was only during this time when I found the reason to the bulk of unserved clients. There was only one teller attending to the opening of new accounts. The idea that I had no choice prevailed on me. I chose to hold on to my dwindling patience.

After almost an hour, I spotted another teller directed to the new accounts section. I thought that her presence will hasten the turnover of clients. To my surprise, the other teller left his workstation. He headed out for the much-needed break he has been ranting. Third disappointment was recorded!

Though to be fair, I don’t blame the teller who has been demanding his much-needed break. The thing that rather frustrates me is the inability of Bank B to handle the bulk of unserved clients.

After more than an hour, my name was finally called. The¬†moment of¬† heading to the client’s seat¬†made me happy only until a fellow client informed me that she was called first. Phew! Fine…. Since I already left my seat, another waiting client¬†occupied ¬†it. I was left awkwardly standing and waiting… I felt stupid.

I don’t know if it was my stupid mistake.¬†I can’t however¬†decipher why one teller¬†have to¬†call¬† three consecutive names, if she can attend to only one client. The system really confused and made me feel stupid.¬†Fourth disappointment was recorded!

The only consolation I received from Bank B was the¬†decent customer service skills rendered by the teller. She wasn’t the grouchy or your expressionless service provider.

After almost 2 hours of waiting and disappointments, I’m finally an official client of Bank B…

Do I regret my decision? I’d like to give Bank B another chance. Hopefully, my next banking transactions will manifest a great improvement. Though honestly, even though Bank B will burden me with another set of disappointments, I DON’T HAVE A CHOICE. I have to endure their disappointing services for the benefit of my struggling work life.

Series of Unfortunate Events?

I decided to take another mid-week leave today. Believe it or not, the only reason why I took this day off is because I need to open an account to this bank. Unfortunately, I have to comply with this specific bank.

I have to maximize my day so I squeezed in the need to visit my dentist. I must admit that I’ve been reluctant of taking my monthly consultations because that would mean funds to shed off my account. Anyway, I don’t have a choice because my ortho. treatment is still on-going.

On the way to my dentist, I experienced a minor accident…. I was half-way crossing the street when a jeepney decided to overtake another jeepney. I was surprised of the sudden approach of the overtaking jeepney so I decided to back off¬† crossing the street. I made around two to three steps backward and to my surprise, I was hit by a huge bicycle and loads of goodies on its side cart. The bicycle hit me from my blind side.

In God’s grace, nothing serious happened to me. I was still standing and I was able to walk straight. Though minutes after the accident, I felt a slight pain in my smallest toe and my lower right leg. Hopefully, it will only be a pain that will soon go away. Hopefully, this will not mutate to a long term injury….

I proceed with my appointment with my dentist and as expected, I need to shell out another Php 5,000 again. Phew! But since my dentist never mentioned anything yet, I decided to leave things over.¬† I’ll handle problems when they came in and not when they are just about to come.

After my dental check up, I finally went to the main reason why I took a leave. I went to this banking institution that claims to be the lead in the Philippines.

I never made any transaction with Bank B because I always preferred the extended banking hours offered by Bank BD. Moreover, I have been a loyal client of Bank BD since I was 9 years old. Believe it or not, I maintained and upgraded the same bank account for more than 20 years.

The positive reputation of Bank B has been thriving in me ever since I started working. When I took my graduate studies, I have a number of classmates who are employees of Bank B. From their stories, I was convinced that Bank B is indeed a reputable and reliable institution. A few months ago, I also attended a seminar that shared the best practices of Bank B. I was impressed with the Customer Service advocacy of the company. So after so much analysis and since I had the need to open an account to Bank B, I made the decision. I should be one of their million clients and believers…

Unfortunately, Bank B failed me. They gave me nothing more than disappointments on our first meeting..
To be continued…

Don’t be deceived – My Club Ultima Experience

As much as I wanted to post another article from my recent trip to Taiwan, I feel that I have a social obligation to fulfill through this post. This is neither a paid nor a bribed demolition job against a company. What I will share here are recent discoveries from a not-so-good experience with a company that almost scammed me.

If you are reading my blog, you might have encountered this post.

Two months ago, I received a call from someone who introduced herself as “Precious Gonzales.”¬†She informed me that I won free¬†accommodation to any Crown Regency Hotel in the Philippines.¬†I¬†have been so careful¬†in dealing with calls from companies I never made any¬†form of transaction. In effect, I courteously asked “Precious” the person who referred me to their company. This Precious cannot give me a single name. She insisted that it was impossible for her to track the company’s¬†sources.¬† This made me doubted the real intention of her offer. I also noticed that she kept on asking key information such as my residential address, birth date, occupation, etc. I was convinced that there is more than the freebies she is offering. Again, I made¬†a courteous response and¬†asked for her number.¬†I told her that I’ll just return a call in case I will be interested. If you read¬†my previous post, you will discover the succeeding events that pissed me off.

The number that this “Precious Gonzales” used was

(632) 5057146

Upon further research and a recent dinner with my friend, I learned that this number belongs to CLUB ULTIMA. My friend told me that her brother received a similar call. My friend’s brother got enticed with the offer so they headed to the place where they¬†can claim their free accommodation tickets.¬† To my friend’s biggest surprise, the offer was good only when they sign up for membership at Club Ultima, who claims that they are Crown Regency’s sister company.

I knew it! There was something fishy with that offer. Further internet research made me discover the deceiving recruitment strategy of Club Ultima.

The practice of Club Ultima is to offer free accommodation tickets to any Crown Regency Hotel in the Philippines. They will ask you to claim your tickets to a certain place. On the day you claim your tickets, you will be welcomed by Club Ultima’s agents and convince you to venture to their thousand¬†of pesos membership fee. Some were able to claim their free accommodation tickets even though they¬†refuse to pay the¬†membership fee. In the case of my friend, they never received the promised gift certificates.

Further internet research made me discover these

Club Ultima Scam Busted

Warning: Club Ultima

4 Days / 3 nights stay at Crown Regency?

Club Ultima’s Crown Regency Gift Certificates

I Just Won Club Ultima Crown Regency Gift Certificates

Famous Crown Regency Hotel Offers a Questionable Club Ultima Membership

February 28, 2011 – Crown Regency Hotel Scam or Not?

Club Ultima / Crown Regency Mystery Phone Call

I am not familiar with the governing marketing policies and practices implemented by Club Ultima. Are they just outsourcing another company to handle their membership recruitment? Is the management aware of the negative practice made by their sales agents?

I hope the management of Club Ultima will do something about this issue. After all, I always believe that the best marketing strategy emerge from good practices from the management down to each significant and honest employee.

Customer Service and an Insensitive Colleague

We all have our own share of horror stories about Customer Service. We complain about poor customer service experiences in banks, restaurants, government offices, shopping malls, etc. The complaints I usually encounter arise from transactions with other companies. A recent experience however taught me that poor customer service is more rampant in our nearest surrounding, the workplace.

All offices have internal and external clients. External clients are comprised of people who serve as the lifeblood of the company. They are the real customers who bring income to the company. Internal clients are formed by our own colleagues.  Accept it or not, we depend to a certain extent to our colleagues to sustain our operations.  

I used to work at the Research Department of a private company. Researches depend heavily on data from inside and outside the company. In securing data, we need to coordinate with other departments. And honestly, this is not an easy task.  Irony of ironies, it is sometimes easier for us to obtain data from external organizations.  While it would take us a few days to receive data from other companies, some of our colleagues would give us fake promises and deadlines. Chasing with endless follow ups was always the name of the game.

A friend’s recent experience with a new colleague prompted me to write this post. My friend has been hearing a lot of not-so-good stories about this new colleague. Most of the complaints pointed to her poor customer service skills. She was particularly criticized for rendering poor phone etiquette, uttering sarcastic responses on inquiries, and projecting her signature intimidating face.

My friend had the chance to personally transact business with this new colleague. My friend admits that her impression over this colleague has been stained by all those negative stories. My friend however gave her a fair chance. She courteously approached the new colleague and related her concern. True enough, my friend has now her own share of notorious story from this new colleague.

When my friend handed her document, the new colleague responded by staring at her from head to foot.  My friend returned a friendly smile though she started to feel irritated. As soon as the new colleague type words from her computer, she gave a rude and disturbing laugh. The new colleague later on told her immediate supervisor that she was having an online chat with a friend.

The new colleague didn‚Äôt render her trademarked face or utter a sarcastic remark. My friend however was introduced to a different form of poor customer service.¬†¬†We don’t need to present¬†principles to establish that the act of this new colleague is an offensive foul in the field of Customer Management. Making a boisterous laugh in front of a client is¬†the lowest of low in customer service. Who would not feel humiliated if someone suddenly bursts a laugh on your face?¬†Her resume reveal overpowering awards and credentials.¬†But in reality, she¬†never had the brains to¬†live and understand Customer Service.

Two words¬†for this new colleague, fix yourself! The organization hired you because they believed that you are a potential asset. The situation however manifests that you are becoming more of a liability.¬† You are causing distress and stress to the working environment. The organization has already enough issues and concerns, please don’t add to the burden.

If you want enrollees, implement customer service

I work in an academic institution so I am more or less familiar with all of its systems, procedures and culture. Schools, colleges and universities are service oriented organizations. In effect, customer service will always be one of its selling points. Aside from providing quality education, customer service is our lifeblood. One simple mistake of an employee always equate to the inefficiency of the entire institution. The “front liners” or those employees, who have direct interaction with the clients, become responsible to the initial impressions generated by the clients.

I have studied both in private and public academic institutions. I have my own share of experiences with cranky and unkind employees in both worlds. As a student, I learned to tolerate and handle them. I also felt the need to remain respectful because they are elder people. But at the back of mind, I know that shouting and raising your eyebrows to your clients will never be right. I may sound too much but at the end of the day, our clients are always responsible for feeding every food in our stomach.

Inefficiency can be observed in different ways. Encountering unfriendly employees is not always the case. Another face of inefficiency is observed when the institution fails to answer the need of a client. A classic example is a personal experience which made me draw more realizations about customer service in schools.

I was tasked by my boss to inquire details of a doctoral program to this reputable professional school. The school released brief details such as the objectives, duration and contact person of the program in a newspaper ad. Since the program leads to a doctoral degree, its target clients are professionals, executives and those with advanced positions. Needless to say, the program was made for highly respected people, who are excelling in their respected fields.

I initially browsed the school’s website to look for specific details about the program. The curriculum, key output, tuition fee rates and other related information. The website apparently have no information about the program. The name of the program doesn’t even exist in their website. This situation depicted a modern classic example of inefficiency.

Websites exist to provide relevant information about the school to its students, employees and more importantly, the target market. Websites are powerful tools if its capability are utilized. It can successfully draw potential clients if only all the vital information are provided. In the case of schools, the curriculum, enrollment dates, tuition and other fees, modes of payment, grading system are key information that clients need.

The school targets professionals and executives in this particular program. Most likely, these people don’t have the luxury of time to call and visit the school to secure pertinent details about the program. These people are most of the time confined in meetings and their internet capable electronic devices. Information readily provided through their website would be very useful to their primary target market. Unfortunately, the school failed to realize this potent fact.

The target market is not interested on your mission and vision, line up of employees, history and other unnecessary information about the school. The target market needs information about the program. The situation makes no difference in dining at a fancy restaurant. If you are a vegetarian, you will directly look for the vegetable entrees of the menu. The meat and other section of the menu pays no interest to the vegetarian.

I extended my means to secure details about the program by calling the responsible office. I was properly accommodated in that less than a minute phone call. The personnel assured me that they will email a brochure and other details of the program..soon. Two days after the phone call, my inbox is still waiting for the email. Modern day inefficiency.

I phoned them yesterday and I was able to speak to the Program Director. The same promise was made. He promised that he will email my request as soon as we finish our conversation.

Another day passed and my inbox is still waiting…

I hope the Program Director and even other school personnel realize the implication of their actions. I am a prospective client. I am a prospective enrollee. I am a prospective income. I am a prospective lifeblood to the school.

P.S. I am about to finish this blog entry but I am not losing hope. I checked my email before I hit the publish button. My inbox says “no new mail.” Should I phone him again? Or should I send an email? I will not make another follow up because it’s their RESPONSIBILITY. I am a client so it’s not my responsibility to remind them of their inefficiency.