Why Telecoms and Banks Don’t Care

I hate Philippine telecommunication companies.

I hate Philippine banks.

I hate telecom companies and banks in the Philippines because they don’t care about customer service. 

They can say all they want that they value their customers. 

They don’t. 

I know they don’t care because they provide the worst customer experience.

I can never have an uninterrupted conversation when using my mobile phone.  I can never hear clearly what the other person is saying from the other side of the line.  And that’s assuming I make a successful connection, which happens only half the time. 

When it comes to connecting to the internet or running an app, the quality of access is never good.  There’s never a decent signal or reception when I need one. 

And this isn’t just for mobile phones but landlines too.  I’d be lucky if my landline telephone at work goes out of order only once a year.  My office phone line always goes dead at least four (4) times a year.  Never mind if the phone company fixes it within a week; the phone will inevitably die again within a few months. 

The telecom companies don’t sincerely apologise for the poor service.  They reply with canned messages when someone complains on social media like Facebook and Twitter.  The telecom companies would ask the complainer to send a private message or email in which there would never be a satisfactory response.   

And despite the poor service and the hundreds of complaints, the telecom companies promptly bill their post-paid subscribers every month and threaten disconnection if one doesn’t pay by the deadline.  Prepaid subscribers meanwhile just pray that they get good reception for the money they shelled out already. 

I hate banks for the same reason as I hate telecom companies. 

They don’t care about their clients.

Banks always say they value their clients.  Yeah right. 

They don’t.

It may be easy to open a personal bank account as showing one’s identification is usually enough.  When it comes to opening an account for one’s business, however, banks, apply a presumed-guilty-till-proven-innocent approach. 

Banks ask just about everything from an enterprise: proof of registration, articles of incorporation, by-laws, lists of stockholders, latest financial statements, etc. 

Fine, I say.  One can argue that those are legitimate requirements. 

But why do they want the same f@#king stuff when they ask me to update the account’s records every year? 

They say it’s just an update but in other words, it’s because they don’t trust that my business still exists.  Never mind if I had been actively and continuously depositing funds into the account. 

Worse, banks demand that all signatories of the business account be certified by my company’s corporate secretary or legal counsel.  And that the corporate secretary provide identification to prove that she exists.  How more distrusting can banks get?

I do have a degree of understanding that transparency is important between enterprises and banks.  I just wonder if banks understand the time and productivity enterprises expend to prepare all these paperwork and signatures. 

Banks can call me lazy.  For me, it’s a darn waste of time due to simple distrust. 

It gets worse. 

You want a loan?  Hahahaha, Good Luck!  Banks rarely give the credit line you want.  And if they do, you’d have to fork over assets three to four times the value of the limit you want to borrow at most.  And again, you’d have to prepare another heap of paperwork and have fresh ballpens ready as you’d be running out of ink getting them all signed. 

When it comes to daily transactions, banks and telecom companies have some things in common: 

  • Long lines at their branches;
  • Long online transaction times

Whenever I go the bank, I’d have to budget an hour even for just a deposit. Some banks make it fast but often, especially with the big banks, it would take the whole morning.  Even just for one transaction.  The lines are always long; the waiting time running close to eternity. 

Telecom company branch offices likewise have long lines of people always waiting.  Whether it be to pay bills or make a complaint, some people would spend up to a day waiting before they’d need to talk to a “customer service representative,” which is an oxymoron since there’s no service represented. 

And just when I thought online portals of telecom companies and banks would make it easier and faster?  No such luck.    

Telecom companies and banks have websites that are complicated to navigate.  One telecom company has a website in which looking for my bill requires clicking on a link that’s almost invisible to the naked eye.  And when I do click it, I again have to find another microscopic link to look for my phone records.  It’s as if the telecom company doesn’t want me to find my bill!  

Bank websites meanwhile require so much security that by the time I finish, my work day morning would have disappeared. 

Friendly to customers?  Banks and telecom companies don’t show it with their very user-unfriendly websites. 

Banks and telecom companies don’t care about their customers because they have their captured markets.  People, especially enterprises, need banks to transact.  And we need our phones to communicate. 

We can’t live without phones or banks.  And the telecoms and the banks know that.  They therefore don’t care if they make life difficult for their clients if it would make their bottom lines fatter. 

Whenever I ask banks and telecom companies why they don’t try caring about clients, they cite several words:

  • Audit
  • Process
  • Policy

Banks say their auditors won’t approve skipping some documents in updating accounts even if they already have the documents when the account was opened.  No matter it doesn’t make sense, auditors want it and they have the final say; customers don’t.  

Telecom companies always say they have processes to follow.  Repairing a phone, for example, requires diagnosis which will take two to three days.  A service person will then schedule to visit your home or office which will take another so many days.  The service person sometimes never shows up, so we’d have to follow up and the cycle from diagnosis to schedule repeats itself. 

A telecom company refused to fix my company’s phone because the local barangay (neighbourhood village government unit) requires a permit to climb the pole where the fault for my phone service usually is.  The telecom company doesn’t want to pay the cost of the permit (in this case: PhP 350 ($USD 7.00); the company thinks the contractor it hired should pay for it.  A stalemate ensues; and my phone as a result would be out of order for months.  The telecom company kept quoting “process” whenever I followed up.  (My company finally ended up paying for the permit because we needed the phone). 

You want to increase your business corporate credit card limit?  I might as well wait till hell freezes over.  Banks ask for so much requirements and paperwork just to apply for it; I’d still have to wait for the bank to bless the application for approval. 

Banks and telecom companies provide the epitome of lousy customer experience. 

Poor reception from telecom companies.  Huge amounts of paperwork from banks.  Long lines and complicated online navigation.  You name it, banks and telecom companies have it—everything that customer service experts say a business shouldn’t be doing.  They have their captured markets so they don’t care. 

We just have to live with it.  Hope springs eternal; I just hope I can wait that long.

About Overtimers Anonymous

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