Bad customer service is everywhere, especially in the telco industry. But i-Cable in Hong Kong seems to excel like few others.
On Sunday morning I received a call at nine something from an i-Cable customer service representative following up on my request to change my billing method. Seems I had inadvertently included my reference number instead of my account number on the auto-pay form.
The matter was so urgent that the agent had to call me Sunday morning (don’t they know there’s a World Cup going on!). And in the age of CRM, it’s shocking that with my name, phone number and reference number they couldn’t easily access my account number without having to contact me. Seems they also left two voice messages on my work number on Saturday.
After giving the agent the missing information, he explained that I’d have to re-fax the form. Do what? I asked: “You now have the info, so why is it necessary for me to spend time faxing and for your people to have to process a fax submission at some point in the future? It wastes everyone’s’ time.”
He couldn’t explain why but said it was the policy. I told him I was sure he could handle the matter over the phone and said “thanks and goodbye”. He then added that setting up auto-pay from a bank account required three months payment in advance.
The auto-pay form didn’t mention anything about prepayment, so this was news to me. I said I was sure this could be waived since I’d been a customer for ten years. As you’d expect, he said he needed to check with his supervisor to get it approved.
Again, I said I was sure it would be waived and that if it wasn’t I’d be happy to cancel my service (after the World Cup). He kindly informed me that I’d have to call another number to cancel.
Bad customer service not only creates ill will among your customer base, but just as important, it wastes scarce resources and costs loads. If the billing department was able to access my account number and complete the simple auto-pay form without calling me, those three calls could have been used to improve relationships with customers or add business, instead of disturbing a loyal customer.