Customer Service Importance

11. prosince 2012 v 9:43 |  solar power systems
I was in an Ayala Mall last Sunday with my three kids, excited to use an Ayala Electronic Gift Certificate (EGC) I had been given, only to find out that the establishment, Laser Xtreme, no longer accepts it. "Sir, don't be upset. I'm just saying," the cheerful lady behind the counter offered.

Perplexed, I called the Ayala customer service hotline on my Ayala-owned Globe line 32 times, but couldn't get through. Eventually, on the 32nd attempt (something that many Globe users can relate to), the call finally connects and a customer service representative answers and tells me what I already know--that the establishment doesn't accept the card. Boy was I glad I was finally able to get through. Not.

I reminded the girl that I wasn't calling for a second opinion or an English translation of what I was just told, but to clarify how and why an establishment could just change their mind about accepting a pre-paid gift card once it had been sold. She had no answer for it so I asked if I could use it in the movie theatre instead, which I was told is at least Ayala-owned and -operated. She said they don't accept it either. To which I replied, "If your own establishments don't accept the card, what good is it? And can I just refund the card?"

Confused, she put me on hold for 2-3 minutes. When she came back on the line, she asked if I had purchased the card or whether it was a gift. Like anyone who was born to parents who weren't previously related and shared the same family name before marriage, I wondered why that would matter; but to humor her, I asked "Would I get a refund if I said I bought it?" She replied, "No, sir." So I asked if they would refund it if it were a gift. To which she replied, "No, sir." Which led us to the painfully obvious question as to why she asked the original question in the first place.

Knowing that the conversation would be all downhill from there, and out of sheer frustration--fueled in part by three impatient kids wanting to shoot the light beams out of one another--I pulled out my Ayala-owned BPI credit card, only to be told that this BPI-accredited outlet will not accept it for purchases under 1,000 pesos.

It took every fiber of my being to not Carabuenize the next person who said, "Ay, sir, sorry, but..." So I calmly asked where the nearest BPI ATM was located. "There's one just downstairs, sir!" Visibly annoyed, I trudged downstairs only to find out that the BPI machine was not functioning and couldn't dispense cash. By this stage, I felt exactly one transaction away from an aneurism, so I took three deep breaths and asked "What would Jesus do?" And headed over to Power Plant Mall to hear mass.

Now, while I'm certain that many of you can relate to an experience like this, more than a few of you may be wondering what this has to do with motoring. Well, almost everything. Because just like modern malls, as the disparity between the quality of cars shrinks to an almost negligible level, market share will be won and lost by design, marketing and service--and it is the last one that many companies, including automotive dealers, need to start taking more seriously. You can have fantastic products, but without good customer service to back it up, it would be like setting up a first-class spa where customers need to massage themselves.

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