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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Renaming Customer Services Department

Recently I upgraded my service with Virgin Media by adding a basic TV package on top of existing broadband and telephone facilities. The sales team called me up a week prior installation to congratulate me for 'making the right decision' and for showing my increasing loyalty with the company. They promised me to offer special deals in near future as I have shown signs of a happy and need-oriented customer etc. etc. etc. So far so good, I hung up the phone and decided to wait for the TV package to arrive in due time.

In the following days, however, I had to make some urgent phone calls back to Bangladesh straight from my landline. I was aware of the bills but the circumstances were such that it was justified and there was no other way. My justifications were faced with a surprise shock after 3 days, now from the Collection department of Virgin Media. They first confirmed if I had made the international calls or not, then they urged me to pay 56 pounds immediately, otherwise they said they would block my telephone services! I was at my wit's end aruging with them why would I pay that amount without receiving any bill in the first place. I was frustatingly disputing the fact that it was not even a week that I proved my 'loyalty' by upgrading my service from them and here they were threatening me to block my other services! What a contrast from the same brand. The collection department decided me to hand my call over to the Customer Services Department then and I was greeted by a heavy Midlands accented lady agent.

I was struggling real bad to understand what the lady was saying in the first place, such a heavy accent it was, I was wondering if this was the listening test during my IELTS examination, I would have surely flunked miserably. So I decided to stop the lady and decided to do the talking myself by narrating her my problem. She listened and provided me the most shocking customer service advice possible. She said with her chewing accent that 'since we are a big company, its not possible for us to treat each and every customer based on their loyalty, trends, behaviour etc. I understand that you have decided to upgrade your package from us, however on the issue of the payment of 56 pounds, you will have to pay it, otherwise we will block all your services, as this is our company policy!' I didn't know pretty much what to expect from them after hearing this. I told them finally that I would pay them shit unless they send me a bill and hung up.

First came the individual's email addresses, then came mobile phones and now we have our unique profiles, friend lists in various social media networking websites. How come the companies as big as Virgin Media even think that I, as a customer, have NOT gained the necessary tools such as internet, mobiles, social networks to make my needs unique, thus making me demand individual treatment. Don't they realise that consumers who used to do 'word of mouth' earlier can very easily do 'word of mouse' with just a click and spread the good word or the bad word faster than a Tsunami? I guess its high time that companies consider renaming their Customer Services Department to 'Individual Services Department' as I am not a generic customer/consumer anymore, I am an individual, I have an identity and I hold some sort of power to convince my network of peers/consumers positively or negatively about any brand these days. You can do the same.


Rooney said...

Interesting text. You have a nice blog. Keep it up!

petter said...

I share the same views. Liked your blog very much.