We lost internet service at our residence on the afternoon of Thursday June 6. We got it back on the afternoon of Thursday June 13. What follows is an account of the extreme effort on my part to have our service restored and a tale of a huge service provider that appears to be nothing more than a PR and marketing shell. Harsh? You decide for yourself.Continue reading FLOW Jamaica: PR & Marketing Shell. Nothing more.
So I decided to document my issues with respect to service reliability of my cable TV providers. I emailed the owner/manager and then hand delivered a hard copy to her office. Within one hour of my dropping off the hard copy, I received an email from her. I’ve decided to post my letter to Logic One Ltd. and their response. Here you go:
MY LETTER TO LOGIC ONE LTD.
Dear Mrs. Francis:
Let me first apologise for the numerous interruptions in service due to damage sustained to our external plant as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Although the damage was not devastating, down trees caused breaks and stress fractures to our wires some of which were easily repairable whilst others were not.
As it relates to Nov 9-12th, we assumed it was a power outage after we discovered there was not power at our device, only to discover that our main wires ( both fiber and coax) had been cut, this took us the better part of all day of the 12th to locate and repair the damage. The Nov. 17th complaint was due to someone cutting trees and chopping our main wire again and repairs were once again effected on the 19th. Mrs Levy advised me that a call was placed to you last night, at which time you confirmed service had been restored.
Emergency calls are received by our in house voice-mail. Once a complaint is made in the week it will be addressed the following day and a call must be returned to the subscriber acknowledging complaint. On the weekends, the voicemail is checked remotely and calls returned to subscribers to either try and assist or if it is an area problem a team will be dispatched; however it is very important that you leave you name address and phone number in order for us to contact you, as this is normally omitted.
Complaints are normally repaired within 3-5 days depending on the nature of the complaint and subscribers availability.
Based on the number of days lost in October and now November we have decided to waive November fees, based on the fact you already paid for October and $2 towards November, this would easier than to re-calculating.
Whilst preparing my response a copy of your email was hand delivered.
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me or Mrs Levy.
When JPSCo put full page advertisements in the press only a few weeks ago, I was puzzled as to the reason why. Afterall, JPS is a monopoly so it’s not as if they are grappling for market share. There were pictures of newly appointed parish representatives, but again, I was struck that there were no names and no contact information given. Fast forward to the recent devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy. Staring the sixth consecutive night of darkness in the face, I tried in vain to get contact information for my parish representative. I called the 1 888 Customer Care number and was told that they could not provide the information. To my distress, they could not give me any updates on my immediate predicament either. They made a great show of recording my name and number and recording the fact that I had no service.
I fully understand that we just came through a natural disaster that no one had any control over. What disturbs me is the lack of credible information concerning when paying customers can expect resumption of service. JPS has ramped up its’ on-line presence, sending out frequent tweets and updating its’ Facebook page regularly. But the opportunities for actual dialogue are extremely limited.
It is not enough for Customers to lodge their complaints into the void that is called Customer Care. How do we know that our issues are understood? Who can we speak with in order to get clarity and understanding? We don’t even hear Winsome Callum or Ruthlyn Johnson giving updates anymore. Mrs. Tomblin herself is becoming the face of the company. Even so, I don’t really care. All I want is the ability to speak with someone about my issues and to have reliable service. It seems to me that JPS is confusing Public Relations with Customer Service. What else would you call faces without the ability to contact? What else would you call a 1 888 number that takes your details and never calls you back?
I’d like to remind them that the best customer service is reliable and efficient delivery of the product/service. PR stunts only serve to anger and frustrate.
So I had an hour between assignments in Kingston last week Friday morning and I decided to have coffee at Cafe Blue in Sovereign. It wasn’t crowded at 8:00am and I placed my order for a large latte and smoked marlin on a wheat bagel. The cafe is a very comfortable space and it smelled like heaven (we do have the best coffee in the world you know!). The person who took my order appeared to be the manager/supervisor on duty and she was pleasant and welcoming. So I sat, exhaled and took out the daily newspapers, grateful to start my day in such a relaxing way. Ten minutes passed…then 15 minutes…then 20 minutes…I started to get edgy and restless now…I noticed the place filling up, and then I noticed a couple who had come in after me being served. Okay…maybe their order was simpler than mine…no problem. Then I noticed a man who had come in after me being served….not cool! And by this time, the woman who was directly ahead of me had finished eating and got up to leave. All this time, none of the staff noticed that I was simply taking up space with no coffee, no nothing in front of me. I tried to catch the eye of one of the wait-staff, but that never happened. By this time I was steaming. I absolutely hate when my time is wasted or taken for granted. So I got up after 25 minutes and went to the counter and said: “I’d like to leave now. May I get a refund?” The cashier/supervisor looked at my receipt and said: ” Oh no! Sorry. Please don’t leave”. I looked her dead in the eye and gave her the Kelly stare and repeated that I’d really like to leave. But truth be told, I needed that latte…and I still had time.
Still very put out, I sat back down and in 5 minutes one of the wait-staff bought my latte. She was pleasant and smiling and faintly apologetic, but had no explanation for what happened. So of course I asked her what went wrong…she shrugged and smiled nicely and said she did not know. Sigh. In another 3 minutes, my bagel was brought to me by the Cashier/Supervisor. She was very apologetic. But she offered no explanation as to what happened. You know I asked what went wrong. She said something about my order being overlooked and again apologized.
Here’s what Cafe Blue did right: They apologized when I brought it to their attention that I had been overlooked.
Here’s what Cafe Blue did wrong:
The staff including the manager were totally unaware of what was happening in the small space that they managed, and how pleased or not their clients were. A simple scanning of the room at 3minute intervals to ensure that all was as it should be would have clued them in to the fact that the hottie in the corner (me) had been sitting sans coffee for far too long!
They offered no explanation for what went wrong. Most people I think are reasonable, and sometimes stuff happens. Had I been apologized to with an explanation that they misplaced the order or something…anything…I would have been somewhat mollified
They offered zero compensation for my inconvenience. I was sharing with my Bestie how absolutely put out I was at the treatment that was meted out to me at what he considers to be his favourite coffee spot. I thought that it would have been a great touch for the cashier/Supervisor to offer me a muffin or a small gift voucher to use on my next visit to Cafe Blue as a gesture of goodwill. In fact, the voucher would have been a brilliant peace offering, as it would go a long way in ensuring that a dissatisfied customer would return in the future for another chance to be wowed by great service and food. He shook his head sadly and said that they staff were probably not empowered to give away a muffin or a JD300.00 gift voucher. “Only at the Ritz-Carlton can you expect that type of service, Kelly.” He related a story about his having to wait in line in a certain store in the USA for 30 minutes and how apologetic the sales clerk was when he got to the top of the line. That sales clerk rang up the phone case that Bestie was buying and gave him for free!
The latte was all that I had anticipated and the bagel and smoked salmon on point. It wasn’t the food that left that bad taste in my mouth.
I work hard for my money, so when I spend it, I want to feel appreciated. After all, in most cases, I have a choice. Here in Jamaica, we’ve been slow in recognising the need to make Customers happy. The social anthropologists among us can go to town postulating as to why this is indeed so. So anyway, when I do have a good experience in the places where I spend my money, I like to share them. Amazon blew me away when I broke my Kindle last year and they replaced it without blinking an eye, also crediting my account with the USD50.00 that it cost me to ship the damaged one from Jamaica to the States. My expectations were exceeded at no cost to me.
The Shell Gas Station in Havendale
Courts Jamaica Ltd.
So last year this time I bought a TV at Courts. At the time of purchase, the clerk advised me to purchase the warranty with a bit of advice about buying electronic items without this little bit of insurance. So I did. In late December, the TV started showing an awful green tint that would most times disappear about 30 min into viewing. But it was damned annoying! My heart was heavy as I contemplated lodging the complaint with Courts…I really couldn’t find my purchase documents, I thought I’d have to schlep the damn thing to Courts, I quivered at the thought of only one TV left in the house while they dealt with the green one and I groaned inwardly at the thought of what I was sure would be an unplanned expense. Anyways, the horrible green tint aggravated me long enough (2 months!) and I dug one night until I found my purchase documents. I went to Courts and lodged my complaint. I told the Customer Service rep dealing with me that I almost couldn’t find my documents. She smiled sweetly and and assured me that all my information was in the system and it wouldn’t have prevented them from attending to my issue! She said a technician would come to my house, assess and decide whether to repair or replace. Amazing! Yay Courts Jamaica!!!! Long story short: that complaint was lodged at noon. At 6pm that same day, a well dressed and well identified technician showed up at my house. He was professional and efficient and in 15 minutes my TV was fixed and re-installed! My need was met without any hassle whatsoever to me.
Jamaica Automobile Association
When a dead battery left me high and dry, totally immobile at my house this past Tuesday, I determined that I must never again be in a situation where I have to be calling around and hoping that someone would rescue me! So after my local taxi-man came and jump-started my car and I dropped the kids to school (not too late!) and replaced my battery, I settled down at my desk and called these JAA people. The lady I spoke to assured me that had I been a member, all I would have to do is call the number on my membership card and they would come and bail me out! Note that I had called my insurance company who are supposed to have a roadside assistance plan, but they totally blew me off and told me that roadside does not extend to my garage! Next time I’ll push the damned car out to the road and give them a call! Rubbish! I will be dealing with them later and will simply switch providers if they will not meet my need. Miss JAA filled out a membership application form over the phone, advised me of a promotion going on (50% off current rates!) and told me that she would send someone to collect payment. I am now a JAA member without even leaving my desk. My need was met without any inconvenience to me. They also have a great website, where you can join and pay over the web. Rock on JAA!