Lessons in Customer Service and Loyalty from a Pissed Off Customer

I am normally an understanding fellow, but I am not perfect.  I still have my off nights or days when I don’t let the little things pass.  It’s just too bad that whenever that off-night does happen, it’s usually triggered by poor customer service.  I have to admit that whenever I decide to leave, I decide to completely disappear.

Whenever I stay loyal to a service or a product, I really stay a long time.  Heck, I’ve been going to a small pub near my house for almost 8 years now.  The same barber has been cutting my hair for almost 10 years already.  Clearly, I am not fickle-minded when it comes to settling for a service.  So, what kind of behavior drives me away for good?

I won’t list down the reasons why I quit a certain service or stopped patronizing a particular establishment.  I do have my stories to tell.

I used to be a mobile subscriber of a popular telco (the precursor of SMART communications).  During my first job, my office took care of the bills and I didn’t have to bother with my payments.  I just submit my billing to them and they paid for it.  As long as those payments were within the prescribed limits set by the company, I was always in the clear.  For a long time, I was a satisfied customer –until I had an ironic encounter with CUSTOMER SERVICE.

You want crazy? I'll show you crazy!

During the course of my relationship with this old telco, I had to call customer service because I wanted to inform them that I wasn’t receiving my bill on time.  What I got was a litany from the service rep about my concern.  I neared critical temperature as I sat and listened to what the guy on the other end of the line had to say.  What really rubbed off the wrong way was when the rep told me that maybe I put the wrong address.  Like, why would I put the wrong address? I received my billing statements before.  I just wanted to tell them that I didn’t receive the last two billings – I needed the statements.  How is it my fault??!!

End-result? I said to hell with them!  I decided to move to GLOBE.  I’m still a GLOBE subscriber today.  That’s 11 years of effin’ loyalty for you and I even have 2 lines for personal use.  I bet their former competitor didn’t even care that I moved because of lousy customer treatment.  This is the real reason why I switched carriers.  I haven’t bothered to try to go back to my old provider.  Who knows?  Maybe it’s just the name that changed.

Customer service lesson: Don’t presume and act that you know better than the customer.  Don’t even assume that the customer is going to complain if he decides to call you.  And why would a customer fuck up his home address for a utility billing statement?

I used to be a fan of a Chinese restaurant called Mann Hann.  The last time I ate there was 2008 because a client wanted to eat at their SM Megamall branch.  The last time I went to one of their branches before 2008 was 1996 or 1997.  Before that, my family was a regular customer of their place in Libis (when it was still around). So, what was their fault that I didn’t go back for 12 years?  It was a stupid security guard/ parking attendant at their parking area.

Honestly, this incident was a simple case of lack of parking space during a crowded Sunday when most families go out to have lunch. Looking back, I remember not being able to park right away.  A guard then told me that we were next in the queue to park.  Knowing that, I decided to take his advice and wait along with my family in the car — we loved the restaurant that much back then.  However, as soon as a car backed out of their parking area, another car appeared out of nowhere and just scooted into the slot that I was promised.  I reminded the guard that he promised me that spot but he decided not to do anything about the whole incident.  Of course, who wouldn’t get mad at a broken promise?  I got pissed off and decided to move to a different restaurant.  At that point, I felt stupid for waiting for nothing.  I decided not to eat at that place ever again.  I also included all of their branches.  Tit-for-tat.  Anyway, it appeared to me that my money wasn’t good enough for them.

In 2008, I finally ate at their Megamall branche because of a client request.  In fairness to the Megamall crew back in 2008, I think I’d forgiven their company because of them.  However, a vow is a vow.

Customer Service Lesson: Unless you’re in a monopoly, don’t ever think that the customer has no real alternative for your service.  Don’t ever think you’re irreplaceable.  Don’t assume that your customer is a pushover.

Customer Service Lesson: Don’t ever break a promise.  If ever you do break a promise, at least be decent enough to offer a ready explanation.

Customer Service Lesson: If you’re using a third party company to provide part of your services, be sure they are oriented on the proper way to treat your customers.

Last night I decided not to ever go back to Madison Square at Pioneer St. in Mandaluyong City.  The reason: a stupid driver and a stupid security guard decided to ruin my evening.

My wife and I were too tired to prepare dinner for the kids at home.  After some thought, we decided to just head off to Madison Square, a strip mall with a number of eating places near our home in Pasig City.  I guess traffic was bad that evening because the oncoming traffic in the area didn’t want to let me make my turn into the mall.  Good thing that the entire experience of parking was easy and dinner went smoothly.  However, the whole customer hell for me happened when we were already leaving the place.

First there was a group of people who didn’t want to move even if they blocked the parking exit of the mall.  Maybe they were too happy that the work week was over, but who cares?  They were in the wrong place.  I looked around and the guard on duty didn’t want to do anything about them.  Heck, even part of the group wasn’t effective to dissuade his companions to move.  Second, as we made it to the exit gate of the mall, which was designed for single-vehicle traffic, a late-model CRV decided to block our path.  The driver of the other vehicle also wanted to enter the parking area at the same time we wanted to exit.  Patiently, I signaled the driver of the other vehicle to make some space for us so we can exit and he can enter.  There was space for him to move forward and back again to that narrow vehicle passageway.  The other car’s driver decided to be unreasonable and just ignored my signals.  With that reaction, I wanted to back up instead and just avoid getting irritated.  However, there was already a line of vehicles at my rear — one was even honking its horn at me.  I was already getting irritated.  I decided to call the attention of the guard on duty at the parking area to ask the stupid driver to move.  The next part of the incident almost made me want get out of my vehicle to kick both the guard’s and the driver’s butts — the guard basically told me that it WASN’T HIS JOB or PROBLEM.  What the fuck was that again?!!

It's a good thing that I didn't get out of the car

I decided to be a pushover at that point and find an inconveniencing solution to get my vehicle out.  I also decided not to visit that place ever again.  The businesses at Madison Square at Pioneer won’t be getting any of my hard-earned cash ever again.  That was just a simple case of traffic management.  Now what if I got mugged there?  Would that be not his problem, too?  According to him, taking care of a customer was not his job.

Customer Service Lesson: Don’t make the guy who just paid (using his own hard-earned pay) for part of your wages/earnings feel that he made a bad decision to visit your place of business.  For all you know, the next car coming in could just be there to pick someone up.

Human Behavior Lesson: Owning a newer vehicle does not make you a better driver.

Human Behavior Lesson:  I hate people who drive crossovers and act as if they drive a big SUV.



  1. Good thing about Filipinos is the family connection. Members of the family help each other. Even the relatives. My aunt, the one who is living in our house there, had sent 2 relatives to school. She paid for their college tuition, which was quite considerable, and the two have graduated. This will never happen here in the US. Heck, even parents don’t spend for their children’s college education.
    By the way, I heard stores there are not good in accepting returned products.

    1. Hey! Long time no hear. Busy with school?

      Oh, yeah. Not all stores here are relaxed when it comes to returning goods. Since I only buy what I need, I don’t normally have the need to return goods, except when they’re really bad ha.

      So far, I haven’t heard of any stories about abuse of return policies (none to abuse) which is more possible there in your area.

      1. It’s spring break… a one week vacation, but weather is horrible, cold as heck, I’m freezing, and it’s been raining for over a month now, freezing rain. Yesterday, it rained hailstones, and there was thunderstorm and a blackout, but just for a few minutes. I was frying French fries when it happened. Anyways, my boss at work gave me more hours, and that’s good…….I need the dough =_= So, no, I wasn’t busy with school. Either I’m at work or in bed all covered with thick blankets, trying to get all the sleep i can get before school next week. ( and watching Korean drama online, LOL )
        Yup, return goods policy over here is so lax it leads to abuse. My sister used to work at Walmart, and one time, she was assigned to the Return Goods section, and she told us there were indeed, a lot of scammers. But of course stores have wised up to this sort of thing.

        1. More hours? Saving up for a nice vacation?

          LOL on the Koreanovela (Korean drama). I didn’t realize that it’s that addictive. It’s still super-popular here.

          Stores have wised up? No more returns of used clothing. 😛

          1. My goodness, I wish ! I was there last summer and I had so much fun, and my mother promised we’d go back this summer.Unfortunately, I need to take a summer class in Chemistry. I hope I can go there summer of 2012.

            Are Korean dramas popular there? I notice there are a lot of Koreans in the Philippines. My parents have a condo at Megaplaza, and it’s being rented out to a Korean. Our neighbors across from our house are Koreans, too, and they’ve been residing there for 10 years already, and there were so many Koreans in Bagiou. And my favorite cable channel when I was there was like KPop Mtv, lol. Well, Korean dramas are so unlike American movies and TV shows…. they are so refreshing. And sugar – sweet!!!! Although, I shed buckets of tears on this one that I just watched. Sheeesh. The drama is over the top, but it’s good.

            My sister said majority of most returns were electronics.
            Teehee, I’m so chatty right now.

            1. Korean dramas are popular here. They’re even dubbed in local language. Kpop is also popular here.

              I guess the Koreans love the weather here. There are also a lot of Koreans in the building where I work…which is quite near the condo unit your family is renting out. 😀

              Chat away. LOL.

  2. SUVs are gas guzzlers. For extended families, trusty vans are so much better. We have an SUV and and a van, and I tell you, we can drive to San Francisco ( about 1 hr, 45 minute drive ) and back on a van, and still have some left-over gasoline. But not the SUV, nuh uh, it would take at least 4 full tanks to go there and back.

        1. I think showing off wealth isn’t a cultural exclusive. It’s more like an unconscious mating instinct.

          As for status symbols, unless you’re one of the “new rich,” flaunting the riches isn’t a strict requirement. If you’ve been rich longer than most, you don’t have to tell the world that you are. The people already know.

          1. There is such a huge discrepancy between the have and the have nots over there, though, isn’t it? I saw a lot of really sad-looking houses there, and I was like, how could anyone live in such a hovel. My mother said when we were still living there, her eyes ( and psyche ) were used to the sight of poverty all around, but going back and seeing it again jolted her. But of course we’re no different here. There are a lot of homeless people roaming around, especially at this time of massive recession the US is experiencing now. But they nevertheless get help from the government,,, there are homeless shelters with hot food for everybody. What does the Philippine governemnt do to help the poor there?

            1. To answer your question. “yes” there is a huge discrepancy. That “discrepancy” is what the so-called progressives use as fuel for their cause. Honestly, I do believe that opportunity is there for people to get out of their miserable states. The problem is finding their way out. I hate to admit it but the so-called “progressives” are having a field day with their solutions for people to get out of poverty — and that’s outside being more effective economic agents.

              The poor here, as comfort, have other poor people to keep them company.

              Hey, send me an email. I do prefer to have a discussion outside reach of propaganda. Personally, the issues here are beyond the usual sales pitch about inequity of wealth. That’s a load of bull.

    1. LOL. Good question.

      We just like to show that we can afford to burn expensive gasoline. 😛 With our extended families here, it’ll be difficult to fit inside a compact. 🙂

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