Tag Archives: Service

Service and honesty

I am starting to believe more and more that running a business is indeed about service and honest, and not about money. As whenever I am dissatisfied with anything it is mostly, or maybe even always, about service, or honesty, or maybe not being heard, feeling heard, but the last of course back to service, listening to your customers, serving your customers.

And the reason I am writing this article now is because of the behavior and service of the undertaker my mam has hired for taking care of the funeral of my sister, who died last week. And one would expect especially an undertaker to be very careful in dealing with family, as I can also understand it can be very difficult not to become greedy in situations of death, where there is a lot of grieving and where people would very easily say ‘yes’ to all kinds of things and not really think about the cost too much as their mind is somewhere else.

But wait a minute, that is exactly what my complaint is about, not about cost, but about service. As I live in The Philippines and my sister was buried in The Netherlands. And as I don’t have the budget to go and also just didn’t like to go, I suddenly thought it might be a good idea to attend the funeral through Skype, through internet, with some kind of video conferencing tool. And I didn’t really care about the cost, as I just didn’t want to travel, but I would have liked to attend the funeral online. And I didn’t even care what the cost would be. I even mentioned, or at least thought, that if they would charge € 1,000.00 or so for it, that would be okay. As I wouldn’t have to pay for it anyhow as my sister who passed away has money enough, at least enough for such a thing. So cost was not really an issue, unless my other sister and/or my mam would have disagreed with it. So it was really about service, and I would have been willing to pay big time for it and would have praised, promoted the person who would have arranged it.

But no, my remark about possibly attending through Skype, through video conferencing was put down with ‘there is no internet available at the location’. And this is about the funeral of my sister, imagine. And I understand it was not the undertaker who made that remark, but I guess a good undertaker, a good businessman, would have picked up the request and would have made it happen, would have find a way. And I guess it wouldn’t even have been that difficult. As I can’t imagine there would not be some kind of wireless internet nearby. Or maybe even wired. So the undertaker could have earned big time, just put some laptop somewhere, arrange an internet connection for two times one hour, church and cemetery, pay maybe € 100.00 or probably less, and charge  € 1,000.00 or something. Everybody happy.

And as I guess you already figured out something fully different happened. As somehow it seems the undertaker was only focused on getting the confirmation of the order for the funeral, the signature of the person who would pay for the funeral. And of course I can imagine that side also, as funerals are expensive and it may not always be easy to collect the money from the heirs. So yes, getting a signature from someone giving the order for the funeral and taking the obligation to pay is part of the business, how cruel or unethical that may feel. But that’s the business of undertakers. And as far as I know they are paid quite well for it. And I guess they deserve it also, as I wouldn’t want to do their job. But the way how he did it is in my opinion unethical, maybe even criminal. And don’t get me wrong, I was not there, so I don’t know the facts. But I do know my mam, and I guess she was seen as the ‘weak person’ and the ‘target’ having the money, or control of the money. So somehow the undertaker made my mam believe that she was the only heir and responsible for everything, which as far as I could find out is not true. So he made her sign for all kinds of things, five signatures, probably including the order for the funeral. And yes, what option did she have? She was probably still in shock, as my sister died very unexpectedly after being ill for only one day or so. So what else would you do if there is so much pressure as of course cooling equipment needs to be arranged as soon as possible. And would you check if it was all true what the undertaker said, as he deals with these things daily? Or ask another undertaker to make another proposal? I don’t think so, I even thing I wouldn’t do that, even though I am aware of all this ‘business’ around death, around funerals and cremations and such.

And please don’t get me wrong, business is business and people have their own responsibilities, even in a situation when someone died, although if it’s your daughter I’m not sure if you could consider the mother taking proper decisions. So it’s okay someone asks for a certain price in a certain situation, same as a can of coke in the middle of the desert could be worth a fortune. But my point is that I think this undertaker made some big mistakes by not telling my mam that my other sister, my mam and I are responsible together for everything. And it would have been in his advantage if he would have involved me, as I happen to know how much money my sister has. And I wanted the funeral arranged as my mother wanted it. And I would have probably pushed for cars in procession provided by the undertaker, as I would have wanted my mam (and my sister) to be comfortable in such a situation, where now they used their own cars, even cars from other family members as there was not enough space. And I wanted to have the internet connection, which was very important for me. And I wanted to pay for it.

So by not focusing on service, but apparently focusing on ‘money’ and ‘signatures’, this undertaker not only missed something like € 3,000.00 additional turnover for the online video feature and the procession cars for himself. And he did not only created a very dissatisfied client, me, or maybe even multiple dissatisfied clients, as later on also my mam and my sister may join me in my dissatisfaction, but probably even lost money and has to deal with a complaint or even lawsuit as I have the feeling he misrepresented the legal situation by making my mam believe she was the only person responsible.

And I still don’t get it, as I asked my mam to pass on my phone number and e-mail address to the undertaker the very first moment I was involved, like them being on the way to “De Losserhof” to arrange everything for the funeral. And imagine, I am the brother, so to me it would have even be just plain courtesy to just call or e-mail me and send condolences, no matter the matters to arrange or the legal matters or the payments or the budget.

But no, he decided to deal with my mother only. So well, I decided to deal with him, even if it were only to let him know that I believe he made some mistakes here.

Something changed

My router, or actually one of my routers, died, or is possibly still very sick. And normally I would be very annoyed, and yes, of course I still am kind of, but I noticed something changed, as I noticed that I just say to it ‘thank you’, thank you for all the years you have served me. And it has been sick for quite a while and I have been trying to keep using it, which kind of worked, but right now it seems it doesn’t run at all anymore, as I can’t seem to connect to it. And this may sound strange, but normally I will just do anything to get something like routers, computers and such fixed. And yes, I will still try a bit more :).

But what changed is that instead of mainly being annoyed I am grateful, grateful for the years it has served me, even though it has been sick for quite a while, probably causing a lot of problems a while ago, even though I can’t fully figure out if it was the router causing those problems.

And this router being broken makes me think that devices like repeaters and routers, and mostly also desktop computers and other electronics seem to have a pretty long lifespan, while the last years I often experience that a lot of household equipment is not as good as it used to be, as I remember it was ten, twenty or more years ago when I was still living in The Netherlands. And the lifespan of things, especially the short lifespan of a refrigerator we bought a few years ago that gave up after four years or so, bothers me a bit. As I know of many refrigerators running for ten, twenty or more years, without any problems, except looking worse and worse. But still working, still useful.

And it reminds me how a company like Acer, where it is kind of funny I am using a laptop from Acer right now, doesn’t seem to care about customer service. As e.g. for this model, a ‘cheap’ model, there is no support or warranty after one year. A while ago when I needed something like software,drivers or something, I found that one year after buying their whole support system stops. You can’t even send them an e-mail anymore.

And I guess they have good reasons for that, as I presume customer support is very expensive and margins may be very small. But it is very strange to me that a supplier stops all support after one year, especially as we bought an Acer again as the old one had been running for years and years to full satisfaction, even though that one also didn’t look that good anymore, as it began to fall apart physically. But even after the hinges and such were broken, it just ran, and we used it for many, many years to full satisfaction. Contrary to the one I am using now, that is currently using its third hard disk. As the first hard disk died after one and a half year or so, which is too soon to me for a hard disk to fail, as I have many hard disks that are four years old or more and are running fine. So no, no warranty after one and a half year. So I had to buy a new one, that gave up soon after it had been installed. And yes, that one was replaced, even though the cause of the hard disk problems appeared to be a problem with the cooling, as there was a lot of dust blocking the ventilation holes.

And the weird thing is that you are not allowed to open it, as then warranty will stop. But then you can’t clean it. And the technician indicated it was our fault that the hard disk broke, as we hadn’t cleaned the laptop…

Anyhow, I am complaining now I see, contrary to how I started this post. So yes, thank you, equipment and manufacturers and service people who make things work for a long time and who give proper service. And Acer, maybe you should review your quality and support policies. As where I bought a new Acer because the old one did so well, I won’t buy an Acer again, as I believe a laptop should last longer than two years or so and even after that period there should still be service.

And for your information, my router is or was a Netgear. And I guess I would buy a Netgear again, but I hope they didn’t change like Acer did, I hope they still deliver quailty, which they certainly did with the router I have now.

Customer service Globe Philippines

For quite some time I have been communicating with Globe about some web pages that are cut off somewhere in the middle when using our Tattoo@home connection. And with ‘quite some time’ I mean something like half a year or so, which I think is quite long for an outstanding support request for a company like Globe.

And I didn’t really want to write about it, but today I got another request through Twitter for:

  • Account owner’s name.
  • Account number.
  • Birth date.
  • Mother’s maiden name.
  • Complete billing address.

And those details I provided a long time ago on a similar request through e-mail, even though some things don’t really make sense to me as it is a company account, and I don’t see how my mother’s maiden name is related to that company and I also don’t know if they mean the birth date of our company or my own birth date. But also then, I don’t see what my birth date has to do with the company account that is experiencing the issue of cut off web pages.

So apparently Globe has problems with their customer support, as it seems the support staff can’t find the records of the issue I reported, even though I provided the different ticket numbers related to my concern.

Anyhow, I guess the whole thing has to do with the malware insertion they do, so I guess nobody wants to touch it, not even the account manager I know personally.

But yes, recently I am using anything, positive or negative experiences, to my own benefit. So Globe, be careful, as I think in the end you won’t make it with this kind of customer support.