Saturday, July 23, 2011

Customer Disservice

Although businesses in the Philippines are often inefficient and difficult to deal with, one of the last places I expected to find such a problem was in trying to contact a well known local financial institution,   Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation) (RCBC) Savings Bank.

Beginning several days ago, my wife Lydia and I could not get through by phone to the  branch where she conducts checking transactions. When calling, we would reach either a busy signal or no ring.   Finally, considering  that  that perhaps the phone number had been changed (which seems to happen frequently in Metro-Manila),  I attempted to to call the corporate office. But there's such no phone listing in the PLDT yellow pages, and ditto on the  RCBC Savings Bank website. On the latter there is  just a webmail contact form, which I submitted—and got an "invalid page" response.

I then decided to call RCBC headquarters. This is a separate operation from RCBC Savings Bank, but I figured that they must at least be affiliated. I was right; the operator furnished a couple number's for Lydia's branch and for the Savings Bank Office head office, all of which were turned out to be either disconnected, busy, no answer, or no ring.  After several tries on the latter, we finally got through to the branch, only to get confusing information regarding one of Lydia's inquiries.

I normally don't utilize this site to rant against a particular company.  But one, especially a bank,   that makes it extremely difficult to telephone them deserves to be taken to the proverbial woodshed.  If I find serious problems in dealing with other businesses, I will post that information as well.  Whether a foreigner or local, no consumer needs the aggravation of having to transact with companies that don't know how to serve the public that's paying  to keep them in business.  However, in order not to be completely negative I will on the other hand  also give shout-outs to firms that have gone out of their way to furnish exceptionally good service..

I would also like to hear from readers who have likewise encountered either poor or excellent service from businesses, especially on a consistent basis and who would like to share their stories.

Addeneum:. Coincidentally, as I was completing this entry,  one of Lydia's payees just came by to inform her that he had difficulty cashing her check because according to RCBC, her signature looked irregular. The  payee happened to be a banker himself and indicated that RCBC was remiss in not contacting Lydia to come in to the branch and update her signature card.

I rest my case.


Kano said...

Hi Rick,

I understand your frustration. We do not phone businesses too often, but we did when we connected our phone/Internet connection (PLDT), TV Cable (My Destiny), and MERALCO. They seem to have given us always good service, as we may have just been lucky. So far so good.

If we have a problem, we go to the mall or establishment in person, as this is still very much preferred in the Phils.

As far as proving that you are who you are in front of a clerk or bank people, we had our very share of frustration, too.

We had a case one time where we could almost not get a small amount of money from our almost lost bank account, that was left untouched for a few years. When we opened this account, it was at a bank that later was bought by another bank, and all the old signature cards were re-copied by an incoder to the new bank.

It just so happened that my wife's middle initial is "L" and on the computer system, it showed "I". Because of this middle initial, we could not get our money out. They asked us to fax over to them my wife's "Marriage Certificate" and "Birth Certificate". Can you imagine giving these documents to anyone you don't know. Haven't heard in Canada (probably also in the US), that banks asked these at these situation. For pete sake, for a "middle initial" where probably the incoder made a mistake in copying, as L and I look the same. He or she probably did not have glasses on while copying.


Secular Guy said...


Thanks for your comment. I think part of the problem is that there's so much fraud in the Philippines that banks here try to combat it imposing more i.d. verification requirements which just become additional red tape. In turn that encourages people to cut through it by whatever means necessary. It's a never ending escalation as both sides try to outsmart the other.

Ultimately it comes down to knowing someone on the inside of whatever institution one is dealing with

Kano said...

Hi Rick,

Yes, knowing someone important at the bank is power to you.

At this bank we were dealing with, we knew someone very nice who is the general manager at the old bank when we were still used to live in Canada, but now, at the new bank, many other middle managers are in place and even as the old bank's general manager is still around, she now has to listen to the manager of this department we had problems with.

It was again a surprise for us that day. We talked to the general manager that day, too, (whom we knew for about 5 year) while we were there at the bank, but the people of the new bank did not know us at all, they were even suspicious about our transaction.

Here at the branch in Las Pinas, it's party everytime when I come in that bank :). They always have smiling faces when I arrive. Same name of the bank (BDO), but different location.

So, it's important here in the Phils. to build up trust and some friends, so they will do something for you a lot more easier. That is the lesson I have learned.

Welcome to the realities of the Philippines.


Secular Guy said...

And having the right contact is a reality that can't be overemphasized.