Almost filed under: the case for moving to my own private island where I can create a monopoly that actually works in every industry and enjoy unbridled efficiency for the rest of my days.
I had just gotten off the phone with my cell phone provider, Movistar. When I left my old job, I got an email letting me know my plan had been switched from company to personal, and Rodolfo and I happily began chatting away with our monthly minute restrictions in mind.Imagine my surprise upon receiving a bill for July 30-31 when I had expected that our billing cycle would just start on the 30 of every month. Imagine my unpleasantsurprise upon seeing that Rodolfo was charged for additional minutes because he went over his limit of 18 prorated minutes for those two days – a limit we never knew existed. Apparently if you switch plans mid-month, you get prorated minutes for that calendar month, which is fine, as long as you’re made aware of the situation.
I was minorly annoyed. Calling and having to talk to people to fix things does that to me. However, I assumed it would be a relatively quick call resulting in a promise to credit our next bill for the charges.
It was not. I explained the situation and was told that I could lodge a complaint so that “internal processes” would be reviewed. However, I’d still be on the hook for the bill. Movistar, don’t take it personally, but I don’t give a shit about your internal processes. Even if it’s only $3, and my time is worth more than that. I will die on this hill if I want to, ok?
My favorite part of the conversation was when I asked “I’m sorry, are you really saying that this is the company’s fault for not telling me your system but that there is no way I can get out of paying for this?” THEY SAID YES.
So obviously, I went to Twitter to share my jaw-hanging-open reaction to that response. And may or may not have accused Movistar of doing social media wrong since I didn’t see any replies from them to customers on their page and thought they’d never even notice me. Until they did, and they were nice, and they asked me to send them a DM so they could help. Success?
Well, to put it bluntly, yes. Success! I got a phone call in short order letting me know that I’d been issued a credit for the extra charge. Of course, this meant I had to pay my bill in person instead of online (again, all this over $3. What was I thinking?), but I even got lucky there with no line on the day I went to pay.
I share this story not out of some debt to Movistar, although I do believe in giving credit where it’s due. I just think it happens to highlight the dichotomy of the Chilean service industry these days. I think we can all agree that the old school way is, well, shit. Customer service in Chile? Ha, good joke.
Yet there is a small contingent of early adopters in Chile which contributes to making this a relatively well-wired society. And in wired societies, making one customer angry means a potential Facebook/Twitter/blog public relations disaster. Easier to just give the gringa her $3 and send her on her way.
So while I’m happy to commend Movistar’s Twitter team for their good service, mostly I’m interested in following what I hope becomes a trend. How lovely would it be to get help from companies in Chile – and everywhere, for that matter – without having to take a number and stand in line for two hours only to be told to go away and stop complaining?
As you may have gathered from my first sentence, I am a crazy dreamer with a vision of utopia where things work. And maybe, just maybe, I’m not so crazy after all.