Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 20 April 2013


On Dec. 29, 2012, my column, which the editors titled “A (common?) horror story,” described the travails of my daughter Tami as she tried to replace her lost Globe phone, and my travails as I tried to help her. The Reader may recall that I began the column by expressing hope that I would be narrating a horror story with a happy ending—an all’s-well-that-ends-well type.  But it did not come to pass, as I lamented, because Globe had once again reneged on its promise that Tami would have her phone by Dec. 27 at 2 p.m.  (I wrote and sent the column on the afternoon of Dec. 28).

Here the sequel starts:  Globe did deliver the phone—unfortunately too late for me to put in the happy ending, as I had already submitted the column, and the Globe billing records will show that Tami started using her phone on the morning of Dec. 29.

What is more, one Leandro Legaspi, who is with Globe’s Platinum Relationship Management and CXP-Customer Contact Management, called her up on the morning of the 29th, asking her to relate her experience in writing for him.  This she immediately did, as she had already written out the same narrative for me.

And wonder of all wonders, Mr. Legaspi e-mailed her back less than an hour afterward, a) thanking her for her time, b) telling her that her written narration would reach the heads of the departments that she “had interacted with,”  c) telling her that he would approve a three-month waiver of her monthly service fee, and d) asking her to accept his sincerest apologies for the experience she went through, plus telling her to let him know if he could help her with anything else.  Action agad, right?

I don’t know whether Legaspi’s promptness was in some way influenced by the effects of my SOS to Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala (Jaza) on the 26th; or by some intervention from Tami’s “Tito” Del Lazaro, of Globe, to whom she e-mailed her story; or whether it was  SOP toward a distraught, traumatized customer by the customer relations department; or whether Legaspi really has a great touch. Probably some combination of all four.

But I sincerely hope it is either the third or the fourth possibility.  Certainly, Jaza’s reply to my SOS, as reported in my column, with the “deepest apologies and an intention to call the attention of Globe president Ernest Cu to minimize if not eliminate these kinds of problems,” had the same comforting touch.

All’s well that ends well?  Unfortunately not.  Because on Feb. 3, 2013, or more than two months after I thought the problem had been resolved, this newspaper published a letter from the head of Globe’s Corporate Communications, one Yoly Crisanto, “writing in response” to the Dec. 29 column.  For some reason, my husband, who reads the paper from cover to cover, did not see it.  Neither did I, or anyone else in my family, until just two days ago, when Tami, by sheer accident, stumbled on it when she Googled her name.

If Ms Crisanto had left her letter at 1) acknowledging Tami’s and my unfortunate experience with Globe, 2) acknowledging that we deserve Globe’s apology (note: Jaza had already apologized, and so had Legaspi, two months earlier, for heaven’s sake), and 3) noting Globe’s efforts at transforming itself from a telco utility to a customer-centric organization (although she does not specify exactly what those efforts are), then I would have raised no demur.

But no. The acknowledgments of the unfortunate experience and deserving of an apology were accompanied by assertions—supposedly the result of a “thorough investigation”—that implied that Tami, and maybe even her father, were at fault.  And this at the very beginning of the Crisanto response. Obviously, her investigation did not include the reading of Tami’s account sent to Legaspi, or even a “thorough” reading of my column.

She says: “We note that the case involved multiple transactions, including a transfer of ownership from father to daughter (Tami) and the suspension of the account due to outstanding balances.”

First, I challenge Ms Crisanto to detail the “multiple” transactions, which can only be the calls and visits Tami had in following up the replacement for her lost phone.  That she had to make so many should not be her fault, but Globe’s.

Second, it was a Globe representative who suggested that Tami take out her own account, so that they would not have to be consulting her father.

Third, I challenge Ms Crisanto to detail the “outstanding balances” that led to the “suspension of the account.” What suspension?  Because as far as Tami’s father’s account is concerned, a check with Globe by his secretary showed none (read Dec. 29 column).  As far as Tami’s account was concerned, she was in fact being credited with P3,000 overpayment.

Ms Crisanto is inaccurate when she says that prior to my Dec. 29 column, Tami was already using her phone.  It was delivered on the 28th, and Globe records that she started using it on the morning of the 29th.  How prior is that?

A final point in this sequel:  I asked Readers, in the Dec. 29 column, to share any similar experiences they had, so as to give me a clue as to how common or uncommon the horror story is. Their response was overwhelming. I ask Ms Crisanto, and other Globe officials, to go to the Inquirer website, so they can read the comments, and see the numbers referring to “tweets,” “shares” and “recommend.”