This will be a seemingly interminable, detailed post discussing the virtues of customer service (actually a lack of) amongst two of Jamaica’s largest companies. Specifically, Internet and cable providers. I think the incremental narrative is necessary to demonstrate how ridiculous it can be, and how much you can feel as though you have fallen down Alice’s rabbit hole.
So here it goes. As I finished writing this, I was on hold with Flow for 30 minutes. That is 30 minutes of wasted credit and 30 minutes of bad 80s synthethizer music in my ear. That is roughly $200 of wasted credit. “Why don’t you hang up and pay another way?” my husband asks me. Good question. The bill is in my landlord’s name so we cannot pay online. Going to the storefront usually involves non-functioning self-pay kiosks, or a long wait with a squirmy baby in my arms. Sometimes I pay at a Paymaster, which is marginally better in terms of the wait, but an extra fee is applied. So I waited on hold and eventually gave up.
Flow recently upgraded the payment system to include an option for automated pay (a live person is not needed), but mysteriously my account number refers to someone whose bill is up-to-date as of Dec. 11 of who-knows-what year. So I am left to wait on hold. I am usually cut off at least once or it is busy and then when I am on hold, it is usually at least a 10-minute wait. I do have to say, however, that the agents are efficient and polite, when I can actually locate one.
Flow charges have recently gone up, with no explanation, so we decided to succumb to Digicel’s aggressive Play campaign. Agents visited our house and left a friendly reminder on our doorknob to call if we wanted to sign up. And then a lovely woman visited our complex and persuaded us to sign up. It was cheaper, offered a landline and more television channels (although we rarely watch TV), so we decided to give it a try.
I paid the $3,000 deposit and the agent promised someone would call the next day to schedule a time to install it. No call the next day. I called her the following day and she said she would look into it and call me back. No call. I called her the next day and she said there was some kind of error and she would call me back. No call. I called her the next day and said I would like my deposit back. She repeated that there was some kind of error with our account (how could there be an error? I checked our receipt and all the information is correct and we have no history with Digicel). She then promised again that someone would be calling over the weekend and that they would have to “do something for me” to make up for the inconvenience. Still no call.
I decided at this point of ridiculousness to try social media. Whoever runs the Twitter account answered almost immediately, asking for my contact details, which I provided. They said someone would be calling me to arrange a refund, and that I could pick it up. Of course, no call has come in.
I am out $3,000 and have decided to try another avenue, through friends who work through Digicel.
There is no shortage of complaints about customer service from these two companies. And this is my experience. Unfortunately, Internet is essential for both my and my husband’s work, so we are forced to choose between bad and worse. Let’s hope I have a happy update at some point in the near future.