travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

The Good (PLDT Technician), The Bad (Bad Service) and The Ugly (Are Big Companies Handling Customers’ Data with Sensitivity and Security?)

August 7, 2013

Big question I have to ask. Listen to/read my story – when I found out last Friday that I will have a long weekend (we were on Holiday August 5 and 6), I was excited to finally get extra days to finish my pending blogs, personalized albums, and other things I needed to do online.

Something is not right here..

SUNDAY  (DSL went dead!)

As usual, my weekend started on Sunday morning (as I just usually sleep the whole day Saturday after coming from work – I work night shift). Everything was running smoothly, until my DSL went dead. The status bar said that there is no internet connection, I checked my modem and I can see the DSL, internet and WLAN lights were on.

I did the usual troubleshooting (turned off and on the device, restarted, refreshed). This time, the power light just turned on and the ethernet lights (there are 4 of them), just started blinking like Christmas lights. I smelled troubled, I immediately called the PLDT Help Line to report the issue.

At the onset of the call, I was already frustrated. PLDT DSL has never let me down – rain or shine, the connection is always reliable. I was initially routed to the PLDT Landline help until I was transferred to the PLDT DSL helpdesk (I don’t know if I missed the correct phone option). The usual verification was done, and the agent asked me to turned off the device (modem) for 5 seconds, and then turned it on again. Then she asked me to open my browser and to tell her what error message I am getting.

So I told her, I do not even have DSL so how can I connect to wifi or internet? For the purposes of the call and troubleshooting, I told her the browser message – page cannot be displayed. 

So she asked me to keep the device on for remote testing. I asked if someone should contact me, and she said yes. So while I burned bytes connecting via Data Connection, I called the helpdesk again to ask for the status. The agent who got the call told me the remote testing is done and they should endorse it to the technician. Ok, wow, so no one called me that remote testing was done and I could turn off the device. Meralco would love me!

Click Read More to know how things went.. 

MONDAY (my back-up plan.. a failure)

I was hopeful that by Monday, someone from PLDT technical team will come over to check the connection. I called again and I was told the same thing. I even requested assistance from this contact I met in one of the PLDT events, and he gladly helped in escalating the issue.

I was being impatient so I dragged my mom to SM and we bought this Globe Broadband stick so I have a back-up connection in cases like this. I was surprised at how slow Globe Broadband is! It is like connecting through dial-up! A co-blogger in Twitter suggested that I should have gotten a Smart Bro. The only consolation is that this Globe Broadband stick comes with Enjoy Philippines card (with freebies and discounts).

You see even Enjoy Philippines is happy about it! 
I was so ecstatic that I even played with my photo app. LOL

TUESDAY (resolving my own issue)

Tuesday, my mom and I have decided to go to PLDT Center. Before leaving home, I tried connecting again and observed the modem. The DSL light started to stabilize and so was the Internet light. I tried connecting via LAN and I was able connect, but it went dead again after a few minutes. I got this feeling that my modem needs replacement.

So off to the PLDT Center, I was greeted by the receptionist. She asked me what my concern and she asked me to sign a log sheet (name, phone number, issue..) I left the address blank but she asked me to fill it out as well. I was thinking that would expedite the process so I complied anyway.

When I finally got my number called and I was served with rather an old woman who gave me a feeling that she hates her job, she just asked me the same questions and entered info in her computer. She told me she would just follow up the case.

Follow up?! I have already talked to 5 different people (including the agent who sent me an email to advise me about the current status of the case – in which I have replied a minute I received her note, and she obviously didn’t reply back. What is their turn around time for responding to emails? I still haven’t received a response).

I told her I brought the modem because I was hoping someone can check if it is working or it needs replacement – as I am not certain if the issue is because of the connection or the device.

So she sent the modem inside and this guy (which I was thinking is on OJT) assured me that the device is working. I asked, how do you know it is working? He said, the lights are blinking. I know right. I mean, it could be – you can turn it on, BUT it can no longer translate the data – like, you can turn on the TV but it doesn’t produce picture or sound.

Apparently, they do not have any port in the PLDT Center with DSL connection to check if your modem is working or not. So I took the risk, and I said I would just buy a new modem. The woman who attended me told me I could no longer give it back after I purchase it and once determined that the issue is not the device. I said ok, I need my connection and I need resolution today.

So I was ready to make payments and the woman offered to pay it for me. My mom also reminded me that we haven’t received the billing for this month, in which the lady offered to re-print the billing.

When she handed me the paper – I WAS MORTIFIED! I looked at the other side of the paper, in which I can see a log sheet of all the customers who went to the center with their names, phone numbers and addresses!

The woman told me to disregard it and crosses it out, and refer to the other side of the paper for my billing. Seriously?!

I am all for recycling and going green. But I am unpleasantly surprised at how this big company handles customers data. If I did something like this in the office – even one single data misused or sent to the wrong recipient, I could lose my job even before I finished a Root Cause Analysis.

It is evident that this woman is unaware of how sensitive the data is in the paper that she has handed me. Is this how companies in the Philippines handle the data of their customers? There should be a law that protects the consumer’s data privacy and security. 

Anyway, so I went home still disappointed and mortified about the whole encounter. I bought a new PLDT DSL which enables me to connect. Ha! I resolved my own issue.

When I was looking at the billing and the data exposure, I remember I signed the same log sheet earlier – and I thought, someone will receive an open invite to our house and I should be expecting prank calls soon!

WEDNESDAY (case closed, BUT..)

As an update on the PLDT issue.. well, my blogging was disrupted when Mr. Technician came. I told him about the issue and surprisingly, my old device didn’t act up. He just changed the splitter and it was able to connect. Magic, probably? I did the usual troubleshooting and connected to different lines at home but was unsuccessful. Anyway, thank you Mr. Technician for looking into it, for suggesting the best way to resolve the issue and for teaching me how to change my wifi password. I was frustrated when you initially called, but I appreciate your professionalism. You have my respect. I understand that there is not enough manpower to assist, but I feel your dedication to serve. Thank you.

So..  the urgent processing for technical issue would take 3 days (I should expect this, because I remember when I previously raised an issue which I have resolved, it took the PLDT team 2 weeks to get back to me).

Sorry I had to rant. I hate negativities in my blog. This post is not to put any company on spotlight but I hope this would be a lesson to those who are in customer service industry to put your heart in what you are doing.

I also wish that companies will also orient their employees on how to handle customers’ data and personal information with sensitivity. Identity theft may not be the biggest crime in the Philippines, but theft is. 

What are your thoughts on this?
Thoughts on Data Privacy?
Am I over-reacting?

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