I am fiercely loyal. I guess I have talked about my loyalty to a fault a million and one times already.
Ok. I started with Smart. When I got my first cellphone, I signed up under Smart. For no apparent reason, but perhaps because I was also kinda loyal to PLDT! Until now, I’m still a Smart subscriber.
So when I hooked up here, SmartBro was my first choice, mainly because I never had problems in application and in its installation process when I was in Cebu. Well, it was for my nephew and I transacted over the phone and my nephew just paid up and met the tech guys. An almost similar case transpired here when we got our connection. I have an unmistakable commanding voice over the phone and over e-mails/etc so every now and then, I use THAT tone to get what I want. Hehe. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m a very generous tipper and I like to pay my bills on time now (well, my mom does the actual paying because I hand over the moolah to her because I’m not good with schedules), but when I don’t get what I pay for and it gets really noticeable, I rant.
I have no mercy for people on the other end of the lines. Why? I have worked in the customer service department in the past and I made it a point never to be inept and unhelpful. If I didn’t know sh*t about what the client is ranting about, I would sincerely apologize and tell the client that I’ll do my best to look into it and get back to her/him with results, and I always did!
Imagine my wrath when I, in my every-now-and-then cool head, called *1888 to get in touch with the tech support of SmartBro, expecting, yep you guessed it, TECH SUPPORT! You see, a few weeks ago, I got myself a Bayantel DSL connection because my SmartBro was kicking my shin with its friggin’ intermittent internet connection woes. Bad for biz. And so because getting a Bayantel line is the most hassle-free and least inconvenient (their sales officer came by to give me the app forms and personally followed-up the processing of my app), I signed up for their service. I was planning to use SmartBro as my backup internet connection so that I will have zero connectivity ever. Long story short, Bayantel replaced my SmartBro’s place in my router’s wan port because I don’t have a dual-wan router, and SmartBro’s wan cable lies lifeless somewhere near my router. You see, I have read somewhere that I can use both internet connections without having to buy a dual-wan router. Not only is that kind of router expensive, it is also a tad too hard to get. Nil in Ozamiz! Try asking around for it and more often than not, you’ll get a blank stare. I know. I did! So I called the SmartBro’s tech support hotline to ask for their two centavos’ worth on what I should do.
Tadaaaa. After a million and one minutes, the guy on the other end–Riel?–told me that he’ll ask around, and put me on hold.
After another one million and one minutes, he came back with solution. In a voice that told me he was so pleased with himself, he told me that it could work! I can just buy a “routable switch” where I can plug both the Bayantel and SmartBro jacks and voila, I’ll be using both connections! I said, hold on, fella, tell me how that works, again! And he talked about input and output, etc. Look, I never gave any hint that I knew 1/100th or so about networking so that he won’t talk gibberish with me but he did! And the worst part there is that, he obviously didn’t understand what he was talking about either! To make things worse, he added, “and Ma’am, the routable switch is somewhere around 30,000 pesos or so.” And I said, oh, I don’t think that’s so great at all. I didn’t even want to take the dual-wan router route right away because I wanted to explore cheaper alternatives so why give me that?
And then he came up with the lamest of all lame lines. He said–“Maam, we don’t allow routers in SmartBro. That’s why we don’t have support for it because we don’t allow routers. ”
I took a deep breath and said between teeth that were forced into a smile, “Let’s say I have ONE computer. And I have TWO internet connections now–Bayantel and SmartBro, can you give me a suggestion on how I can use the two connections at the same time?”
“Ma’am, you can unplug Bayantel then plug SmartBro, then if you want to use the other one, you unplug it and plug the other one!”
Heaven help me! What have I done wrong today?!
So I said, “Darling, that means I can’t use them simultaneously!”
And he had the balls to say, “Yes, Ma’am!” As if he was so glad that I finally got him!
So I asked, “May I speak with your supervisor?”
“He’s on his lunchbreak, ma’am”
“You mean no one is taking charge of the agents on the floor right now?”
“Oh, we have an OIC, ma’am!”
“Well, then, let me talk to him!”
After two million years, I was put through the OIC. Name’s Joseph. He sounded like another moron but at least he had the decency to sound apologetic and helpful. And so I patiently recapped everything that happened. And so he told me that he personally feels one ISP should just be disconnected. He apologized because he didn’t know how to help me. THAT I could take.
Look, I understand how hard working as a call center agent is. I know working when you should be sleeping can do weird things to one’s brain cells but because you took on that job, it is your duty to make things work the way they should. And there’s nothing I hate more than awful customer service from huge companies who can afford to train and hire efficient reps. I’m pissed off because I know I throwing my usual unreasonable fit. I was being reasonable. I had a DSL connection-related question and I asked the appropriate department for help. And what did I get? An a** of an answer from an a**hole of an agent! If he told me that he couldn’t help me, and apologized properly, I wouldn’t have minded. But no! He sounded arrogant and defensive all throughout. And the OIC? Well, he served his purpose. I just vented out on him and that was it. I knew no one in there could help me anymore so what’s the point of escalating the issue.
I have already decided to buy a dual-wan router so I could use SmartBro as a backup connection. But now I have decided to just cut the SmartBro connection and get a PLDT line as backup. At least, it’ll still be PLDT.
I can never remember a good experience with Smart’s customer care hotline. Ever. Be it for mobile phone services or internet connection. I wonder if the powers that be know about it. I don’t have plans of switching SIMs because of this but I do plan to really just let go of my SmartBro. I can never tolerate bad customer service–especially from such a huge company.