Aug 21, 2008

[Customer Service] Why I Like BPI

The web is littered with more than its fair share of customer service stories so I figure it's about time to throw in a more positive experience to balance things out.

For those who have never bothered to read any of my profiles, I happen to work in a call center and thus am pretty close to the customer service industry. Heck, I train it for a living. Given the nature of my job, it seems only natural that I've come to expect a certain quality of service from the various representatives and contact center representatives that I speak to and deal with given I know how most policies go and what I'm entitled to. I'm generally a nice customer to have on the line too since I always try to remain calm and sometimes try to coach agents with significant, well, opportunities on the phone.

Bank of the Philippine IslandsImage via Wikipedia With the good service I had been getting from the likes of the customer service agents of Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), my bank, I've yet to have significant issues that couldn't be resolved, apart from those times I had to deal with PLDT when trying to get my phone fixed so it's not often that I have to play the bad guy.

That is, until last night.

I was routinely reviewing my credit card transactions via BPI Express Online when I noticed that the charge for our Shakey's Pizza delivery from the other day finally posted to my account. It had been my first time to try paying for food delivery via credit card so naturally I wanted to make sure things went went. Of course nothing could have prepared me for seeing that the related charge was for about P35,000 instead of the measly P770 we had actually authorized that day.

As much as I could feel my anger and outrage boiling up and out of me, I did my best to remain calm and address the situation logically. Given my knowledge of the customer service industry, especially within the financial side of the world, I knew that I first had to verify the charge with the merchant to ensure things were processed correctly. I quickly dialed their delivery hotline (77777)and relayed my story to a quickly flustered representative. This resulted in a short investigation, a promised callback and initial findings reporting that no such amount had been charged on that day and they would continue to double check. Okay, the merchant was no longer on my list.

So I called up the BPI hotline (89-100) and waited for a fair amount of time before I got an agent on the line - queue time is always a bit longer at night. When I finally got a hold of a representative, all my patience and calm resolve were beginning to thin away and I felt like I was on the brink of getting irrational on the phone for the first time in my life because of what had been going on. You have to factor in the fact that I had just reorganized my finances so that more of my utilities would be automatically debited from my credit card and to have it well beyond the limits of being "maxed out" was just ridiculous.

Thankfully the agent I spoke to was calm, polite and very pleasant on the phone. She did all the right things in terms of pleasantries and empathy statements while still making sure to remain quick and efficient in figuring out what had happened. I only had to give my information once and the details of the charge in question and quickly enough she immediately explained what had happened. According to Chase, the agent, it seems that for two days or so pretty much all credit card transactions processed on card readers managed by Banco de Oro (BDO) invoiced all charges in that period in US Dollars. Hence my P770 Shakey's order became a P35,000 nightmare.

She quickly added that the problem had been identified and that a fix was in place. The next batch update of the system was scheduled for 04:00am and would take about 2-3 hours and I'd be free to check if my balance had been corrected by then. Before I could even ask about using my card, she continued on to tell me that if I needed to use my card before the problem was resolved, I only had to have the merchant call 88-100 to secure authorization from BPI directly and they'd help facilitate things.

All my anger was pretty much gone by this point and the cool, logical way the agent explained everything in a highly confident manner was exactly what I needed in order to feel assured that things were being taken care of and that there was no need to get overly excited or anything like that. I started out pretty upset, at least in terms of how I usually am on the phone, and I ended up quite satisfied and once again happy that I had chosen to bank with BPI.

When I got home after shift this morning, I went back online to check on my account and there it was - the correct balance reflected in my account once more. Things were as they should be and I even manged to order The Bean (Deluxe) from the ShopTV folks as I had initially planned.

I don't know if you've had the same quality of service in your dealing with them, but this one instance all the more proved to me that BPI is a great bank to do business with. I can see why my mom always put a lot of faith in them and clearly it wasn't a mistake for me to do the same. If you are still in the process of considering which bank to partner with if you're not quite satisfied with the service that you're getting now, consider this the Geeky Guide's strong recommendation to work with BPI if ever you have business or even personal finances to manage here in the Philippines.

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