We applied for a new connection with Maynilad last January 5, 2015. I made a personal follow-up inquiry last January 26 in their off-the-road office in Arroceros St., Manila. I waited for an hour before my number was called. I was told that they haven’t yet inspected our place because the inspector got sick and was absent for two weeks.
The customer service clerk gave me the name and the phone number of the inspector and told me to call him to ask when he will do the inspection. Huh?!?!?!?! Why should I be the one to call him? Shouldn’t Maynilad itself ensure that an inspection is done after a reasonable time after application? This is new business for them, an unsolicited opportunity to earn more. I was told when we applied that the inspection will be done in 5-6 days. Again they said that the inspector was sick and so I must call when he could go to work and do the inspection. HUH?!?!?!?!?! What management system is this? This is not in any book or practice of management for a customer to direct the work of an employee of a company.
I did not get the name and number of the inspector and I went to the supervisor who tried to dilly-dally with another customer. They were simply repeating their conversation again and again while he threw side glances at me while I stood there uneasily by his table. Finally, he talked to me. Maybe, I was talking empathically and he suddenly said, “I don’t relish talking with an annoyed customer at all.” Huh?!?!?!?! I told him about my predicament and he simply said, “The inspector got sick, what can we do? You call him and ask him when he could inspect your premises.”
That’s not my job. I am not the boss of this inspector. I am a customer applying for water connection. He also said that they do not know when the inspection will take place because they are not actually from Maynilad. They were just contractors doing customer service work for Maynilad. Huh?!?!?!?!?!
Finally, he stood up and said, he will check with Maynilad. He came back with a Maynilad guy who told me the same story about the inspector being sick and that they only have one inspector assigned to one specific area. So I have to wait until the inspector report for work and there is even no assurance that will be done soon because inspection jobs have piled up. Huh?!?!?!?!?!
I asked what the whole process from application to connection entails. The supervisor said for me to just wait until after the inspection is done. He said to take one step at a time. So we are at their mercy and command. Whenever they please, they do the steps; otherwise, you are not supposed to show any irritation because the supervisor does not like that. Huh?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Finally, last Tuesday, the inspector showed up in my house. He was a very nice and thorough young man and was apologetic for not inspecting soon enough since he got sick and he showed me a bunch of inspection job orders he needs to attend to.
Ah, management functions—planning, organizing, leading and controlling. Where did Maynilad fail, if I may, in this instance? In all aspects. There is no contingency plan. What if one inspector is absent, nothing moves in that area of operation? How about a roving inspector or a pool of inspector with no fixed assigned area but, maybe, a certain number of inspection assignments per day?
There is no proper organization/assignment? Is this process of one inspector assigned to one specific area the best way to organize? What if an inspector gets sick for the longest time or if an inspector goes on vacation leave, nothing moves in that area? Who could substitute for an absent inspector? What is the manager doing in this case?
There is no leader here. The inspector is absent, how will the boss manage the situation?
How does he lead his team? Should the customer be the one to call the inspector to ask him to do his job? What if the boss is not doing his job of directing the work process and make sure that all grounds are covered and that all customers are served? Shouldn’t he be accountable for this since the inspector was really sick, in this case?
There is no control here. The customer-contact personnel are not Maynilad employees, but employees of an outsourced company. How do you expect them to serve the customer well? I’ve gone there several times (somehow, I’ve always failed to get my billing statement and failed to pay and so I have to get a reconnection) and always, always, when you complain, they tell you to tell that to the marines, I mean, to Maynilad because they are not Maynilad, they are simply doing a job for Maynilad. Huh?!?!?!?!?!
Contrast that with Meralco. The other day I paid for my bill and since the line was very looooooooong, I got to chat with the others in the line. Everybody was happy to say that their bills went down. Except mine. So I went to their customer service personnel. I was told that only the acceptance of bill payments is outsourced. All customer service personnel are directly employed by Meralco. So I noticed the big difference between the Meralco and Maynilad on how they handle customer concerns. Maynilad has a lot to learn from how Meralco manages its customer service processes.
The bigger problem here is that we are stuck! The choice is between a service-disabled Maynilad or deep well. BTW, Maynilad is making a lot of profits.
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