• Wi-Tribe: A case study of how not to treat customers

    Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

    Moje Ramos-Aquino, Fpm

    Last Wednesday, my internet connection suddenly went kaput. I turned the Wi-Tribe equipment on and off several times but to no avail. Also, my high school classmate, Fey Teniente-Villaflor, was already knocking on my door, very eager for us to visit her farm in Bgy. Caballero, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. So I simply turned off the equipment and left.

    Yesterday, I arrived from Nueva Ecija and promptly turned on the internet to send this column. Nothing—the lights on the Wi-Tribe equipment just kept blinking. I originally wrote about the bustling Palayan City in Nueva Ecija, but I have to write this new article.

    I called Wi-Tribe for reconnection. The robotic voice told me to go online. Huh?!?!?!?! How could I go online when I don’t have internet connection?

    I dialed again and got connected to a real service representative, Zaralet Cruzat. I told him/her my issue. He/she (Sorry but the name and the voice do not tell me a definitive gender) asked for the usual (account number, name, address and email addy). Then asked me what I was calling for. So I told him/her.

    She/He told me that there was a service interruption due to regular maintenance and that the interruption really only started yesterday, not Wednesday. I asked, “Are you telling me I am lying?” He/she stammered for words and said, “Actually it was yesterday (Thursday)….” Huh?!?!?!?! I replied, “So I am lying? I told you I had no internet connection since last Wednesday and that is it!”

    Me: “So there is a service interruption, when will the connections be restored?”

    Wi-Tribe: “I don’t know. We have not received any advisory email from our technical people.”

    Me: “Why don’t you call them now and ask?”

    Wi-Tribe: “They usually send an email. That is how we’ve always communicated with them”

    Me: “Why not call, for goodness sake? You are a communication company and why do you only rely on email? Why can’t you call by phone?”

    Wi-Tribe: “That’s how we communicate with them. Right now we don’t have any email from them and so I can only give you that information.”

    Me: “What information? That you don’t know? ‘Don’t know’ is not information. And what do you mean they have not emailed you? Are you talking to each other inside your company?”

    Wi-Tribe: “That’s really the only information I could give you at this moment. I don’t know.”

    Me: “Maynilad, when they have a service interruption, planned or emergency, would advise immediately how long the interruption would take. Same with Meralco. Same with the airline. When there is a flight delay, the airline would advise you the new expected time of departure. Why can’t Wi-Tribe do the same? How difficult and different is your technology from other service organizations for you not to be able to ‘predict’ (their word) the resumption of your service?”

    “You know, your company does not care for you. Leave!!!!! If they care for you, they will give you enough information so that you would be able to handle a dissatisfied customer like me. Leave that company and find a company who will take care of your needs as a service giver. Now, since you don’t know anything about your company, please let me talk to your manager.”

    The boss, Rosette Ting, was on the line. BTW, the conversations herein are as far as I could remember. The actual exchange could be longer and differently worded, but the messages are the same.

    The exact same thread of conversation went on between myself and the boss. “I don’t know” seemed to be a stock answer. As in, “I don’t know, ma’am, we have not received any email from our technical people.”

    Wi-Tribe: “To be honest, I don’t know when the service will be restored.”

    Me: “That’s not honesty, that’s stupidity. Not knowing what the other parts of your organization is doing that affects your job is plain stupidity. Not knowing how to handle customer complaints is pure stupidity. I have a piece of advice for you—go find another company who will care for you so that you don’t have to deal with an irate customer again because you ‘don’t know.’”

    She got my number and told me she would advise me when their connections are restored. She called an hour after and she helped me get connected but to no avail. Embarrassed, she said she would call again.

    I am still waiting.

    Feedback to moje629@gmail.com


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    1. i think their customer service is out-sourced i.e. not really part of the company’s structure. Whenever i deal with customer service and can’t get a definitive answer, i always ask if they are part of the company’s organization or a call center company contracted by company im trying to reach. some of then are honest enough to admit that they were only contracted to handle calls and relay the concern to their principal via email

    2. Same o’ same o’. Nothing new. I’ll bet that it “when the US passes the legislation we can come up with a similar one that would benefit customers and not the providers.” the providers will twist the nterpretation of that legislation to mean that providers are even MORE entitled to screw the customers further. I already gave up. Globe was my final straw.

    3. Oh & i forgot to say no one wants to be questioned in this country, you are expected to just accept the answer without question. The word service means nothing here, it stands for a lot in the west & it will make or break a company. Bad service will guarantee no customers as they will use a service where they dio get treated right. Plus they can be held liable in many cases.

    4. Yes & your point is. I find this type of service the norm here in the philippines. Ill give you a senario thats a little different to this but it shows how useless everyone is in charge in this country in any sector. Go to any supermarket regularly & you will often find out of stock. Go to my country england & veruy very rarely will they ever be out of stock of anything. Why, well its very simple, they have a stock controller. This stock controller knows the trends of his/her stock & will re order before it runs out so that they dont run out. Here they wait until they run ou then re order. Its so very very simple as in being told about scheduled maintenance. Its the people running things, they are incompetent.

    5. Sad experience, but very true not only for Wi-Tribe but all telcos… They take their customers for granted… Try getting a response from their customer service… Sad but the government does not protect us from these telcos… There is a new trend in the US that telcos will be made to differentiate broadband wired and wireless services… Because technically broadband is a very loose term… I hope when the US passes the legislation we can come up with a similar one that would benefit customers and not the providers..

      • I just returned from the Phil for 2 months stays, i fought the Signal Cable co. for the bad service, i argue with with the LBC for the money that was sent to me for delivering two days late, i fought the Western Union for servicing someone that didn’t get in line and other worst experiences
        but i’m ready to go back.