My two-year old Nokia E65 began showing signs of old age, so I decided to take it to the Nokia Professional Care Center in Tomas Morato, QC, for some much-needed Phone TLC.
Over the years, my family and I have partonized this Care Center as it was nearest to our place and was definitely away from the madding mall crowd.
I went on a weekday, after work. There were about five people ahead of me. I was given a number and asked to register my contact information and specific phone concerns to a computer. "Wow, high-tech," I thought.
When my number was called, I went to one of the booths to talk to a customer service person. I assumed that she had all my phone complaints down pat, after all, I typed them all down and the computer screen was right in front of her. She asked me what I needed, and I assumed this was just SOP.
I told her that I needed to change my cellphone's cover. She inspected the phone and told me that it also had a "rough slide". She was not smiling, and I could sense that she wanted to get the session over and done with so she could proceed to the next customer. I had other questions about my office-issued Nokia phone. She abruptly said, "That part is out of stock, ma'am." I asked when it would be available. She shrugged and gave me a look that to me meant, "I don't know and I don't care." I told myself it was almost time for the shop to close and she was probably tired.
She made bullet-point notes on my Job Order form based on our conversation. I asked her to call me first to give me the quotation for any repairs needed. I also asked when my phone would be ready. She said to ask for the status the next day. I inquired if they had a service phone and she again stared at me as if I asked something out of the ordinary. She said the repair could take weeks. And again, the look that told me, "Live with it."
I tried calling the next day but both lines were busy. And the next. And the next. I waited for any message from them, but nothing came. Finally, after four days, I was able to get through. I gave the one who answered the phone my Job Order No., thinking that she would be able to answer my inquiries based on their high-tech computerized system.
I was made to wait for two, maybe three minutes, and I was tempted to put down the phone and get back to work. The girl finally returned to the line and informed me about the price quotation. I asked her if that covered the part I wanted replaced only, or if it included the repair for the "rough slide".
"Wait lang po, Ma'am, I will ask." More minutes passed. Upon her return, she said the price quoted covered everything, BUT she had to inform me that the parts they needed for the "rough slide" were not available. I asked when they would be available. I was already irritated. She was not sure how to respond and had to ask someone else for every question I had. What was the purpose of the computerized client registration and Job Order system again? I asked her to place the order for the parts immediately. I doubt now if she did.
I also specifically asked if I could have the phone back the next day, as it had my complete phonebook, and if they could just replace the function keys, which was the subject of my original complaint. I was not complaining about the "rough slide", really. She said I could pull out the phone and I could try calling other branches if they had the parts I needed.
When I got there to retrieve my phone a week later, as the shop was really out of the way, I was given a number and asked to register. I said, "I've already registered. Can't you just pull out my file?"
I asked that because in our office, we refrain from asking clients questions repeatedly, as all their information was already in our Client File, viewable by a few clicks of our computer mouse. This avoids wasting our clients' precious time.
I mean, come on, Nokia, people pay thousands of pesos for your phones. The least you could provide us is TRUE PROFESSIONAL CARE. Tell me what's so professional about this. Read below what else went on. I know I have friends in Nokia. Maybe the fault lies in this particular Care Center. But right now, where I am, it reflects on the brand.
I reluctantly re-registered on their (now low-tech) computer and handed my job Order to the guy who went inside, presumably to locate my phone. A customer service rep saw me lingering and asked what I needed. I said a guy already took my form and I was claiming my phone.
Without asking for my name, customer number, or Job order no., this girl (the one I spoke with last time, just my luck), asked me to sit down. She went inside for about five minutes, and returned with a phone and some forms. She was typing away when I noticed that the phone she had in her hand was NOT my phone. I told her so.
She asked, as if this happened all the time, "Ma'am, what is your name?" I tried to control my voice, as I felt my blood rising upon hearing this. I gave my name and asked her to get my phone.
She returned with the phone, which was in the same state as when I had left it two weeks ago. I asked her why they had not replaced the function keys. She gave me a bewildered look. I said, "I phoned and the girl who answered told me that you could replace it." It turned out, after verifying with her colleagues, that the girl who answered the phone did not bother to check that the only spare part available was already assigned to another customer.
The girl on the customer service desk returned, without smiling, without apologies, and informed me that I had to wait for the replacement part to be ordered. I wanted to ask, "From where? Finland?" but stopped myself. I bet they did not know when the part would be available either.
Instead I asked to have my phone back, told her that I was extremely dissatisfied with their service, that they had to get their act together, that they wasted my time, and that I was NEVER coming back to their service center.
As I was seething during the drive home, I wondered if they deliberately made cellphone repair inconvenient to force clients to buy a new phone. Well in my case they only succeeded in making me lose interest in their products. I was in the business of customer service for the past two years, and with the way the staff of Nokia Professional Care Center handled themselves during my past two visits, I doubted if they were professional, or if they even cared.
After this experience, it just became clearer: that after using that brand for more than a decade, I have had enough. My next phone will no longer be a Nokia.