I have been a Smart Bro subscriber for about 10 months now. However, I’m not one of the "noisy" subscribers. I’m actually quite contented with it, thank you very much — enough to even recruit a couple of other subscribers. It’s a lot more stable than my previous account with PLDT MyDSL, and it is a relief not to be put on hold for an hour before finally getting to talk with a live human being.
I do have complaints, however. No, it’s not bandwidth stability (although the bandwidth does leave much to be desired). It’s not even the fact that they:
- blocked popular P2P ports
- made a mess out of Skype file transfers
- won’t allow me to use my own SMTP
- or that they accidentally disconnected my account for 4 days
My complaints are on how customer service is being handled.
That damn "technical activity"
Every time the internet connection is down (and they actually know it), the customer support representative will rattle off these famous words:
"Ma’am, may technical activity po sa site nyo."
They will not give any further details. Nor will they, at the very least, give an estimated time of completion. They actually believe that "technical activity" is an oh-so-soothing excuse, to be taken with wide-eyed delight & acceptance.
I know some people in Smart, and they’re composed of a very intelligent lot, so I’ll keep the advice short:
Customers do need to know why & when; otherwise, it builds resentment & frustration. These are basics of stakeholder communications. The customer service department, among anyone else, should be aware of this.
"Technical activity? Akala ko kasi merong song-and-dance activity kaya di ako maka-connect. Salamat, ha?"
Much worse, however, is The Unknown Problem: When the rep will insist that there is nothing wrong with them, & all the problems in the planet has something to do with your computer.
Try going around this — try to convince your rep otherwise, and claim with conviction & vehemence:
- that you actually know how to release & renew your IP address,
- have tried connecting using 2 other laptops with no success,
- have a degree in Computer Science,
- a 7-year experience in the IT industry,
- and that you are Bill Gates in disguise.
Nothing — I repeat, nothing — will sway them.
You see, before they will further investigate what is wrong on their end, you have to go thru their "troubleshooting process."
Try going around this one more time. Rattle of the steps you probably already know by heart, and assure them you have already gone thru those steps on your own.
‘Di valid yun, dude. Apparently, it has to be done while the rep is on the phone. Para believable. Gets mo?
"Short lang po," they assured you.
But oh no, gracious no. It will not take a few moments of your time. The average troubleshooting process actually takes 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on how slow your rep spells "ipconfig," "ping," "release," and the rest of the commands in DOS history.
The trouble shooting process is their customized specialized high-tech mind-boggling brain-racking procedure, where the rep will make you do the following repeatedly:
- reboot your computer,
- release & renew your IP address,
- set your network properties,
- delete all your cookies,
- clear your browser’s history,
- refresh your desktop,
- and set your browser’s default homepage to www.yahoo.com.
I kid you not.
And finally, a miracle happens: A moment of silence, a stutter, maybe even some scratching of the head. The rep admits defeat.
They will then inform you that they will "elevate" your concern to the "higher technical group," who is supposed to call you back within 24 hours.
On the rare occasion that you are called back, hold your horses, go back to your seat, take a deep breath, and grab a San Mig Light: Because you will be asked to go thru this troubleshooting process. Again.
About the author
This author was very happy that she could use Smart Bro during the Milenyo storm . But it was too good to last. About an hour after the storm left the Metro Manila, when the rest of the ISPs on the finally went online, Smart Bro decided to go down.
The author has already undergone 2 troubleshooting processes ever since, and yet her internet connection is still down.
She still loves her Smart Bro account. But can they please make it frickin’ work already?