Why is it that the little things are so hard? Why do I really dislike credit departments? Do you know how yours talks to your customers?
So today I got home after a long but great day at the office. I found a ‘letter’ from Orcon saying that I had 5 days to pay my overdue account or risk getting my phone and Internet disconnected. I previously took up the option to pay by American Express to make sure that it was always paid on time, along with my power bill.
I rang Orcon and their credit department answered way faster than their support help desk ever has, less than a minute! I gave them my details and said I had received the letter and the person on the phone (Philippines accent I think) responded with “and when are you going to pay it?” I was taken aback. As far as I knew, it was always paid on time by Amex.
It transpired that my Amex card expired at the end of July, but I never received the replacement that American Express subsequently told me they had sent. I didn’t receive anything from Amex asking why the card had not been authenticated, nor did I receive anything from Orcon saying the account hadn’t been paid. I spend over a thousand dollars a year with Orcon, so at least a response like “How may I help you?” Rather than “when are you going to pay?” might have been nice.
So Orcon, I paid your account, that I didn’t know was overdue, on my Visa and American Express will no longer get a commission on that monthly transaction.
If you know that’s how your ‘Accounts Receivable’ treat your customers, you should also know that they don’t like it.
The last company that spoke to me like that was GE Money, through which I once bought a Canon SLR camera on 12 months interest free and was about 5 days overdue (because I didn’t get a reminder note from them). That was about 5 years ago and I have never used them again and told lots of people who follow me, my story.
Maybe it’s time to shop around and see what packages your competitors are offering, Orcon….. I’m sure my blog and social media followers would welcome my opinion. For everyone else, if you use 3rd party call centers, it’s a good idea to check them out as a customer once in a while and see how they are representing your business, because they are your front desk, especially if you don’t have a bricks and mortar presence.
Never let it be said that I didn’t give anyone a right of reply. Yesterday I received a reply from Orcon, which I have copied verbatim below It seems that Orcon feel they made every attempt to let me know that my credit card had expired.
I really appreciate the effort Laura went through to respond and put significant effort into researching my experience. It would be great if some companies looked at their processes and researched what their customers want and how best to communicate with them.
So thank you Laura. I suspect from what you wrote, that I have 7 emails buried in my email account that I have missed. This is not surprising because I typically work a 12 hour day or more and the majority of my emails lately haven’t been checked. 7 is a lot of emails, but I check my personal email when I feel like it and don’t expect to find bills in it. Typically I pay my bills automatically (such as through my Amex card and if that had arrived in the mail, which they said they had posted to my PO Box, but of course I didn’t receive it), so my foolproof way of not missing any bills failed.)
If one of those 7 attempts had been by mail, I would have discovered the invoice, the problem and dealt with it, as I did with Amex and it took all of about 2 minutes. If Orcon had sent one of the seven communications by snail mail, phoned me or sent me an SMS reminder as both Amex and 2Degrees Mobile do, I would have also dealt with it promptly.
I understand that Orcon is an ISP and therefore would consider sending a reminder by email appropriate. I’m also making an assumption here, because I didn’t receive a reminder by post or SMS, or phone message and Laura didn’t mention by what medium the 7 reminders were sent. All I know is I didn’t see them. I’m not disputing that they were sent.
Why should they bother finding out how I like to receive my account, or at least a confirmation that it has been paid? ARPU and Churn, not to mention my followers which just on Twitter are over 9,000 and I’m about to hit the 50,000 reads of this particular blog, so other people do read and value my opinion. I pay around $1,200 a year to Orcon. As a lifetime customer I could still be worth around $25,000 to Orcon if they treat me well, tell me there are new and cheaper/better plans than the one I am on, without milking me because I didn’t ask (they did that once which I very much appreciated). So one contact every 2 or 3 years to ask if I have a problem with my account, because they notice it hasn’t been paid and how can they help, is pretty good ROI on a TXT message or phone call. As per my recent blog about Tony’s Tyre Service, I also give unrequested kudos where appropriate https://luigicappel.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/how-to-win-loyal-customers-tonys-tyre-service-did-yesterday/.
What I really objected to was the response when I called. “and when are you going to pay”. How about something like “Can we make it easier for you to be certain that your account has been paid?” Could have avoided this blog altogether, or perhaps I might have written about how brilliant and proactive the customer service was.
Anyway, thanks for your response Laura. It is here, verbatim and I’d like to think that we have both learned a little from the experience.
Dear Mr. Cappel,
We at Orcon received notification of your recent blog post regarding your experience with our Credit team. We apologise you didn’t have the experience you were hoping for. The recording of the phone call has been reviewed and we have taken your feedback on board.
We would appreciate the opportunity to respond to the claims made in your blog post.
We understand that communications processes are rarely perfect but we feel we did make a considerable effort to communicate your bill and payment situation before sending the letter regarding the potential disconnection of your services
A total of seven notifications were sent regarding the expiry of your credit card, before and after your credit card was due to expire. We also delivered the two monthly invoices in the standard timeframe as well as two reminders, all of which clearly indicated the amount overdue. All email notifications and invoices were sent to the gmail address you had provided to us for all e-mail correspondence (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
We appreciate that things such as a replacement credit card not being received can throw all sorts of spanners in the works, but as any business knows, the consequential unpaid invoices do need to be followed up.
While we don’t distinguish between the Orcon teams we have both in New Zealand and overseas we can confirm that the person you spoke to was at our Auckland Head Office.
Thank you for considering our response. We’re more than happy for you to post our response on your blog post.
HEAD OF CREDIT SERVICES
Hi Luigi, we’ve taken your feedback on board and sent you an email to your Gmail address regarding the issues you’ve raised here in your blog post. Regards, the Orcon team.
Reblogged this on SoLoMo Consulting and commented:
Do you contract out your front desk to a 3rd party call centre?