Serving the customer

I’ve been posting on my Instagram account daily inspirational quotes. So I decided to challenge myself to blog daily as well. This would mean that my posts might no longer be as long, and I’d be focused on sharing interesting short snippets of ideas. Longer entries might end up going on to my Medium page before eventually being made available free on my blog.

A couple of months back I got slapped with a hefty “fine” from Citibank for paying my minuscule bill late. I did a little rant here, but tried to address some of the unsustainable issues underlying the business model. I subsequently wrote in to try and cancel the card, citing the episode as my key motivation and also highlighting that the company needs to learn to change their culture and focus on serving the customer rather than beating the competition.

The longer I work and live in the world of business, the more I find it absurd that we accept companies doing things to make a profit rather than the serve their customers. After all, shouldn’t profit be the by-product of a job well done?

In December 2020, just before the extraordinary year ended, I got slapped another charge – this time from my telco, M1. I overshot my mobile data quota by 500MB and was charged $12. I read on the bill in fine print that additional data above my plan are chargeable at $10 for 10GB. So I called them up and asked them how they calculated the surcharges on my bill. They said, the extra usage cost is $12/GB (or part-thereof) when I do not go into my app and purchase the 10GB bundle. So even though they could just charge me $10 for 10GB on my bill, they introduced that additional step so that if I don’t monitor my usage, they could charge me at $12/GB.

I told the call center operator to submit my feedback that it doesn’t make sense to try and profit from the customers’ mistakes and what they designed seemed like a deliberate attempt to trip me up. I would not dispute the charges but this experience certainly left a sour taste for me.

So businesses, think again. If serving your bottom line is number one, then you truly deserve to be bottom.

This article is being read and recorded for readers here to increase accessibility of my writings and also to prepare myself to start a podcast that is currently in the works. Note that the written article is not an exact transcript to the reading.

Audio Article: Serving the Customer