Update by the writer: Happy to let everyone know that the issue was quickly picked up and resolved by the TM leadership team. They didn’t just get the termination done but also called on my Dad personally to express their regret at the experience he had. There aren’t many corporate leaders who would take the trouble to meet with customers who had already said goodbye; kudos to Encik Imri Mokhtar and his team for doing it.
Thank you, everyone, for helping us make our voice heard; hopefully, we’ll see more customer-aware corporates in the future!
The original article:
Certain prominent Malaysian companies appear tone deaf to the needs of their senior citizen customers. Caroleena D’Cruz shares her frustrating experience with one such firm.
This is a picture (top) of my 88-year-old father at the TMPoint in Sunway today. Sad, isn’t it? He is tired, frustrated and in considerable pain.
Here’s why I blame you, Telekom Malaysia.
On 17 January 17, 2019, I contacted the TMPoint call centre to enquire about terminating an account. My parents had been living in Kuantan for well over 50 years and had been TM customers for about that long as well.
After my dad had a bad fall in Kuantan and subsequent surgery in PJ in October last year, my parents realised that they would have to make their move to PJ permanent. And they set about putting their affairs in order.
When I enquired about terminating their TM land line [09-5678548], the call centre informed me that I had to:
- Give 30 days’ notice – which we did
- Pay any outstanding payments due sometime between Day 16 and Day 30 – which we did
- Within five days of those 30 days expiring, I had to take my dad, along with the original phone set [yes, from over 50 years ago!], along with his original identity card, to a TMPoint outlet, for him to inform them of the termination in person. This had to be done within five days – no delays permitted, otherwise, I was warned, the whole process would have to be repeated. And I would have to pay an additional RM66 for the missing phone set
I explained that he was 88, in a wheelchair and not mobile, and asked if I could bring a letter authorising me to act on his behalf, along with his original identity card. I was told this was not allowed.
I was instead asked to get a doctor’s letter to prove his situation. I explained that he wasn’t ill, merely immobile, and if I had to take him to a doctor to get a letter certifying the same, I might as well take him to TMPoint. But I was told, no, that’s the way it would have to be.
After the call, I wrote to your call centre to explain the issue and seek your help. I didn’t even get an acknowledgement, let alone a reply. (I can provide you with screen shots of the chat.)
You were tone deaf to our request for help, Telekom Malaysia.
Today: Monday, 18 February 2019
The window given to us to visit the TMPoint centre was Day 31-35 from the date of termination. Day 31 fell on Saturday, 16 February and Day 32 on Sunday, 17 February, which I assumed meant the outlets would be closed.
Today, Day 33 [Monday, 18 February 2019], I took my father, as instructed, to the nearest TMPoint. I had checked online, and the closest to our home in Jalan Gasing was TMPoint Bandar Sunway, so we went there.
We found the outlet without any difficulty, but then couldn’t get him in as there is a one-foot step up into the outlet, and no ramp for the wheelchair. We managed to lift him in after some difficulty.
There were no customers at the outlet. We tried to get a service number but the machine had run out of paper [at 9.30 am???].
There were two people on duty – a young woman and a young man, who was asleep at his desk.
The young woman asked what we needed, and when I explained, she said “Go to Taipan, we can’t do it here. We are a dealer.”
No sympathy, no offer to help, no proactive customer service attitude at all.
She was tone deaf to our request for help.
I explained that we were told to come at any TMPoint, that I had looked at the website, and it didn’t state anywhere on it that this was a dealership, rather than a TM retail centre.
She repeated, “Tak boleh buat sini, pergi Taipan.” She also mentioned that TM Customer Service had repeatedly been sending customers to do termination at this outlet, despite them being a mere dealership, and the outlet had repeatedly requested that TM Customer Service stop doing it, to no avail.
You were tone deaf to your own partner’s request for help.
I asked if she could call the TM Call Centre for advice, which she did. They asked to speak to me and repeated the same instructions, ad infinitum – “Take him to Taipan, he has to go in person” etc.
I asked the call centre executive if I could speak to a supervisor, and was told I couldn’t.
Tone deaf, again.
I explained that I would be willing to send the required documentation to any outlet “Timbuktoo if required”, but could they just acknowledge that my father had come to the TMPoint outlet, as instructed, to inform them of his request for termination in person.
They absolutely refused, and the call centre refused to accept this as well.
Tone deaf, again.
I asked to speak to the TMPoint centre manager, but was told that he or she had not yet come to work. This was way past 10am at an outlet that starts operations at 8.30am, according to the website.
Tone deaf, again.
By this time, my father was already in considerable pain, so I told the call centre staff that I was taking him home, and I left my number with her with a request to call for a follow up.
I made clear that we had done what we were asked to do, and that TM had failed on its side; therefore the onus was on TM to take the next step.
I have not received any call from TM to follow up.
Tone deaf, you think?
I understand you have standard operating procedures, Telekom Malaysia. But surely, in serving 30 million Malaysians, and especially those who have been your customers for well over half a century, you can show a little empathy?
Shame on you.
Caroleena D’Cruz is disturbed by the lack of empathy shown by several major firms towards their senior citizen customers.