In the past week, there’s been several posts about the persistent Comcast customer service office who refused to let a customer cancel their service. If you have not heard about it, you can get a quick summary of the story here.
Reading about this incident kind of reminded me about my own experience with two banks – HSBC and OCBC. I realised I have acquired too many cards over the past 3 years. Some because I really like the rebates (read: FRANK credit card) and some because I wanted to experience their whole process so that I can relate/refer to it in my previous job.
So, for what it’s worth. Here goes.
The email out to the contact centre
I sent out an email to both HSBC and OCBC on the same day to ask for a callback regarding the cancellation of my cards.
HSBC – The horrors
HSBC called back a day or two later but as I was in a discussion, I couldn’t answer the call. The phone barely rang for 30 seconds (my ringtone didn’t even get to finish the chorus!) and the personnel hung up.
Not too long after, I received an email telling me that HSBC tried to call me but couldn’t reach me and if I have any questions, I should call their contact centre. Hmm. What happened to calling me again? And wow, the time lapse between the call and email was so short! It was almost as if the person had the mail prepared and just pressed, “Send” when I didn’t pick up.
ANYWAYS! I emailed back to arrange for a callback.
Several emails were exchanged (about 3-4) with HSBC telling me that –
- They can’t cancel my card over the phone
- They don’t do callbacks
- They can’t cancel my card over the phone
But here’s the thing. They called me after I sent an email to them so…erm…yes, you guys do callbacks. And erm…If they can’t cancel my card over the phone, then why did they call me in the beginning? To tell me that I have to call their contact centre?
Plus, the personnel replying my email is different every time. So, I have a feeling that whoever was replying my replying, didn’t bother to read the chain of emails and just copied and pasted the standard reply.
I pointed this out to them and FINALLY! They said they have forwarded my request to the relevant department. By then, about 1-1.5weeks have already past.
I waited. And waited. And waited. 1-1.5 weeks in, still nothing. So I emailed them again. And, I got a reply that said that they will follow up for me. What?! You haven’t been doing that already?
So I waited and waited some more. Finally! Someone called me a few days later and told me that I have some points in my card and I can redeem them. I thought, “Great!” The personnel was all ready to hung up the phone until I asked, “So does that mean my card will be cancelled?”
“No, mdm. You will have to call our contact centre once you have redeemed your points.”
WHAT! You should have told me in the first place? Zzzz. So after some ding-dong-ing, I told them I will just forfeit my points and cancel the card.
Took them about a week plus to send me an SMS -.-
Nutshell: It feels like they are deliberately making it hard for me to cancel. Not going back to them again.
OCBC – Oh so easy!
About a week after I sent out the first email, I received a call from OCBC. I was outside during the call and the person agreed to call me back in the evening. Nice!
When I received the call again, the personnel on the phone asked why I wanted to cancel the card. I told them that I am on a “mission” to reduce the number of cards I have and I have too many OCBC cards.
The personnel was very polite. He accepted the reason and then helped to process the cancellation. He informed me that I won’t be able to use the card anymore and a letter will be sent to me once all process is done.
When I mentioned that I am interested in the OCBC 365 credit card, the personnel gave me all the information and how I can proceed with the application. I told him that I am going to Korea for 10 weeks in Sept so I might not want to apply for it now. The personnel said it will be more advisable to apply after I am back. He remained professional and polite even though I just “wasted” his time.
A few days after the call, I received a letter telling me that my card has been cancelled. HSBC was still missing.
In a nutshell: Painless process. I will definitely go back to them (:
The exit process
Much attention has been paid/is being paid to the on-boarding process of customers and employees. But it feels like the “off-boarding” process has been neglected.
Not just in terms of external customers. For internal customers as well.
I remember receiving a letter from HR/Credit Ops a few days after I left my previous job, asking me to update my income documents immediately. Like honestly? Give me some time to breathe!
“Off-Boarding” process is as important as the on-boarding. It determines the customers’ willingness to come back to you! And remember, the experience doesn’t end when your relationship ends. The customer might share his/her experience with others and that will affect your brand’s image too.
I still love OCBC. Hahaha!