CebuPac Customer Relations at its Finest

I had the pleasure of speaking with who seems to be a member of CebuPac’s flight crew on their Facebook fan page. What she said speaks volumes about the company culture and their general view of customer service. Continue reading →

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Of Complaints and Paninirang Puri

PR Failure

Is this how one should respond when somebody complains about your service, sue them for libel?

Perhaps there’s much to learn on how businesses, particularly those who have much to lose from negative press, respond to consumer complaints expressed through social media. Chicboy will do well in heeding Erik Qualman’s advice:

Don’t come across as defensive – In the event someone uses a social media venue to question your product and/or service, negatively comment, etc. don’t launch into attack mode. Try and get to the bottom of why the customer is upset, how you can resolve the problem, and how you can learn from and avoid such a situation in the future.

You can read the full article here.

Resolution of Ensogo and Resorts World Manila Debacle

I’ve been meaning to write this blog, but work got in the way. Plus, simply put, nawalan ako ng ganang magsulat (I lost the drive to write about it). The whole thing was such a huge let down. In any case, perhaps many can learn from our experience so I’ll share with you what happened next. The dates are a little hazy, though, so please bear with me.

This blog reached both Ensogo and Resorts World Manila (RWM). We found out that, through six degrees of separation, people knew people and my blog got forwarded to both. I think it was also through Facebook/Twitter/Plurk/other forum shares. We didn’t really expect much from them, considering how things got handled in the first place.

Ensogo was the first to reach my husband, through a friend of my sister-in-law. Supposedly, they were to schedule a meeting with us, people from Ensogo and people from RWM. But that fell through, because I don’t really think they wanted to even meet with us in the first place. Next to call was RWM’s Director of Sales. She wanted to meet with us, perhaps to placate us. She was able to, to a certain extent. But the meeting fell through, too, because she had to attend to something “urgent” and had to re-schedule for another week. At that point, we just didn’t want to bother with anyone anymore and said that we didn’t need to meet with them and that all we needed to know was whether we were going to get refunded. She said we would.

We did get the check a few days later. The check’s receiving copy was an email trail of exchanges between Ensogo and RWM. I got a glimpse of this–I regret that I didn’t get to photocopy it. But the gist was, we were getting refunded because RWM wanted to ensure that every customer was satisfied. That raised an eyebrow, believe me. But I wasn’t going to raise an issue with Ensogo’s kind messenger.

And that’s that.

I’d rather just count my blessings and be grateful that we were, at least, “attended” to and were refunded. I can’t say that that’s the same for others involved in other–bigger and more expensive–scams, such as the Hong Kong farce that a reader, Ms. Darlene, was involved in. You may read her comments here.

Through all of this experience, I learned this:

  1. Ensogo will not refund unless they have the vendor’s blessing. If RWM didn’t agree to have us refunded, we wouldn’t have received any check.
  2. It pays to complain using the right channels. Find out if you know somebody connected to or working with Ensogo or the vendor in question. And complain with the DTI. DTI NCR is coming up with a case with Ensogo. I know this because they emailed my husband asking for the details of the case. You may complain here: http://www.dtincr.ph/cpapp/index.php
  3. And the most obvious, there are a LOT of complaints against both Ensogo and Resorts World Manila. I found this out while digging through Ensogo’s Facebook page (which, btw, censors all bad/negative/violent comments posted on their wall), an Ensogo complaints page on FB–Ensogo Ripped Us Off, and through friends’ accounts of doing business with RWM. If they’ll ever make it to marketing/PR/social media books, the subject heading would read “What NOT to Do to Be a Marketing/PR/Social Media Success.”

Thank you to everyone who shared our unfortunate experience with Ensogo and RWM. I hope we all learn from this. Have a good day!

False Advertising: Our Unfortunate Experience with Resorts World Manila and Ensogo Philippines

Here is an account written by my husband about our experience with Ensogo and Resorts World Manila:

I usually share my good experiences about places I go to and don’t waste time on the ones that are bad. However, I believe that it is my duty to tell everyone about our unfortunate experience with Ensogo Philippines and Resorts World Manila!

On August 17, I purchased a deal voucher from Ensogo Philippines about a PhP588 deal on a buffet and other perks from Bar 360 of Resorts World Manila. The voucher indicates that we had to make reservations at least 3 days prior. I did so two weeks ago for November 20. I bought 4 vouchers so that we can try it more than once.

You can find that particular deal on this website.

However, as I was about to print the vouchers from the Ensogo website, I chanced upon the Discussions section where people who bought the voucher were commenting about how they felt that the deal was a “rip off.” I found out that Resort’s World was re-directing all patrons to Noodle Works, instead of Bar360! So I called Ensogo, but nobody was answering their hot line. After 5 tries, I went to contact the merchant instead, Resorts World Manila.

I got through the trunkline and looked for the person incharge of the promotion. I was always forwarded to another person. Finally, after 2 more transfers, my call was forwarded to Anna, who I think is in charge of reservations. I inquired if it was true that patrons of the Bar360 buffet were being re-directed to Noodleworks. Anna admitted that it was true! This was surprising and I asked why was there a change. I was told that it was the decision of upper management. I then said that that was not what is stated in the promotion posted on Ensogo. I bought the Bar360 promo, not Noodleworks. She then said she cannot do anything about it. I asked to be kindly directed to a person who can address my problem. She then forwarded me to Ms. Jen Hizon (my 4th transfer, btw) as Ms. Hizon was the Supervisor.

Ms. Hizon explained that people were just being directed to a new venue but the drinks will still be served at Bar 360. This is an unfair deal, I told her, as this is not what you sold us. I bought a voucher for a breakfast or lunch buffet at the Bar 360, which, according to the voucher, is open from 6am to 3pm. She then said that she cannot do anything. This irked me a bit because this wasn’t what I bought and this wasn’t what they advertised. This is unfair, I said. She then offered to find a solution for the problem so that I can still enjoy the buffet at Bar 360. She then offered to call me back, and asked for my voucher numbers. I gladly accepted the offer as I just wanted to get what I paid for. After giving all the details she requested, she said that she will retur my call by Thursday afternoon, November 17, or latest by Friday morning, November 18. I agreed and I got her direct line and was thankful that she also gave me her cell number. Now that’s service, I figured.

I waited for her call until Friday, just before lunchtime. I decided to give her a call instead. She told me that they are considering booking us at the Mercado buffet instead, BUT with the condition that I can only go on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday lunch only. I didn’t like the offer, particularly because not only did it not give me a choice on the matter, but it felt like I was getting the short end of the stick. The vouchers I had stated that the only time I cannot use it for the buffet was for holidays. How can they offer me a Monday-Wednesday slot? So she offered, “Sir we are still trying to do everything to accommodate you. Sunday for sure will not be possible as Mercado is always full. I’ll call you this afternoon to let you know the final details.” We hung up and I felt confident that they were still doing something to accommodate me.

Afternoon arrived and still no call. I gave her a call again, since my reservation date is nearing and I still don’t know if we were pushing through. She answered, “Sir, di ko po kayo nakakalimutan (I haven’t forgotten about you). Sir, 4:30 pa lang naman, di pa tapos ang work schedule. (Sir, it’s only 4:30pm and my workday isn’t over yet.” I felt that that sounded rude. I waited for her to call, but she never did.

To my surprise, Ms. Hizon called me at 12:22pm on Saturday, November 19. She told me that they will be serving the buffet at Bar 360 and that she just needed to confirm the reservation. I thanked her and was very grateful, particularly because I reserved that lunch for my wife and my in-laws. She also needed the final headcount. I had to re-confirm with everyone first, and said that I would call her ASAP for the headcount. I tried calling her back within 10 minutes of the last call, but her line was constantly busy. I decided to send her an SMS instead, confirming 5 guests for a 10am brunch on Sunday, November 20. She replied with an SMS, confirming our reservation. I was also told by her that she was already out of office, but assured me that the tour counter will process my voucher.

On Sunday, at about 9:30am, my wife and I went to the tour counter to have our vouchers processed. We arrived early to ensure that all will go smoothly. We were checked in by the kind ladies at the tour counter.

On a side note, since I only had 4 vouchers with me, but 5 were attending the brunch, I asked how much I needed to pay for the extra person. I was told that the buffet only cost PhP250. I was quite surprised because I paid PhP588 for it. But I was told that since it came with a bucket of beer (a 5+1 promo, which is 6 beers in total) and a PhP300 Match and Play voucher for the Casino, the Ensogo voucher would indeed cost more. I should add, however, that the Ensogo voucher stated that the cost of the entire package was valued at PhP1,735. If that’s the case, then math should tell me that PhP250 + PhP300 + PhP500 (assuming that each beer is PhP100 each—an inflated price, already, plus 1 free) is NOT equal to PhP1,735.

One of the ladies at the counter kindly offered to check us in at Bar 360, but since we were waiting for my in-laws, we decided to just walk around first while waiting. We also decided to just use first the Match and Play coupons. Imagine our surprise when we found out that we still needed to buy chips to use the coupons. What a marketing ploy, I thought. But decided that what we came for was the buffet, so I didn’t really mind this fine print anymore.

When we were ready to eat, we went to the hostess counter of Bar 360. While there were a lot of service staff in the area, no one was manning the front desk. Neither were we being accommodated. We stood there for a good 10 minutes, but nobody approached. I had to walk to the bar area and asked the bar tender for his assistance. He then called another attendant to attend to us. I walked politely back to the front desk, and someone finally approached. We told her that we wished to be seated and that we were ready to eat.

Imagine my surprise when I was told that the buffet starts at 11am. I told her that I made reservations for 10am. She said that that couldn’t be possible because the Bar360 buffet opens only at 11am. She also said that she was never informed about a 10am reservation. She called another person to help shed light to our predicament. That person also informed us that buffet always starts at 11am.

Visibly irked and hungry at this point, I pointed out that the Bar360 coupon I was holding clearly stated that buffet is from 6am till 3pm on that day! They just looked at me and my wife with blank faces and said, “Sir please wait for us here and we will clear this up.”

We stood there for another 10 minutes. I decided to walk back to tour counter to talk to the manager who was at the front desk of bar 360 earlier. I told them that I wanted a refund because I was unhappy and because I’ve been chasing people for the last 4 days to get a decent me. I told them that I made reservations for 10am only to find out that I can only eat at 11:00am.

I must commend them, though, because they remained polite. However, they did tell me that they cannot process a refund. I told them that that was unacceptable. I made several calls prior to arriving to ensure that things will go smoothly, knowing full well that people were already compaling about this promotion. I asked if I could talk to Jen Hizon. They got surprised that I knew Ms. Hizon and said that they will have Jen decide on this. They were talking to Jen infront of me and it was taking some time to explain who I was. So I politely asked if I could talk to Jen instead. The manager was opposed to it at first, but eventually gave me the phone.

I talked to Jen, who then informed me that she told me that lunch starts at 11am. She insists that she informed me. I still have our exchange of SMS messages to prove otherwise. Besides, the voucher Resorts World printed stated that buffet was open from 6am to 3pm. Despite this, she vehemently insisted that she still informed me that lunch starts at 11am. But how can that be, when the vouchers and our conversation proved otherwise?

Jen couldn’t provide any explanation anymore at this point.

I was very disappointed because I felt that I was being made a fool. I demanded a refund instead. Jen told me that to do that, she had to contact her superior. Because I felt that this was going to take longer than what I could take, I asked if I could instead call her superior for her. I was told flat out that that wasn’t possible because it was a Sunday. For a hospitality manager to have the gall to tell an angry client that, it clearly reflects a huge level of incompetence or a severe lack of customer service skills.

I asked what they could offer me at that point. I was hungry. My family was hungry. And I was VERY disappointed. I was told that there was nothing that they could do.

At this point, I was at the end of my rope so I told them that I was going to report them to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for false advertising, among other things. To which she replies, “Sir, we will process your request and it’s a Sunday so it’ll take a couple of days.” I felt like she suddenly realized what a predicament they were in and decided to take a different approach by trying to appease me, although they were quite ineffective.

I asked the manager if I could talk to anyone else. Nobody was addressing my concern. The manager then excused herself and went on the phone to talk to Jen. It took her some time, but the manager offered to transfer us to Mercado instead. I accepted the offer.

I’d like to remind my reader that this offer was originally given to me, but I wasn’t allowed to go on a Sunday because reservations were usually full. I’d like to add that it was a Sunday but I didn’t see anyone there. In fact, Ensogo also has another promo for Mercado. If it were always full, why offer a half-price off promo for said establishment?

In any case, we walked to Mercado. To manager’s and my surprise, Mercado also only opens at 11am. I completely gave up and demanded a refund. I talked to Jen again, but it was clear at that point that nothing could be done. I was completely irked and angry and just didn’t want to be there anymore. They ruined my Sunday.

In the end, my family and I walked out of the establishment.

How can a supposedly “world class” establishment treat patrons that way? This is clearly a case of false advertising. It’s no different from the bait and switch tactics of scrupulous establishments. Unfortunately, such tactics are unbecoming of a supposedly “world class” hotel and casino. This is very disappointing, unfortunate and completely unfair, to say the least. All we wanted was a decent meal from a nice establishment. We thought that Resorts World was such, that is, until our terrible experience with them.

As for Ensogo, we’ve heard of other regrettable experiences. You may find another unsatisfied customer’s blog here.