The management of telecommunications giant LIME said that they are well aware that some of their customers are being inconvenienced and are experiencing less than perfect service. In response to the various complaints, the senior members of the organization met on Friday 20 February, and discussed matters such as compensation. The meeting also gave the green light for what was described as an aggressive public relations campaign, which is expected to be executed soon.
In an interview with The Island Sun newspaper Manager of Retail sales and customer experience, Ravi Maywahlal, and Manager of Marketing and corporate communications, Kareem Hull empathized with customers and announced that they are intent on rectifying the commonly complained issues, and problems.
“LIME may be a big company, and companies may seem to have no feeling or presence, but the people in here — whatever the people out there feel we feel it as well. If the internet isn’t working in Purcell, I won’t get it…whatever you feel we feel,” Hull said as he explained that the complaints were not ignored.
Mr. Maywahlal on the other hand said that the entire management team noted the areas of concern, which he said appeared to be two-fold and revolved around a backlog of persons waiting for service and those affected by the migration to the new fibre system.
“We are fully aware that there are issues in terms of customers waiting on service, and additionally during the migration process some customer’s service went out. It took some time to get them operational again.”
Over the last few weeks, a number of frustrated customers used various platforms to state their unhappiness with LIME’s service. These open complaints were put to Mr. Maywahlal who is in charge of Customer Experience and he explained that a number of those complaints were caused by a backlog of service orders. “The long and short of it is the project is behind schedule by about two months. The stage that we are currently at we should have been by the mid of December, so as such in any organization when you are being transitioned into a new system and funding is limited you tend to reserve the funding you have for the new system. I think that is particularly why there is a backlog in service orders”
In explaining the project delay, the Customer Service Manager said: “There are a combination of reasons as to why things didn’t go as smoothly. For instance, when customers were cut off because of fibre service, and a fault was reported, the technicians which typically service our customers were not fully trained as yet on the new system; as such could not have gone in to the new system to investigate as to the reason for the fault. We had to wait on the project team when they had the resources available so that added some additional time.”
It was stated that further service issues arose during the migration process as some modems had to be reconfigured because of the sensitivity of the fibre system. Nonetheless, it was disclosed that during the meeting on Friday the company developed a plan to break the backlog of service orders.”
Mr. Maywahlal disclosed that the project is now at a stage where the technicians have started receiving training as of last week; and are capable of working on the new system in conjunction with the project team. He said that additionally the project team has agreed to assist LIME once the customers are being impacted as part of the cables being migrated to the new system: “They are going to assist us in provisioning that service or trouble shooting that fault. As of this stage, we are hoping that within the next couple of weeks to break all of the backlog service orders that we’ve had over the last couple of months,” he added.
Meanwhile the Communication Manager, Mr. Hull, announced that the company is increasing its customer outreach program to let customers know that their concerns are being heard. “We are working for the customers, but there are two things there’s working and letting them know we are working; so, we are going to make sure that our communication is actually strengthened by letting customers know that we are hearing. We are doing as well!”
Mr. Hull explained that the migration period did not occur outside of the know of customers. He said that the campaign took on many levels. During the first level, he said that customers were informed how much the upgrade would be, and when it was to be implemented.
“The first area that we actually did the migration was in the East End area. We not only told people via radio, but via Facebook. The only thing that we did not do to an extent was text our customers directly… we did TV as well. We also tried to place it in various news avenues…In East End when we did it the first we actually erected a tent in that area and text customers so they can come on site,” Mr. Hull announced.
“When we have the radio program on Zrod with DJ Dre, when I am there one thing has been constant …we continue to read the schedule and apologise for the inconvenience that could be expected. On ZBVI you would also find a morning report,” he added.
When the aggressive communication campaign commences, Hull said that the Company will be texting customers to let them know what is going on, because it is the most direct and quickest way for them to know.
“We are going to increase our radio presence, the General Manager, Sean Auguste, Ravindra Maywahlal, myself will now start to make appearances on different radio and television shows. The possibility of which is to directly talk to the customers, and also have an open line of communication where they can even vent their frustration. We are increasing the Facebook presence as well,” Mr. Hull said.
The Communications Manager said that the company is keeping an eye on Facebook, because it seems like the venting forum for many unhappy customers: “What we realized on Facebook is that people may write general things on places like BVI Community Board. We are aggressive in finding them. We have a team of about 20 young people who are aggressive in finding those complaints; and channelling them to the LIME Facebook page. Where we make a note of it, send it to our technicians directly and we start to handle each of those cases as they come in to make sure that we are addressing the customers in that way. We are going to have a very much more aggressive plan including television, radio, and text platforms to ensure we are easing the frustration.”
In the House of Assembly, Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser opined that customers who are inconvenienced by the telecommunications service providers should be compensated. The suggestion was posed to the LIME managers who told The Island newspaper that the matter of compensation was discussed during the management meeting.
Mr. Hull said: “We discussed this on Friday how we’re going to compensate the customers, and I think a lot of people feel that compensation is a direct response of giving you money…What we have to consider is that there are two different issues.”
The two issues involve customers who are awaiting service and those whose service was interrupted. In the instance of customers who are awaiting service, Mr. Hull said there is no need for compensation, but he did however state that the company understands the frustration.
“There are customers who applied for service and have not received that service. Some of those customers may feel like they would like to be compensated for such. Essentially, we don’t charge you for service you do not get, if you apply for service and you do not get it we don’t charge you. You are not paying a monthly bill although the service has not reached you. In that instance there won’t be anything for you to be compensated for. However, we do acknowledge the emotion that is attached to that, how customers feel; and we are taking that into consideration,” the Communication Manager stated.
As it relates to customers who were affected by interruption to their service, Hull said: “The other concern would be the other customers who already have service and have been interrupted who would want to be compensated for that as well, again we do not want to charge customers for service that they do not receive.”
In explaining how such compensation will take place Mr. Maywahlal said: “If you are an existing customer, and you are affected by the migration…We asked that agents advise customers to inform when their issue has been fixed so that when they go in they can be compensated.”