Perspectives from the *other side* on Software, Management and Life

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mobilink - Horrible Customer Relationship Management

Mobilink is the largest mobile service provider in Pakistan, although its quickly been loosing its market share to its competitors (Ufone, Warid, Telenor and Zong). If I were to analyze mobilink, here are my thoughts:

1. Slow mover. They've been around for the longest time. They were successful in out smarting Paktel and some other company - but it was an easy win given the lack of decent management in any one of those firms.
But even with this advantage, they've been caught with their pants down ever since the new telco's arrived in Pakistan. Their customer base was just itching to jump ship and couldnt be more glad with competition arriving
2. Good enterprise penetration. This is probably the only plus for mobilink as they've managed to hold on to the enterprise market. But slowly and surely, their higher rates and lack of good customer service will catch up
3. Quality and Coverage. Their call quality and coverage isnt all that great, but hey neither is that of the others - so not much competition!
4. GPRS/Edge. Telenor's the clear leader in launching of edge services, but mobilink does seem to have awaken to the need. They're still playing catch up though
5. Blackberry. Mobilink was first to launch exclusive blackberry service and held the monopoly in Pakistan for some years. Only recently has Ufone entered this market. I'm not a crackberry person, so not something I get high on
6. Little connection with the young crowd. My firm deals with a certain telco product and so I know from at least some data that we have that mobilink has lost the touch with the younger crowd. Its a matter of time before this crowd gets into the enterprise and drive out mobilink from there as well!An Advertisement by mobilink - better spend the money upgrading that CRM!

In the end, if you're wondering why I decided to leave, well I got a call barring error one fine day while making an international call. Since I've been a mobilink post-paid user for 3 years, I thought it must be some mistake. But to my surprise on calling their helpdesk I was told to increase my security (I used a CC, so all they had to do was get pre-authorization on it), but to treat a premium user who has paid his bills for 3 years on time like this just made my blood boil.
I got hold of the supervisor, gave him a good lecture on customer service and he had my international dialing turned on in a few hours.
Then a few days later I get a call from a mobilink agent asking me to verify:
1. My name
2. My NIC
3. Other numbers being used in the house
4. Other telco providers whose SIM was being used in my family (I told the agent to mind their business on that one)
5. Address

Then a few hours later, their courier came by to verify the home address in person AND got my NIC number as well.

A few days later, I get a call by another mobilink CSR asking the SAME questions. I was a little perturbed but cooperated. Then a few days later my international dialing gets turned off again! I call the helpdesk only to find out that the PTCL number I had on file could not be verified. Well, the morons in PTCL had equally lousy service and so i decided to stop paying my bills to them. And since when is there a requirement to have a working PTCL (Land line) number to get a cell? I'm told by mobilink its a PTA requirement??. Anyhow I ask that next time they feel like disconnecting my service they should atleast call and inform me before carrying the disconnection out. In case you're wondering I gave them my office PTCL and got international dialing enabled.

Ahh - I wish that were the end, but then I get a call a few days back by mobilink asking the SAME questions. I was fuming and told the lady to type in "customer refuses to answer the same questions he's answered twice already. If the CRM does not work, then its not the customers fault. There ought to be laws against such harrasments!". Anyway, the courier guy came to my house after a few hours and I sent my house maid to sign off on the letter attesting I lived in the house.
Then today I figured my international calling was disconnected AGAIN!! So I've gone to ufone and gotten my number transferred and am now going to campaign for others to do the same!


Blogger Unknown said...

Interesting story, do you mind if I reblog this (with due credit, of course) at


8:07 AM

Blogger Ali Syed said...

Babar - feel free to reblog!

9:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had something similar happen to me not too long ago. I called my ISP to inquire about a missing rebate. The CSR asked all the necessary questions, and re-applied my account for the rebate. Weeks past and I still didn't see any rebate. I called in again and was told they see no previous inquiry from me about the missing rebate. So I answered the questions again, and this time the CSR said they will even expedite the rebate. I have now received the rebate, but I am left to wonder if it was a failure of the CRM system or the customer representative.

7:39 AM

Blogger Ali Syed said...

Ahn - In my experiences, the customer services of most firms here is horrible. And the only way we, the customers, can fix it is to take noticable action against these firms so they understand how customer service impacts their bottom line. In today's economy, I do hope some of these poor customer service providers go out of business, if only to act as case studies in mba classes for future executives.

11:05 PM

Blogger Ali Syed said...

reposting at Anh - didnt realize you were an out of town'er!
A decent CRM is one aspect of the game, the bigger picture to me being that a company must embed in all its employees that they are "customer centric/focused". A CRM is only as good as the individual who uses it to its potential, granted a horrible CRM will not truly bring out the full potential of a good customer rep or a customer satisfaction team. Summary: the CEO needs to ensure that their company is customer friendly and customer problems are quickly identified and resolved. All decisions in the company must be made with this in mind, my two cents on the subject.

11:15 PM

Anonymous asad piracha said...

u are crazy ppl--u have just got a mobile connection and u think that u have bought the company--loosers u ppl are--think of ur ownself and ur own business--how efficient u ppl are--ppl like u can never be satisfied because its ur habbit to criticise --lazy bunch of loosers aal of u

10:54 AM

Blogger Ali Syed said...

@asad - the option you're suggesting is to lie flat and do nothing?
The intent should always be to do better yourself and hold others to the highest standards as well. Anything less means you should become a politician or a bureaucrat.

1:46 AM

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