Citibank Malaysia’s service is useless for me

Filed Under (branding, customer service, financial, services) by rinnah on 27-07-2011

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I am never banking with Citibank Malaysia ever again. EVER.

I have always had the opinion and expectation that the services of the financial industry are in a way lesser than their counterparts in say, the hotel and tourism industry or the food & beverage industry. I try to be a good customer and stay within the guidelines set out by the banks. However, this recent incident with Citibank Malaysia shows that they consider themselves to be almighty and that their customers are worth nothing to them.

I have been banking with Citibank Malaysia since 2007. First with a savings account and then in 2009, a credit card.

citibank shell visa
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For reasons only known to themselves, Citibank decides to terminate their existing Citibank Shell Silver Visa (the one above which I have) and forcibly upgrade all of their customers to a Citibank Shell Gold Visa.

I did not request for this upgrade. I was perfectly happy using my existing credit card.

The first inkling I had about this was when a customer service personnel called to ask if I had received my new upgraded credit card. I told her that I had not requested for any upgrade nor had I received any card (I assumed this was one of those things where the bank increases your credit limit and upgrades your card at the same time). She explained about the forced upgrade due to the termination of the Silver card program and the changeover to the Gold card program. I was not keen on this but she assured me that all of my auto-payments would be seamlessly transferred over to the new card. The termination of the Silver card program would take place beginning 30 June 2011.

Doesn’t seem like much problems, right? Here’s where the fun begins.

I repeated again during that same call that I had not received any new credit card. The customer service personnel did some checking and told me that the card had been sent to my address in Cheras. Immediately, I told her that that was not the correct address as I had moved to Kota Damansara in June 2010 and I had also informed Citibank of my change in address back then. Being concerned that the new credit card had been sent to the wrong address where it could be used for fraud, I told the customer service personnel to cancel that card and re-issue a new one using my Kota Damansara address.

Two weeks passed and still no new card was sent to me in Kota Damansara.

I received another call from a different customer service personnel, a guy this time, asking me why I had not yet activated my new credit card. I repeated the story of what had happened previously and he said he would look into the matter.

Fast forward another two weeks. Having received my existing credit card statement, I went to Citibank over the weekend to make my usual payment via my savings account. The existing credit card had been delinked from the savings account, thus I could not make any payment transfer.

So, today I made a call to Citibank’s customer hotline.

I explained the situation to the customer service representative in detail again, stressing that I had not received the new upgraded credit card and that I had asked for it to be re-issued to me at my existing address in Kota Damansara. I was informed that the old/existing credit card had been routinely terminated on 30 June 2011 and there was nothing shown in their system about any new credit card being issued. Apparently my earlier conversation with the first customer service personnel was recorded as ‘customer does not believe the call is genuinely from Citibank’ and the conversation with the second customer service personnel was not recorded at all. There was nothing recorded about the fact that I repeatedly stressed to the personnel who had called earlier on the wrong address and my request for the card to be reissued to my new address. And since the deadline for the termination and upgrade was on 30 June 2011, there was nothing else Citibank would do about this matter. Apparently, if I want to continue to be a Citibank customer, I need to reapply all over again for the credit card as a new customer. So, all the previous years with Citibank are not regarded as customer loyalty?

From my customer’s point of view :
1. I did not ask for this upgraded credit card.
2. I agreed to the upgraded credit card since I have auto-payments billed to the card and I do not want any disruptions to occur.
3. I informed the bank on my change in address way back in June/July 2010. It is not my problem that your system data is not updated and that you have sent the new credit card to the old address.
4. When I was told that the card was sent to the old address, I informed not one, but two different personnel that the address is wrong and for the card to be reissued to the new address.
5. Since I have already informed the bank of the mistake that has happened, I expect the bank to rectify this without further inconveniencing their customer.

Citibank, your customer service personnel (I will not name names since all of your staff seem to be trained along the same lines) are the most self-righteous I have ever met. Every single one of them insincerely parroted the line, “Miss, I am so sorry for your experience, BUT (insert reason why it is not Citibank’s fault this incident has occurred)…” They did not even listen to what I was trying to tell them about the chronology of events above. Instead, they kept on interrupting me with the same parroted line above.

Frustrated, I asked each one of them what they are going to do to rectify this matter. All gave the same canned response that nothing can be done already since the deadline for the forced upgrade has passed. None of them were interested in helping me solve this matter. They only wanted to make sure that they recorded this incident as ‘not my (Citibank’s) fault’.

The end result of 6 different phone calls with 4 different staff are :
1. Citibank did not update their system data when I changed my address in June/July 2010 as my primary address is still shown to be the Cheras address.
2. Citibank already issued the notification on the Silver card termination on multiple occasions (in February 2011, May 2011 and the new credit card in June 2011) to the wrong address.
3. Since the termination deadline expired on 30 June 2011, there is nothing else they can do in the system to reissue the credit card.
4. If I want to continue using Citibank, I will need to reapply all over again for a new credit card and undergo the normal waiting and approval process.

Note that nowhere during all the multiple calls with Citibank’s staff did they offer to update my address even after I told them repeatedly it is the wrong address as I no longer live in Cheras.

How’s that for customer service?

Needless to say, I will be closing my accounts with Citibank Malaysia at the earliest possible date I can return to Malaysia and do so. I’d rather have the inconvenience of switching around all my auto-billing than to continue with this bank that does not do anything for me.

I’ll take my business elsewhere – where hopefully it will be appreciated better and with less hassle.

A tale of two Fullertons

Filed Under (branding, customer service, hotels) by rinnah on 01-06-2011

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Did you know that there are two Fullerton Hotels in Singapore? I didn’t.

First there’s The Fullerton Hotel.

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And then there’s The Fullerton Bay Hotel.

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And while they look nothing like each other, both hotels are run by the same group and are situated near to each other, just a 5 minute walk either way.

My learning adventure took place last night when I arranged to meet up with a friend for drinks around 9.30pm. While I was on the way, I called up The Fullerton Hotel and asked to be put through to my friend’s room. As luck would have had it, she had already left her room and was waiting for me in the lobby downstairs.

Now, as I left Raffles Place MRT station, I followed the signs to The Fullerton Hotel (note that I did not spot any signs for The Fullerton Bay Hotel then). When I exited, I got disoriented as there were no more signs to follow, so I headed out in the general direction of where I assumed The Fullerton Hotel would be.

Instead of The Fullerton Hotel, I saw The Fullerton Bay Hotel ahead of me. I naturally assumed that the name Fullerton Bay was a recent name change and that the signs had yet to be updated. So confidently, I walked straight into The Fullerton Bay Hotel and asked the concierge to ring up my friend’s room.

You can imagine the shock I had when the concierge told me that the room was listed in the system as unoccupied!

I’ll admit that the concierge did do her best to help me track down my friend by checking for her name in their database only to tell me in the end that there was no guest registered under my friend’s name.

Long waiting story short, I managed to get through to my friend and we soon sorted out that I was waiting for her at the wrong hotel.

However, in hindsight I found it very ironic that the concierge at The Fullerton Bay Hotel did not gently suggest to me that I might have ended up at the wrong hotel. Surely I’m not the first guest to mistake The Fullerton Hotel and The Fullerton Bay Hotel based on their names alone?

It also added to my confusion that the concierge welcomed me to the hotel by saying ‘The Fullerton Hotel’ rather than ‘The Fullerton Bay Hotel’ which was where I was actually at.

I also found out from my friend later that night that guests at either hotel are welcome to patronize the F&B outlets at both places and can have it charged to their room bills, which suggests an integrated database or at the very least the ability to access the other hotel’s guest database. Now how come the concierge did not take the initiative to check with the other side to see if I had accidentally gotten the wrong hotel?

I can easily imagine taxi drivers and foreign guests running into the same confusing scenario that I found myself in last night.

Would I go back to either Fullerton based on this experience? I’m afraid not.

MJ Privilege Card for free

Filed Under (customer service, promotions, retail shopping) by rinnah on 24-04-2010

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Metrojaya logo
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Just a quick post to notify readers that Metrojaya is currently allowing shoppers to sign up for the MJ Privilege Card for free this weekend (24 – 25 April).

Yup, they’re handing out their department store loyalty card for free – no purchase required. Even better yet, you get a MYR 10 voucher to spend together with the card, so that’s essentially MYR 10 being given away by Metrojaya to every person who signs up for the card. Can you say score? :)

There is one thing though – it seems that the numbers of cards being given out are limited, so maybe that’s why this campaign isn’t being published or promoted because I didn’t see any flyers or banners. I found out by chance from a friendly cashier who told me when I made my purchase at Metrojaya MidValley just now.

So, if you’re not a MJ Privilege cardholder yet, now’s your chance to be one for free!

Have you checked your mobile rate plan lately?

Filed Under (customer service, mobile phones, services, telecommunications) by rinnah on 22-08-2009

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Note : As a consumer, my goal (and I think everyone else’s goal is too!) is to get the best value out of my hard-earned money. So occasionally I will blog about tips and tricks about being a smart consumer that I myself have personally used. This is one of them.

In this day and age of technology, it seems that almost everyone has a mobile phone. Even school going kids have mobile phones – my 9 year old nephew has one too! Besides the convenience of being able to be in touch with others all the time, there is also the cost involved in owning a mobile phone. However, this money saving tip will only work if you have a postpaid plan like I do.

Maxis logo
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My family has been using Maxis as our line provider for as long as we have been using mobile phones, and that’s a pretty long time. We used to have different plans under different providers, both postpaid and prepaid, but it made so much more sense to group the family lines under one service provider for convenience and cost-saving.

Recently, I made a discovery that not many people might take the time and trouble to do so. I had been checking out the data rates and plans available through Maxis as I had upgraded my mobile phone to one that had 3G capabilities. Halfway through my surfing though, I noticed that Maxis had recently rolled out a new family line package which was significantly cheaper than the current plan we were on. Now, as existing customers, we hadn’t received any notice that this new rates were available and thus were continuing to pay the older, higher rates. Being the thrifty Chinese that I am, of course I wanted the better rates! =)

So, I made a quick phone call to Maxis to see if there was any way that I could switch my family plan from the old one to the new one. As it turns out, I could do so, and it only took that phone call and 3 working days for the change to be effected. When I next checked the phone bill, there was a savings of MYR40.00 overall (not full savings, considering that the rate change happened in mid-billing cycle). I don’t know about you, but that bit of money adds up to quite a bit over say, 1 year = MYR480.00.

So, it pays off to keep in touch with your mobile provider’s latest rate plans. Have you checked your mobile rate plan lately?

I’m not a fan of Clarins Malaysia

Filed Under (customer service, skincare) by rinnah on 24-01-2009

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It’s a pity, really, because I have a friend who swears by their facials and I really love her clear, flawless skin. But the thing is, every time I get anywhere near a Clarins counter in Malaysia, I get very put off by their beauty consultants. They don’t seem to realize that their service is the make or break factor for customers. The break factor for me was my bad experience with one particular beauty consultant as detailed below.

Clarins We Care logo

Clarins recently ran an online promotion (valid until 31 December 2008) giving away two samples of their skincare line, a hand massage and eyebrow grooming. If I’m not mistaken, it had to do with their “Clarins We Care” charity promotion? Anyways, I put down my contact information and printed out the e-voucher that allowed me to redeem the items above. My voucher told me that I could collect the same from the Clarins counter in Parkson KLCC and I headed there on a weekday after work with a colleague. My colleague also had the same e-voucher, but for some strange reason, hers was printed as the Clarins counter in Isetan KLCC. Weird.

Anyway, we went over to Isetan first, being nearer there and my colleague was attended to by a very sweet girl who mentioned that she was temporarily assigned there. All went well and we (my colleague and I) were quite pleased with her service. She did say apologetically when we asked that she couldn’t assist me as my voucher was clearly printed as redeemable at Parkson KLCC but I was fine with that.

So after we were done with Isetan, we walked over to Parkson KLCC, where we were greeted with an empty Clarins counter. No beauty personnel around. We walked around for a bit before coming back to the counter and saw one of the Clarins personnel come out from the door behind the counter. When we approached her to redeem my e-voucher, she brusquely said that I could not redeem the items listed on the e-voucher as I did not make an appointment. I then asked if I could just get the skincare samples – I was willing to forgo the hand massage and eyebrow grooming as I was more interested in testing out Clarins’ skincare products – but again, the beauty personnel brushed me off, saying that I could not get anything from them because I didn’t have an appointment and she didn’t have time to do a skincare analysis for me. Instead, she told me to go to the Clarins counter at Isetan KLCC to redeem the e-voucher. When I mentioned that we had just come from there but since my voucher stated Parkson KLCC I couldn’t redeem it there, the beauty consultant then said disinterestedly that I should come back tomorrow if I really wanted the products. I had enough of her uppity attitude and we left the counter.

I just can’t help but compare the difference in attitude and service rendered between the beauty consultants at Isetan KLCC and Parkson KLCC. It is also pertinent to note that my colleague did not make any appointment at Isetan KLCC before redeeming the exact same e-voucher that I tried to redeem at Parkson KLCC. What’s also interesting to note is that no skincare analysis was done on my colleague before she was given the skincare samples at Isetan KLCC. Hmm. Was it an oversight by the beauty consultant at Isetan KLCC or merely an excuse by the beauty consultant at Parkson KLCC?

Anyway, I don’t think I will be going back to Clarins for a long time, if at all, because of the attitude of one beauty consultant.

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