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ROUGH CUTS | Getting to be customer unfriendly?

Vic N. Sumalinog

WHAT is happening to Davao Light and Power Co.? Of late we have noted that some of its outsourced services like processing of applications for new connections especially if the applicants are seen as not revenue-intensive like owners of simple houses, the likelihood is that documentary requirements are demanded to the maximum and policies interpreted to the letter.

     We actually have no quarrel with that since service companies, especially the utilities, make it a point that everything attendant to the installation of the applied service is submitted by the applicant. But what we consider as very customer unfriendly act is for the service provider’s personnel to “telegraph” the documents they need from the applicants making the latter come back several times to the office and spend a lot of time, money and effort to satisfy the requirement if given one time and not one-at-a-time..

     We have also noted based on the experience of a friend applicant that the service provider clerk is not consistent with the list of requirements. When it was he who personally applied for service connection in his house his submission of documentary requirements was done one after the other because as we said, these were asked on a “telegraph” scheme. When he again applied for and on behalf of his brother-in-law – a son of one of the heirs of the property – he was asked to submit documents which were not asked of him in his own application.

     We do not know if the higher management of Davao Light is actually blind-sided with this apparent over-bearing characteristic of the power firm’s service provider. If it believes it is not, then the management should look into it and evaluate the service provider’s performance. Of course it would be a different story if the present mantra of the company is to fleece customer’s patience at the expense of doing away with the bridge for the ideal kind of company-customer relations which is always the end-objective of every well-meaning management.

     And here is another surprising turn of events at our former employer firm.  During the time of the late Al Aboitiz when he rejoined the company after completing his master’s degree studies his first mission was to topple down what he called the walls that then divided the various divisions of the company. He succeeded with flying colors. 

     Now, after several changes in management there seems to be an apparent return to the old system. Why? Because late last week our place was hit by a very long power outage which started at about 9:30 in the morning and ended at about 4 or 4:30 in the afternoon. On the same day we were requested by our friend at Davao Light to arrange for a meeting with the principal of a local government high school for the signing of a project agreement. When our friend’s group arrived at about 2:20 in the afternoon of that same day, power was still not back. Power actually is very critical to our little business in the house as all our equipment are operated by electricity. So we asked our friend’s group what happened and what caused the long interruption. Instead, we were answered by a question whether there was an ongoing power outage. We were taken aback.

     Ironically, the people composing the DLPC group who came were from the company’s Reputation Management Department which is also tasked to communicate to the customers anything going on in the company that is essential for customers’ information. Unfortunately, the group seemed unaware of the brownout.

     We could not help but assume that the department in-charge of monitoring the power distribution operation of the company failed in its responsibility of transmitting the outage incident to the company’s communications group. 

     Whether that was a first-time lapse or starting to become a habit we have no idea so far. Of course we subscribe to the fact that lapses can always happen in all company operations. However, we hope that anything of this sort will be nipped in the bud especially that Davao Light is a utility company.



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