Applying for a Smart Broadband plan took weeks to process

Way back in 2011, our first tablet (my brother, my sister, and I) was an iPad 2 Wifi Cellular, sponsored by our aunt which our brother bought in Singapore. Back then, it costs around Php25,000. After five years, it started to show hardware problems. Apps started crashing aside from it’s significantly slower than before. So the thought of buying a new one crossed our minds already.

My First Smart Application

Last December 11, Sunday — a typical Christmas stroll with the family — my brother and I applied for a Smart Broadband Plan 599 with an iPad Mini 2 (comes with 3.5 GB data per month) at the Smart Store in Power Plant Mall.

We filled up the form, submitted our IDs, and proof of billing. As one of the their requirements, my brother was able to submit his income tax return (BIR Form 2316) and I was able to submit my payslip later that night via the customer representative’s personal email. The guy said, wait for their call; the usual process. Then we left.

Communication Issue

Two days later, my brother got a call from Smart verifying his application. The next day, he said Smart called again saying that he can now claim his iPad Mini 2. That’s fast!

I, on the other hand, did not get a call but I received an automated email from Smart telling me that they marked my application as incomplete because I failed to complete the requirements.

That same day, Wednesday, My brother gave me the number of the Smart personnel who called him up about his application. It’s the same guy who accommodated us when we applied. I asked what happened. Why are they saying it’s incomplete when I was able to submit my payslip to his personal email, blah-blah.

The guy, (let’s call him, Bruno) said he’ll update me on Friday since it was his day off, Wednesday and Thursday. Come Friday, I asked him again. After a few hours he replied telling me that Smart “internal” is asking for my Certificate of Employment (COE). I asked if I can just submit a photocopy of my company ID and income tax return. He said, they’re looking my COE (nothing else).

As a customer, prepare all their requirements prior to visiting their store and filling up a form.

In our company, we can file requests for these kinds of certificates to our HR but they have policy of releasing such on a Wednesday. So if I file a request on a Friday, I still have to wait til Wednesday to get a copy of it. That’s another week wasted on my part.

I got hold of my COE a day earlier when our guard handed it to me Tuesday, December 20. I took a picture of it and sent it to Bruno’s personal email. I then texted him telling him that I’ve sent him a copy already. He replied telling me that it would be best for me to submit it personally at Smart Store in Power Plant Mall since he was reassigned to another branch!

Honestly, I was pissed. Him being out for two days shouldn’t be my problem. Now he’s no longer in that store? The next day I went to submit it personally. Another guy just received it (let’s call him Fred) and said, they’ll call me ASAP for an update.

Friday, December 23, my brother got his iPad Mini 2 already. He asked for an update on my application but Fred said there’s still no word from Smart “internal” yet.

Then we watched Rogue One. While inside, an unregistered landline number was calling me but I was inside so I didn’t answer it. I PM-ed Smart’s twitter account (SMARTCares) if they happened to know if Smart is calling me. Unfortunately, they couldn’t verify it.

Over the weekend, I didn’t hear from them until Wednesday, December 28 when another unregistered landline number called me up. She just verified a few details about my employer. She added that they were calling me up before but I didn’t pick up. That’s how I knew that they were calling me up at the cinema BUT didn’t bother to text me that they’re calling regarding my application (empathy).

Since it’s the Christmas holidays, I expected that they won’t be calling me anymore. It’s a given. But what disappointed me is when I opened the ticket that I filed in their website, it’s already closed. How come it’s closed when my issue hasn’t been settled?

I got my iPad 2 last Friday, January 6, nearly a month since I filled up a form. And in a few days, I couldn’t browse using my Smart data plan. I found out the other day, that in less than two weeks of using it, I’ve already consumed my 3.5 GB of data.

What I’ve learned as a customer:

  1. As a customer, prepare all their requirements prior to visiting their store and filling up a form.
  2. Constantly message them about your application. That’s the least thing you can do.

A few things that can be corrected:

  1. Submitting personal documents to a customer representative’s personal email can be a turn off to customers. For some reason, that [@]company-name in the email shows professionalism and it makes it more like an “official” business.
  2. A customer representative’s day off should not hinder an customer application or transaction with the company.
  3. If a customer didn’t pick up the phone, send a text message as courtesy, that Company X is calling on Client Y’s billing or application.

Try Beyond the Box

If you’re planning to buy a tablet or an iPad to be exact, check out Beyond the Box. They have a promo on iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4 which runs until January 31, 2017.