by Thu Hằng
I am no wildlife expert, but I am an avid enthusiast.
The migratory patterns and behaviours of birds and the habits and lives of African elephants fascinate me, for instance.
So it was with great disappointment that I learnt I won’t be able to watch the National Geographic channel anymore.
I am sure there are many others sharing this feeling regarding their own favourite TV channels like HBO, Disney, Cartoon Network, Star Movies or Cinemax, all of which have been yanked off air by the Việt Nam Television Cable Corporation (VTVCab) from April 1 onwards.
The disappointment is greater that this was done without any proper warning to speak of, although company spokespersons have said the information was carried on its website.
That is not enough. While there can always be some reason or the other to stop broadcasting a channel or a few channels, the way popular ones have been cut off without any notice, raising concerns about the quality of customer care being provided.
"This change has caused a lot of inconvenience to may customers. I don’t know why they’ve changed it and they did not give us any notice about their plan,” said an annoyed and frustrated Đặng Phương Anh, a resident of Hà Nội’s Hoàng Mai District.
“All my family’s favourite channels have disappeared. The new channels that have replaced the old ones are not as interesting.”
Anh further said that this was not the first time that this company had changed their channels without any notice to the customers. Last time, they only changed a few channels, so customers did not react very strongly then, she said.
“The company should have notified each customer of the impending change, and explained their reasons clearly, instead of posting it on the website or fan page,” Anh said.
VTVCab’s service has several million subscribers, so its latest move will affect millions of customers. On social networks, many have made their displeasure clear, saying the company does not respect its customers.
Bùi Huy Năm, general director of VTVCabhe, told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper that the changes had been posted on the company’s website, fan page and texted on TV. However, he also apologized for the fact that some customers had not received this information.
In just over a day after the change took effect, VTVCab’s customer care centre received more than 5,000 phone calls on this issue, Năm said.
He also said that the change aimed to give viewers more new choices and claimed that the new channels were more interesting, suitable and better for customers.
Năm further claimed said that the company had asked its customers and experts before making the changes. He asked the customers to be patient and watch the new channels for some time. Then they would see the advantages of the change, he asserted.
I agree that changing and updating services to better serve customers is a good thing that a company should do regularly. I also acknowledge that the company has not changed its prices and have added new channels to the service package, but the point is that service providers in the country should pay due heed to their customers, and not make their decisions for them.
And it is not just VTVCab, but many other businesses in Việt Nam that display inadequate customer care.
Every month, my neighbours receive messages on their mobile phone from the local electric company about their fees. I don’t, despite informing and asking the company twice to send messages to my new phone number.
Meanwhile, there are several companies that do provide good service and take the trouble to keep customers informed in time about changes, like moving to a new address or payments to be made.
Lê Minh Tiến, director of a medical equipment company, said businesses who want to make a profit cannot afford to disappoint their customers with their service. Keeping them informed in time shows the care and respect businesses have for their trust.
Any firm wanting to attract more customers should conduct surveys to find out what prospective customers need and like, he said, adding that any firm would find it hard to survive if their products were not good.
“Sometimes, I allow my customers to use products for as long as a month before making their decision,” he said.
These are basic marketing principles – to know customers well, learn what they want and provide the best product possible to meet their needs. These do not change for cable TV service providers.
It is better for everyone that they realize this sooner than later. – VNS