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Sinclair promises improved Flow for customers

Published:Tuesday | March 8, 2016 | 12:00 AMChristopher Serju

Gary Sinclair, managing director of communications firm FLOW, has set a July deadline for the full repatriation of its customer contact centre service to Jamaica, following yesterday's contract signing with Advantage Communications Limited.

The company's customer centre of excellence, located at The Towers in New Kingston, which has been operational since January 26, is now handling 100 per cent of mobile calls.

The investment of more than US$6 million (J$726 million), which he described as a "massive cost" and is projected to create 400 jobs overall, is a direct response to customer complaints, Sinclair admitted.

"We want you all to know that we've heard loud and clear your rightful demand for easier access to our contact centre. And this is a direct response to those demands," he said during the signing ceremony at The Towers.

"However, we want to go further and say that the new FLOW, we intend to put the customer at the heart of everything that we do, in order to become number one in customer service throughout the region.

"Today, we're showcasing a fine example of how we've begun to put those building blocks in place, and hopefully end up delivering this truly exceptional customer service," the FLOW executive declared.

AGENT-TO-CUSTOMER RATIO

He continued: "It's a response to what customers frankly have been telling us over and over and over again and a clear example of us putting our money where our mouth is. By July, all calls are going to be repatriated to Jamaica. Once we're up to 350 agents - the agent-to-customer ratio will be vastly improved over what currently obtains, and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to totally transform our customer service."

This is welcome news for former clients of telecommunications firm LIME who have seen a serious decline in service-quality delivery since March 2015 when Cable & Wireless, operators of LIME in Jamaica, completed its buyout of Columbus International, operators of FLOW in the region.

Since then, it has changed the name of the local company to FLOW.

CUSTOMER COMPLAINTS

In October last year, the Office of Utilities Regulation demanded an explanation from FLOW's management for the 74 per cent jump in service interruption complaints from its customers for the April-June quarter, over the corresponding period in 2014.

The utility regulator listed the complaints as overall poor quality of service, service disruptions, dropped calls, disputed charges and billing matters, and said they represented the highest movement in service interruption contacts over a three-month period.

Customers were particularly upset that on June 1, the company increased the rate for some its cable, telephone and Internet services - ranging from $25 to $1,104.

Customers were further incensed that month when the service provider dropped 13 channels from its line-up, in keeping with a directive from the Broadcasting Commission. This followed the finding that some 49 local cable companies had, in fact, been operating in breach of international copyright laws.

Sinclair justified the decision not to provide a rebate on the grounds that the breaches existed before FLOW acquired a number of smaller cable companies and continued after the acquisitions.

"If you were not paying for the content before, then having taken them away, there is going to be no rebate," he insisted.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com