Customer Services is a Joke with Mobilink & Standard Chartered Bank

After the Marriott bomb blast where my office was severely affected. I decided to call some of my oldest service providers to update the contact details and get a copy of the duplicate bill so that I could make payments before the due date. Therefore, I decided to call up Mobilink, which I have been using as a post paid mobile customer since October 1998 and Standard Chartered Bank whose credit card I have with me since 1997. To my utter surprise, both of them were oblivious to my plight and gave me, what I could term as one of the worst customer service in the world!

Mobilink which prides itself of being Pakistan’s leading mobile operator actually does not understand the importance of old customers. When I requested a change of address, they told me to send them the details on letterhead via mail. Now, in today’s day and age, I have not heard of anyone talk about mail. I would assume email would work as good as letterhead. Further, when an office gets blown away by a bomb how do you find a letterhead in the mess to send out! This is not the first time Mobilink has disappointed me. I use auto payment through credit card to pay my bills. Last year, they somehow screwed up and entered the wrong address into their system. Instead of verifying the address with me, they went ahead and blacklisted my phone number and blocked it from usage without informing me. I was forced to visit their office premises and stand in line to get my issue resolved. They acknowledged their mistake but never apologized to me or gave me any compenation for the inconvinience that they caused me.

Standard Chartered were even worse. They told me to go to their branch on a weekend! I reminded them that it was a weekend right before Eid holidays, therefore, I would request a phone banking support. So they verified my name, ID card number, mother’s name, address and what not…. But still in the end told me that it cannot be done and I have to walk to a branch nearby. Their supervisor was some dude called Fahad Qureshi based out of Lahore who was more interested to get me off the call than to assist me.

These companies and others like them are here to mint money. Customer services is not one of their priorities. I am, like the other 5,000 individuals directly affected by the Marriott blast are seeking help and assistance from all. Our aim is to assist banks, mobile operators and others find out the latest addresses so that they could mail us the duplicate bill so that payments could be made in time. However, they are all oblivious to this fact and have virtually no plans for assistance to the folks directly affected by the disaster.

What is really disappointing and disheaterning for me is that I am using Mobilink mobile phone for over 10 years and have paid them millions of rupees in bills over this period. Standard Chartered has been my default credit card for the past 11 years and therefore, to see them act so cold and be no help is really a shame.

I am no longer going to update my contact details with each. Instead, when I do visit their offices, it will be for the cancellation of the services. If they are not interested in my business, why should I show interest in using their services.

Enough is enough!


Marriott Blast & Failing War on Terror

Bomb Blast at Marriott

Bomb Blast at Marriott

Make no mistake, the war on terror is a humongous failure. Those who continue to deny it are living in a fools paradise. Those who still believe that they can “smoke the enemy out” and “bomb them to stone ages” are nothing but disconnected from ground reality. This Saturday, the 1000 tonne bomb blast at Marriott Hotel Islamabad has once again proven that we are no safer today than we were in 2001. In fact, today, we are in a much worse condition than we were eight years ago.

The enemy is still out there and is far more stronger than it was at the beginning of the millennium. The irony of the situation is that it is the direct result of our failed policies on “war on terror” that has led to the strengthening of Al-Qaeda and the spread of Talibanism the world over. No place in the world is safe today from their reach.

Atrocities committed in Bagram and Guantanamo base have further worsened the situation. We call Alqaeda the bad guys. But if we begin to act like the enemy and commit atrocities at our own makeshift jails, we are no different from them. This unfortunate message has reached the wider audience diminishing our credibility to police the world.

On September 11, 2001, over three thousand innocent lives were lost. Today, the war on terror has caused disruption in the innocent lives of millions spread over various countries. Over 1.5 million Iraqis have emigrated out of the country since 2003. Over 200,000 Pakistanis have been forced out of their homes and made refugees in their own country by incessant Allied bombing on civilians. These people never supported AlQaeda, yet they are bearing the brunt of the war with little or no support from the rest of the world. These forgotten victims of war on terror are beginning to see the Allies as yet another untrustworthy tyrannical partner.

If we want to win the war on terror, we need to build bridges and not blow them away with so called “smart bombs”. We need to take steps to engage them into meaningful dialog and not beat the crap out of them in secret prisons spread all over the world. We need to make extra effort to understand the root cause of the problems and not just try to carpet bomb the whole Middle East.

Remember, everyone out there wants peace. No one wants war. But if we thrust it upon them, then we must be ready to face the consequences. The retaliations will be swift and brutal. And with each passing day when we fail to win the hearts and minds of the impoverished people of the region, we create new enemies and recruits for our enemies. Each day, our failed policies are breeding new Al-Qaeda members. And each day, the world is becoming more unsafe for us to live in.

Australian Cricketers Lust for Cash

Greed and Lust has no boundaries in Cricket

Greed and lust finds no boundaries in Cricket

Here is a team that refused to play in Sri Lanka during the 1996 cricket world cup due to remote security concerns. Australians have also avoided to tour Pakistan for over 10 years citing various security concerns. Recently, they were at the forefront of refusing to play in the Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan again citing vague security concerns. Despite the fact that a successful and safe Asia Cup was held there just weeks before their refusal.

But today, the lure and lust for cash has changed all that. India, which is experiencing a surge in violence and terrorist activities not unlike Pakistan, is now being considered by them a complete “safe” country to visit and play.

Its not just huge amount of cash that each player will earn against match fees, but also the numerous personal endorsements and lucrative advertisements that they will feature has over ridden everything else.

With such rampant greed and lust, it is quite disheartening to see, ICC sitting idle and not doing anything. Letting players and countries chose tours on their own citing whimsical double standards and has made the cricketing governing body a laughing stock.

ICC MUST get strict on such issues and make sure that such tours continue as planned.

As regards Australian crickets lust for cash, it can only be said, that they are losing fans faster than they can accumulate cash from around the world.

>It’s the Team, Stupid!

>Great companies always have a great team behind it.

If you are starting out, make sure you form a strong and well balanced team. Choosing a room mate or a good friend is never good criteria to form a startup team. Evaluate the strengths of each before making the final decision.

Most of us out there believe that having a great product is enough and the team does not matter. It may seem like that for people starting out, but in reality, only those companies go the distance which have an exceptional team behind them. The others just simply fizzle out. Investors understand this phenomenon and therefore, make it a point to always meet up with the team and do a thorough evaluation of individuals behind the idea. They understand the power of a strong team which can even make a mediocre products become sensational.

Employees tend to look at their managers as role models. Having a weak leader would mean dissatisfied employees or even worse creating a culture of under performance. Just like investors, even customers tend to shy away from companies with weak team players. No one likes to do business with companies that may not be strong enough to work with them. Therefore, make sure you do not let the weak linger on for too long. The longer you have them in your team, the more it will hurt you.

Intel, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, Cisco, Sun Microsystems are just some of the examples of companies with a great team starting out. The stories of their founders are told and retold all over the world, not because they were exceptional individuals, but that they worked together as a great team to deliver on ideas and innovation which were far ahead of their time. All of them had competitors starting out and companies that mimicked their design and philosophy. But decades later, they have survived as market leaders in their areas of expertise while others with mediocre teams have fizzled out.

So when starting out or hiring individuals, make sure you have the right mix of the team. That is one important decision that you will make to lengthen the time of your company. Remember, you are as strong as your weakest member.

2000 Visits and counting

Yes, its official now. My wordpress blog here has received over 2000 visitors since the beginning of this year. That’s not all. It took me well over 7 months just to cross my first 1000 hits (July 21). But just 50 more days to accumulate the next 1000 (Sept 9).

I can attribute this growth to many factors, but the most important of them was getting my blogs written up on other major blogs including some of the more popular ones like Green & White and Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. This has brought in a stream of new visitors to my blog and has made it possible for me to cross 2000 hits.

The other aspect that any active blog achieves in its growth is content. Now I have over 25 unique items in my blog and most of them get some hits each day through various searches and link backs.

I also contribute regularly to various blogs (a list of blogs that I contribute to can be found on ) but this is fast becoming the most popular one of them all.

Thank you readers for your visits. Please keep reading the stuff I write about, and I will keep posting new and interesting items regularly.

Ramadan Mubarak!

Another year, and another Ramadan. Once again the month of blessings is here. It is a month when Muslims around the world fast from dawn till dusk. Yes, we not only abstain from eating and drinking throughout the month, but also do not use profanity in our language, avoid doing anything that is not just and control our emotions so that we do not hurt anyone. It is also a time for us to control our vices and spread good among the people. Yes, not just to the Muslim Ummah but to every living thing on earth. We also observe peace with absolutely no violence. That means, if there are any wars, we take a break and avoid fighting.

So join us in celebrating this holy month and share a meal with when we break our fast. Everyone is most welcome to join us observing it for the next 30 days.