LBC: Hari ng Padala Indeed!

When my brother went home last March, I asked him to bring me back some malongs. The plan was to buy it at dirt cheap prices at home and sell it here (in Manila) for an astronomical profit. It was (to me) a perfect money making scheme.

When I got hold of the malongs, I posted advertisements on two popular auction websites. I initially priced the malongs at a hundred and fifty pesos potentially earning me a profit of almost fifty percent. I mistakenly thought that the sour reception my malongs received had to do with the price. I foolishly lowered and lowered the price to the point of just breaking even. After a few weeks, I didn't give any attention to it anymore, content on the fact that the malongs will serve as unique gifts to the people here. But out of nowhere, I received a text message from a certain Steve in Tampa expressing desire to buy the malongs. He has a friend vacationing in the Visayan Islands at that time and he would be buying the malongs for that friend as a pasalubong (and that word came from him) when she returns to the US. I was very happy to oblige.

Even with my Air21 nightmare, I was willing to use their service again, their very competitive prices in mind. To my dismay though, Cadiz city was out of their delivery area. The result was a humongous delivery fee. More than four hundred freakin' pesos was being asked of me! They suggested sending it to Bacolod city and making the consignee pick it up there. However, I knew that that plan wouldn't work, the foreigner in mind. So I went to the next best option, LBC. I initially asked them if it was within their delivery area. Fortunately it was and I was only charged two hundred and thirty pesos.

A few weeks passed and I never heard anything from Steve. I emailed him asking whether his friend already received the malongs but he said that he doesn't know and he never heard anything from his friend. Apparently, friends don't talk to each other in America. So I went to LBC and asked them what the delivery status was. They said that they didn't know (which was a puzzlement) but that it was probably still in their Cadiz city branch office. I was ready to lash out at them at that moment. I mean imagine a shipping company not having any means of knowing whether a particular parcel had already been delivered or received. Don't they talk among themselves as well? I then demanded that my package be shipped back to Manila and be returned to the sender. They told me that there would be a charge of two hundred thirty pesos on my part to have that done. They suggested that I first ask the consignee whether it had been received already.

A week after I went back to their office explaining that the consignee never received the package (the truth though was that I don't even have any way to contact the consignee) and I would like the package shipped back to Manila and returned to me. They then tried to call their branch office in Cadiz city. After waiting for a couple of minutes, I decided to just come back some other time since I was running late for work. The LBC employee asked me for my contact number and promised to text me for updates.

At that point, I was very impressed. Talk about taking ownership! I don't think a lot of people would have done that, most would just have let me come back a different time (when they're not on duty). And again taking ownership is a very critical part of customer service that I don't think many people have so I just marvel at the people who have it.

I came back two days after to follow up on the case. I was informed by the LBC employee that the package had already been delivered after all. I asked for a proof of delivery but they couldn't offer any since none was requested in the first place (which was fair). They offered another way to prove the receipt of the package but I declined, happy and satisfied with the way they handled everything.

LBC is indeed the Hari ng Padala (just devoid of a more precise tracking system). Aside from the marvelous and very professional customer service I experienced from their employees, I also marveled at the fact that they were able to deliver the package in the first place. The shipping address that was given to me by Steve was a very vague one. It didn't even have any house number or a street. All it had was the name of a community.

As a kid I witnessed how dedicated LBC deliverymen are. I see how they develop rapport with people from the communities they visit that they'd know where a package with an undeliverable address should be delivered.

More than being the Hari ng Padala, LBC lives to deliver.

Lessons learned?

1. Sometimes you really need to shell out more cash for better service.
2. Never include free shipping again (or maybe just Metro Manila)!
3. Malongs/clothing articles often do not sell like hot pancakes as items like cheap electronics do, so never reprice impulsively.
4. Advertise, advertise, and advertise!

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