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SingTel Mio Sucks

November 28, 2009

My Mio which unfortunately links my home phone and internet breaks down all so frequently..over the last few months, the technician had to come once a month.

Arranging for technical is hell.   First a long wait for someone to answer the call…averaging 15-30 mins.   Diagnosing and fixing an appointment another 20-30 mins.  It takes a bit of shouting before one can get a technician within 24 hours. …otherwise its 3-4 days within a telephone line and internet connection.

SingTel assures me that I am an isolated problem and have waived some of fees as a compensation. However I know of many people with such problems. The repairmen tells me so…they are all so harassed, so much so that I do not even want to complain about how smelly they are.  I pity them as they have to rush around and work really long hours.

The SingTel call center staff are well trained and are polite and efficient in handling problems…other than a few obviously foreigners whose English is quite hard to understand.

They all try so hard…but the system really sucks and there is little they can do in their position

Its really so strange…a world class company giving less than 3rd world service in their own country…  and serving their own people with cheap low cost labor from 3rd world countries.

Where in the World has Corporate Responsibility gone to?

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Service Excellence in a Recession

June 14, 2009

Haven’t been updating the Blog lately for obvious reasons. Service sucks everywhere.  I just do not want to get all negative complaining…not would it do any good.

So here’s just a quick update

In Singapore, queues at banks, hospitals are longer.  You really have to work hard these days to get a waiters attention.  Bus waits are forever.

Taxis availability seems to have improved. I guess more unemployed or under-employeds are taking to the streets to earn some extra bucks.  However Costs of taxi fares have grown significantly…with extra surcharges and meters that speed up when in a traffic jams.  The sad part is that one is meeting more taxi drivers with bad attitudes.  They will take you for a ride over a longer route if you are not careful telling you that there is less traffic jams.

Many, probably retrenched executives and failed businessmen display a serious chip on their shoulder. When I complained to one recently on how he dangerously swung from one lane to another, he told me I could get out if I was not happy with his service.

I am still looking for a service which has improved with the recession.  If someone knows of one. do let me know.

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Downturn..What Banks Should Do?

November 18, 2008

This morning, Sunday 9th March, I woke up to a number of surprises. There has been an upset in the Malaysian Elections. The opposition has gained more seats in both the Parliament and the State Council then most people would have expected. Some reporters referred to it as a political tsunami in Malaysia. English football giants Manchester United and Chelsea were knocked out in the FA Cup by relatively weak teams. Stock markets around the world remain highly volatile.

Uncertainty has become real and is touching peoples alive everywhere much more than it did 6 months ago.

It is important for businesses to recognise this sudden change of mood when transacting and communicating with customers. Thi s is specially so for businesses that is involved in providing advise and counselling like financial services.

Financial advisors are jumping quickly on the Sales bandwagon to sell products with the theme of “How to Protect Wealth?” and “How to save Money” rather than “How to Make Money?”

To a small investor like me, it is a little disconcerting that the same people that told me to buy funds and stocks six month ago did not emphasised to me the need for asset protection until now when stock prices are well into the slide.

I am also disappointed that my many financial counsellors who constantly called me during good times hardly contact me anymore. Maybe they feel that they have nothing to sell to me.

These businesses are failing to realise that it is during periods of economic downturn, when people are uncertain and depressed, that the best opportunities exist for building customer relationships. One to one, direct communication is of utmost important. Financial planning companies must ensure that each and every customer, big or small be contacted personally and is assisted in taking stock of their financial positions. Broad PR types messages over the TV or other broad media will do little to comfort or build relationships with customers unless it is one that provide an absolute benefit or a guarantee.

This may seem quite difficult for many retail banks as:

1. They have mass marketed to a large number of customers, most of whom they may have little knowledge about or relationship with.

2. Financial Planners are highly incentivated for sales performance. Under such compensation system there is little reason for a staff to contact customers except for sales.

3. Financial Planners may have been trained to sell but not adequately trained to provide counselling in a downturn situation.

Fortunately for  investors and financial advisors,  the markets have not performed as badly as the global markets, The Shenzhen component index which was in the 17,000s at December 2007 is now in the 14,000s, and the Shanghai SSE index appears to still be on an uptrend though losing steam and uncertainty and greater volatility has already set in.

There is still time and it is timely for retail banks and financial planners to gear themselves, take initiative and adopt policies that will allow them to face and properly educate their customers if the situation does get worse. As we braced ourselves to implement these customer services strategies, it is important to bear in mind that ultimately customer service is about creating comfort and happiness to other people and that in itself will give us long term rewards

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Emergency Hotlines that aren’t

March 16, 2008

I called the emergency number 6778 8888 found in our local telephone directory to report an electrical breakdown, only to be told that I should 18002755555, as I living in an HDB apartment. The answering was OK and I was assured that a service person would be available within the hour.  An hour and half later there was no news, I called the 1800 line again. The person on the phone sounded surprise, “they have not arrived let me call them for you”  I was shocked by his response and asked him what kind of emergency is this if you cannot monitor whether your service vendors have attended to a call.  In frustration I asked that he arranged for the service person to call me instead to let me have a more definite time. I then left for lunch.

As I did not receive any call for the next half hour, I decided to arrange for my neighbourhood electrician to do the job, before the food in my refrigerator gets bad. Besides the home telephone is now also down since I unwisely switch to the MIO (another real scam)  

The neighbourhoold electrician was to my surprise, able to send a team within 15 minutes.  It makes me wonder why the Telephone Book will publish an emergency service that doesn’t work, or cannot even beat the standard of a neighbour electrical shop…or why would someone purport to provide an emergency service when they actually do not the the resources to to do so.  Is there some unfair competition going on?…some collusion to unfairly channel business for particular vendors?

 There must be some public recourse, other than a civil suit against such errant vendors and publishers . Before that,  perhaps some agreed service standards should be drawn out for businesses advertising themselves as emergency services.  From my knowledge no such standards exist in Singapore.  If so this is quite a shame for a country that claims to be amongst the first world league.

  

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Downturn…What Banks Should Do

March 11, 2008

This morning, Sunday 9th March, I woke up to a number of surprises. There has been an upset in the Malaysian Elections. The opposition has gained more seats in both the Parliament and the State Council then most people would have expected. Some reporters referred to it as a political tsunami in Malaysia. English football giants Manchester United and Chelsea were knocked out in the FA Cup by relatively weak teams. Stock markets around the world remain highly volatile.

Uncertainty has become real and is touching peoples alive everywhere much more than it did 6 months ago.

It is important for businesses to recognize this sudden change of mood when transacting and communicating with customers. This is especially so for businesses that is involved in providing advise and counseling like financial services. Read the rest of this entry »

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Singapore Public Transport Revamp

January 19, 2008

Bus commuters in Singapore must be in disbelief that there is finally an admission from the authorities that the current operators are doing a poor job and are putting vehicles and profits above people (commuters and their staff).   It was good to see Transport Minister Raymond Lim put on a brave, though somewhat nervous face to proclaim that there will be improvements.

I share his anxiety.  I am sure this is not an easy task for him and his team. Read the rest of this entry »

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More Stinking Bank Services

December 26, 2007

The only excuse I can think of is that today is Boxing Day 2007.  I called the business banking center of OCBC bank today.  After the usual voice response, I asked to speak to a operator as none of the categories fit.

Once again I got the usual,  “All operators and engaged please leave contact and bank account number and we will call back” but this time it outdid itself with a quick follow-up messag to the effect, “We’re sorry this bank officers mail box is full, please call back”.

To think that OCBC is one of Singapore’s leading Bank with ambitions of globalisation and Singapore is suppose to be a leading global financial center. How can we let such carelessness and poor service continue unchecked?

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How Bank Services often stinks

June 19, 2007

Each time I visit a bank I can always pick up areas of customer service deficiencies which often indicate procedural and system’s issues rather than deficiencies relating to a staff’s lack of skill or positive attitude. The following is a story of my last visit to a bank.

Yesterday I visited the PostBank in Singapore together with my elderly father to make some account changes. The queue lining up at the counters were fairly long. It was a small branch with a simple layout. There were about 6 counters and a row of desks staff by an officer.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Confusion with electronic bus cards

February 22, 2007

I just discovered today that my father going on 92, but still fit and able to take a bus to town has been somewhat confused about the use of his electronic bus card. He complained today that it beeped everytime, and the bus driver told him to be careful about his usage. When I checked the card at the Newton MRT they said there was nothing wong. On checking the transactions, I noticed he had many transactions, much more than I had expected. Read the rest of this entry »

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White lies could be a killer

February 21, 2007

When I first became involved in serving customers as a encyclopeadia salesmen and later as a trainee manager in SIA, I was told by superiors that sometimes we have tell a white lie to keep customers happy. Today we all accept that this is a bad principle. However many customer service and sales people still practice this flagrantly.

Recently my mum was admitted to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore. As usual she had to wait at Ward 25, a Read the rest of this entry »