Customer Service

My Singnet broadband contract was up and I was entitled to re-contract with some freebies thrown in. I did not think being away from Singapore would be a problem since I remember being able to re-contract online previously. So off I went to the Singnet recontract link, log in, select the broadband plan, etc, and then lo and behold.

That was helpful (grammar aside). Same thing after multiple tries and using different browsers. 1610 obviously wasn’t a number I could use being outside of Singapore, so I went hunting for an alternative line and found it easy enough on the Singnet website (+65 6838 3899 is the Sales and General Enquiry number for Singnet for those in a similar predicament). Unfortunately it is only available from Mondays to Saturdays, 8am – 6pm and so I decided to get up earlier today so that I could call. I explained my situation to the gentleman that took my call and after verifying my particulars (name and IC number) and my choice of plan, he asked me to hold on. After a few minutes, the conversation went something like this (not verbatim obviously since I didn’t think there was a need to take notes for a simple thing like this).

Singnet: Thank you for holding, madam. Our department will notify you to confirm the re-contract.
Me: But I’m overseas. Can you call me on my overseas number?
Singnet: Can you hold on please? Let me check.
Me: Okay.
Singnet: Thank you for holding, madam. We are unable to call you internationally. We can only call you on a local line.
Me: But I’m an overseas, how can I give you a local line? Can you email me then?
Singnet: Yes we can, we will email you at your Singnet email.
Me: But I don’t use that account. (Wonders silently, why would anyone use that miserly 30mb account?)
Singnet: I’m sorry, madam, we can only email you on your Singnet email.
Me: But I have never used that account, and I don’t even know the password. (Starts getting really annoyed)

He asks me to hold again while he goes check again. We are stuck in this silly stalemate situation for a few more minutes. Then it struck me, why can’t I actually re-contract on the phone and be done with it.

Me: What is the problem actually? Why can’t I recontract now? (Exasperated)
Singnet: No Madam, you were eligible for recontract 3 months from the end of your contract, so you are eligible since April. Our department needs to contact you later to confirm the re-contract.
Me: Why can’t it be confirmed now?

I could not get an answer and we are getting absolutely nowhere. This was an international call and I had to leave for work. My frustration was now pretty obvious and to his credit, the Support Staff took down my non-Singnet email and mobile number, promising to try and get the relevant department to contact me. I didn’t think much of this and asked if it was better that I call back. He was obviously relieved, and said yes. I then asked how long it will take. “7 working days” was the answer, and at this point, I hang up so that I could get to work.

Throughout the entire conversation, the Support Staff was polite and I was not made to wait very long every time he asked that I hold the line while he goes “check”. But this was a situation where he clearly was not able or empowered to provide support to me as a customer.

Weigh these options:

  1. Agree to notify me on my non-Singnet email account which contains both my first and last names in the email ID, and risk… Sorry, I can’t think of anything that would be a risk. No sensitive details would need to be in the email. I have already identified myself to the call centre staff with my full name and IC number. I would be willing to provide any other necessary details but none were requested.

    Email: $0. Satisfied Customer: Priceless.

  2. Agree to call me on my overseas mobile number. Assuming that he/she says hi, chats about the weather and finally tells me, “Yes, madam, we have successfully processed your re-contract request. Thank you for subscribing to Singnet. Have a nice day.” it wouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

    International Call: $20 (to be generous). Impressed Customer who swears eternal loyalty: Priceless.

  3. Stonewall all my suggestions on how to contact me. Instead, expect customer to call back.

    Poor Customer Service: $0. Disgruntled Customer who blogs about her crappy experience: Priceless Worthless

Clearly, customer service is not just saying please, thank you, and good bye. It is about putting yourself in your customer’s shoes and anticipating what she/he really needs. Throughout the conversation, I was the one asking for and suggesting alternatives so that I can get what I need, with the least amount of hassle for everyone concerned. The easiest (and definitely cheapest) thing in this situation would be to just agree to send me an email for the confirmation, but apparently this was not possible.

I want to continue giving you my business Singnet, but you’re not making it easy. I don’t see how I can file and pay my taxes with ease despite not being in Singapore (kudos to IRAS), but I cannot do a simple thing like extend my broadband subscription without all the haggling on the phone.

We will see what happens when I call them again tomorrow.

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