Friday, January 8, 2010

Hello Starhub...don't waste my time

I have always told my friends about the first-rate service that I get from Starhub. However, with my latest experience, I am not sure whether I would dare to do it again.

The main reason is the difficulty that I now encounter whenever I try to contact them for one kind of service or another. I used to be able to call a number and get to speak to friendly service staff like Maya, Bonnie and William.

This is not possible now because, for some inexplicable reason, that line of communication has been discontinued. That "special number", I must point out, was not given to me. It was recorded on my mobile when I was talking to them two years ago about a handphone I was considering buying. So I took the opportunity to use this channel whenever I needed to get in touch with them as it was very convenient.

With that line cut off, I have no choice now but to call the hotline, 1633, and listen to the recorded voice of to a woman who keeps telling me to "hold the line, your call is important to us, we will be with you shortly."

The unfortunate thing, as I discovered many times, is that my call is so important that very often I do not end up speaking to "a real person". The last time this happened was last Tuesday evening.

I called 1633 at 9 p.m. as I wanted to report a faulty set-top box and have it replaced. As usual, that woman's voice came on -- and droned continously for what seemed like eternity.

I must confess that I do not have the patience of a saint, but this time, instead of hanging up after a few minutes, I let it go on as I wanted to see how long it would take before I got a chance to speak to a customer service officer.

But there was no such luck. Sharp at 9.15 pm., the woman's voice suddenly announced that the service had ended for the day. I couldn't protest there and then even if I had wanted to. However, she was kind enough to ask that I leave my contact number so that someone could call me back.

So much for being an important caller and that I would be attended to shortly.

Starhub did return my call the next day, but only after I had made another call to report my problem.

To be fair, the only gripe that I have with the telco is the ability to get through to its service people quickly so that I do not have to waste precious time. I have absolutely no complaint with its service personnel whenever they come to my house to do their work as these people are usually very polite and helpful.

I would also like to clarify that the time-wasting problem arising from the use of recorded telephone voices is not a monopoly of Starhub. Many large organisations in Singapore have also resorted to using this type of technology and their customers are facing the same problem of getting through as well.

I would like to suggest to Starhub to encourage its customers to use the email to communicate whatever problems they have instead of relying on just the 1633 hotline. I am sure that would help clear the logjam which we have been encountering.

In the meantime, I will hold back my award of a BOOQUET to the telco, but will keep monitoring its services.
**** LATEST: A few days after the set-top box was replaced, another problem cropped up --- there was an error in the smart-card. I called 1633 again. This time I got through without much waiting. A pleasant customer service officer named Chanti attended to me. The smart-card was replaced a few hours later. I was impressed.


  1. Bouquet to Starhub for its quick reply to my complaint. In its email to me, it says:

    "...Thank you for submitting your feedback online on 10 January 2010.

    "We thank you for taking the time to write in and share with us your
    views on the ways to improve our services. We are sorry for any
    inconvenience this may have caused you.

    "Regarding your feedback on our customer service hotline, we would
    like to assure you that customer service has always been a top
    priority for StarHub.

    "We wish to share that our call centre has been faced with an increase
    in activity recently. StarHub is aware of the situation and continues
    to monitor the level of service closely.

    "We certainly value your call and would like to assure you that
    measures are being taken to maintain our service standards. We
    apologise for the inconvenience it caused you. We assure all our
    customers that we are attending to their calls as soon as we are able

    "StarHub is committed to quality customer service and strives
    continuously for service excellence. We assure you that we constantly
    monitor the call queue and have allocated our resources to maximise
    efficiency and minimise your waiting time.

    "From our records, we noted that our service personnel had went down
    to your premise and attended your StarHub TV issue on 6 January 2010.
    We would appreciate it if you could inform us should the issue
    continue to persist and we will assist you further.

    "If you have any other questions on our services, please email us at
    this address or fax in to 6720 5000.

    Best regards

    Tan Jin Hong
    Customer Affairs."

  2. Apart from waiting to get hold of a customer service personnel (which usually takes a long time)I had this experience recently. I received a call from someone stating that she's from Starhub (a telemarketeer no doubt)stating that my annual contract for my broadband services had expired in October and Starhub was offering me renewal with a 10% discount and free online tv of seven channels for three months after which if I would like to continue they would charge me $25 per month but if I wish to discontinue I would have to advise them before the three months was up. My first reaction was how is it that Starhub was calling me after the contract had already expired for more than two months.The girl wasn't able to say why but kept asking if I was going to renew. I asked her several other questions pertaining to the renewal but she was of no help. I finally said go ahead and renew at the terms quoted. A short while later I received another call from the same girl who told me apologetically that my contract had in fact been already renewed. I was totally taken aback as no one has ever made a prior call to advise me of the expiry and the possible renewal. I then looked up my December billing and discovered that the contract had in fact been renewed with all the new terms and additional features which the girl had indicated. As my monthly bills for this is automaticaly charged to my credit card I don't usually scrutinise the statements. So really my beef is how can the telco not alert subscribers in advance of the expiry and renewal terms and arbitrarily proceed to implement the renewal.This is not the end of my story however!!!.

    Since I have now seven tv channels online for free (for three months from date of my contract renewal)I thought I should use it. I therefore duly looked up the website to try and gain access to the tv channels. I tried several times to gain access but unsuccessfully and therefore called 1633 for assistance. After the inevitable long wait I managed to speak to the customer service personel. We spent about half hour going through the various steps in front of my computer with no succces. It was just not possible to connect as did my individual effort earlier on. He thought the problem was my router but I told him I don't have a router as I am using a modem. He instructed me to test the modem which was satisfactory. He finally gave up and said that he would have to refer the problem to an engineer who would call me up - when? he really won't know.

    A call came through a few days later from someone from Starhub to enquire if the problem had been resolved. I said "no". He asked me if I was using a router and I said "no". I use a modem. He said ok and that was the end of the conversation. Another call came in again a few days later from a different person. Same questions - nothing happened. Following this I left for HK for a few days and returned on 19 Jan. The following day someone from Starhub called again to enquire if the problem has been solved. I didn't want to be rude to him and just said that the problem has been there for about two weeks and they are still there. Will it ever get resolved? This whole episode is really bizarre and is like a page out of a comic play. I have been extremely patient and if Starhub takes my patience for granted they are not worth my patronage and I may take my custom elsewhere but it will be a great pity as I have been their customer for nearly ten years.

  3. Starhub should really re-look its joke of a Rewards system. Not only is there nothing much other than Starhub services to redeem, they make it impossible for their customers to use their Rewards points to redeem some of the paltry 'rewards' for services registered under the names of their family members. If that is the case, this fact should be prominently highlighted on their website, instead of having customers waste time trying to redeem 'rewards' that are simply not available to them, heaps of points notwithstanding!