Of late I have been quite disillusioned by the deteriorating standard of service by Starhub...until I met its agent/technician Lister Wu on Sunday.
I am not saying that the telco service has changed for the better because of Lister's service. But he is the kind of serviceman that you would be lucky to meet once in a while. And Singapore could do with more of such people.
It all started with this TV receiver box called the Hubstation which Starhub gave out to its subscribers about two years ago. At that time, what the telco did not make it clear to me was that this machine was free and that it was my responsbility to look after it.
But having used it for sometime, I must say the Hubstation is a pretty neat machine. Apart from being a receiver, it is also able to record TV programmes easily, certainly much more user friendly than the Panasonic DVD player/recorder which I had bought shortly before Starhub handed out the free gift.
The Hubstation worked well for two years before things started to go wrong. Some channels started to get "scrambled" pictures while others were okay. It puzzled me because I just couldn't understand why there were such inconsistencies.
My calls to Starhub were of little help. Each time, I called 1633 to complain, I would get a variety of explanations. I was also told to try this and that.
Invariably, nothing worked.
The options put to me were: send the Hubstation to an agent in Tampines to get it checked out or get it exchanged for a HD set-top. I refused to do either as I was not sure that the Hubstation was faulty and I did not want a HD box.
To cut the story short, Starhub eventually agreed to send an agent (Lister's colleague) to my house last Tuesday (April 5) to check out the problem. I insisted that I would not pay Starhub for the service as it could not be ascertained who and what was at fault.
Kuek (the technician's name) took more than an hour to track down what he thought was the problem. He said there was just not enough power going through to the TV set. He used a new splitter and, hey presto, the pictures were clear again.
However, my joy of having a clear TV screen lasted just a day. The pixelated pictures came back the following night. That was when Lister Wu made his appearance -- at about 10 p.m. As I was not at home, he convinced my wife that a certain part in the Hubstation had to be changed.
With very little choice, she agreed and parted with $65. Before he left, he assured her that there was a guarantee should anything go wrong again. And it did --- three days later on a Saturday night.
When I told him what had happened, he was prepared to come down to fix the problem. But as it was nearing 11 p.m. I told him that it was better to do it the next day.
Come Sunday afternoon, Lister was promptly at my house. He checked the Hubstation again and was puzzled as to why the signal quality was so low. He climbed up and down, in and out before he stumbled upon the culprit that was causing all the problems -- a faulty splitter located just outside the window.
He promptly got that changed and the signal was back to normal again. Although I had missed my Sunday nap, I was happy watching Lister going about his work. He was pleasant, chatty and was able to explain clearly what exactly went wrong.
An added bonus for me was that he was a golfer and we had a good time yakking about the game. But what really impressed me about Lister was his willingness to get to the root of the problem. He could easily have told me a tall story and I would have swallowed it.
He told me how his father had taught him about the importance of providing good service --- even if he did not make money from it. By doing that, his father explained, he would earn a lot of goodwill and business would flow in naturally after that.
If you are convinced by Lister's professionalism and would like to use his service, here is his contact: Thomson c/o Haw Wah Trading Company, Block 6 Hougang, Avenue 3. Telephone: 62808176.