Friday, December 28, 2012

Singtel happy to know about Fara's good work

Singtel has acknowledged my friend Lulin Reutens' feedback -- through this blog -- on the wonderful service that she had received from one of its counter staff.
     In an email yesterday, Ms Lina Yap, the telco's Associate Director, Customer Management, Consumer Operations, said:
     "Thank you for taking the time to give us your positive feedback     "We are pleased that Ms Fara has served you well by delivering quality customer service to valued customers like yourself.
     "We appreciate your feedback as it allows us to reward and motivate our staff to achieve even higher standards.
     "Your appreciation has been conveyed to her and she will be recognized for her efforts. We are certain that your words will inspire her towards maintaining and achieving even higher levels in customer experience.
     "We thank you for your continued support of SingTel and look forward to being of service to you always.''

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Thumbs up for Fara of Singtel

        Lulin Reutens wrote to me today to sing the praises of a Singtel employee whom she encountered recently.
       "Whoever is the supervisor of Fara, a Singtel counter staff at ComCentre, should give her at least a big Christmas bonus if not a big increment!" Lulin says.
       "Fara was patient and meticulous in helping my husband and me to upgrade our service to the new fibre optic system, and renewed my husband's phone contract with a free new phone.
       "My phone was not due for renewal for another two months but a quick word with her manager and I got an iPhone5 without paying the penalty for early cancellation of the old contract.
       "Throughout the two-hour-long process, Ms Fara was friendly, cheerful and patient in explaining the different options and waiting for us to make our choices, as well as explaining the many documents I had to sign.
       "Not once did her smile droop, and it was a genuine smile, too! And she had started at her job just four months earlier! She knew her stuff well and spoke good, clear English without a hint of frustration, impatience or annoyance.
       "Serving us caused her to miss lunch with her colleagues when they came to find out if she could leave.
       "I apologised for making her miss her appointment but she brushed it off good-naturedly, as though I am doing her a favour by being at her counter."
       Lulin says Ms Fara, who hails from the Philippines, is the kind of foreign talent Singapore needs badly.
       "She should train Singapore sales staff on the meaning of good service -- how to keep a smiling, cheerful demeanour so the experience is a pleasant one for the customer, even when dealing with annoying paper work and bureaucracy.
       "Thank you, Ms Fara."
       Wow, that's something coming from my old friend Lulin who, I know, was a strict supervisor while she was working with me many  years ago and did not lavish  unnecessary praises on undeserving subordinates when it came to staff appraisals.


Friday, December 14, 2012

StarHub springs a surprise -- go reconfigure yourself!

It's been awhile since I have blogged about StarHub and its deteriorating service. My friend, Irene Hoe, who had numerous exchanges with the telco, is totally exasperated and has given up complaining.

My last feedback to the telco about its unfriendly website a few months ago, did not get response. I had wanted to use my points to offset my monthly subscription fee but could not find a telephone number to call despite scrutinising its website.

I wrote an email to its corporate communications people to give them the feedback, but they did not have the courtesy to acknowledge and reply.

Today, after returning home from lunch, I had a big surprise from the telco informing me that it was doing something which an IT-deficient person like me did not quite understand.

This following is part of the message that flashed on my screen when I logged on to the system...

Auto DNS Configuration

"Dear Customer,

Your PC/router DNS settings is currently configured to link to our decommissioned DNS server, and thus being re-directed to this webapge.

Please note that as your PC/router has been set to manual DNS settings, your internet access will be affected and must be re-configured to automatic DNS selection in order to restore normal internet access to your computer.

If you are not using a router or gateway in your home, please skip to the steps on configuring automatic DNS settings on your computer.

If you are using a router or gateway in your home, please disconnect your computer from the router/gateway and connect directly to your cable-modem. Ensure that you follow-thru with a reboot of the modem.

If you are still not able to access the internet via direct connection to your cable-modem after the reboot, please go to steps to configure automatic DNS settings on your computer.

If you are able to access the internet via direct connection to your cable-modem, your computer is already setup with automatic DNS settings.

However, if you are still unable to access the internet after reconnecting back the router, you will need to re-configure your router from manual to automatic DNS settings: usually by logging into the router's web configuration/management page.

Please refer below for the contact details of some popular router vendors' technical helpdesk, who can assist you in the re-configuration..."

This last paragraph really took the cake -- StarHub is asking me to contact the router vendor for help to reconfigure my computer settings!!!

After I read the notice, I tried to stay calm as I knew that blowing my top over a bunch of morons would not help me access my Internet.

I tried as best as I could to digest and understand what the telco was asking me to do. I decided to give it try and managed to finish every bit of the things that I was asked to do, ending with "flushing your DNS resolver cache."

But, unfortunately, it did not work. So I called up 1633 reluctantly. It took sometime before I got to speak to "WQ", who helpful and pleasant.

He got me to repeat what I had just done -- plus a little more. But it was without any success.

WQ decided it would have to do a 'house call' before the problem could be resolved.

When the StarHub technician, Anuar, came at 7 pm, he had no clue what I was telling him because no one had briefed him about the problem.

He was surprised to see the notification on my computer screen. Apparently, the telco had sent it out to its customers without first infoming its own staff about the reconfiguration plan.

To Anuar's credit, he did some tests on my router while, at the same time, rang headquarters to find out how to resolve the snag.

Soon, he realised that he had to plug into the router to do the reconfiguration. With detailed instructions from HQ, he managed to complete his job successfully,

Although I am happy to get my internet connections back after a few hours, I am not pleased with StarHub management and would like them the following questions:

1. Before they cut the internet connections, why weren't its customers given notice about its decommissioned server and the need to reconfigure the settings?

2. Why does it take its customers for granted by assuming that they would be able to perform the settings themselves?

3. Again, why does it take its customers for granted by asking them to contact the router vendors for technical assistance? Surely, this is the job of the telco?

4. Why did it not brief its technicians about its reconfiguration plans so that they would be better informed and thus be able to cope with the task ahead?

I hope Montefiore and his mighty men (and women) will have the courtesy, this time, to give us a response!!!


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

UOB imposes $150 annual fee for Overdraft Line

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has decided it will charge customers who use its Overline Line of credit an annual fee of $150.

Although I have an arrangement to use this credit, I have not done so for
donkey years.  However, I still object to this arbitrary imposition of a fee that simply has no justification whatsoever.

Why should there be an annual fee when the bank already charges interest on customers who activates the credit line?  There is absolutely no service involved, so what is the rationale for having such a fee.

I think it is clearly a case of having its cake and eating it, too!!!

I called DBS Bank today to enquire whether it imposes such a fee and was told that it does not.  What's more annoying was that the prime rate-plus
interest quoted by DBS was lower than that UOB is charging me.

In its letter to me, UOB says: "This fee will be debited from your account in June each year for as long as the Bank continues to extend ths Overdraft Line of credit.

"In the event of insufficient funds in your debiting account, the annual fee will be charged against your line of credit and the amount subject to interest."

Wow! I think it is time to start looking for another bank.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Poor service at La Nonna

     My friend, Aloysius, was totally peeved by the service of an Italian restaurant recently as it totally spoilt a happy occasion for him and his family.
     I encouraged him to write to me.  The following is his account of the incident:

    "If anyone is thinking of having a meal at the La Nonna Italian restaurant in Namly Place, he/she had better think twice.
     I was there on 30 Nov for lunch and could not believe how any respectable restaurant could give such shitty service and hope to get away with it.
     It was my younger daughter's birthday celebration and she was hosting the lunch.
    Altogether there were 10 people. We scheduled lunch at 1.00 pm as some could not make it earlier. When we arrived, only four or five tables were occupied and some had already finished their meals.
     There was only one waitress going about her job and there was a guy whom I presumed was the superviser or manager. We sat there for a while and tried to attract the waitress' attention to come and take our orders. But it was not too successful!
     We waited for another while before she finally came.  Eight of us ordered from the a la carte menu while two decided to have the set lunch.
     The first course came and, after a long interval when most of
us got our main course, my son who ordered a risotto had to send it back to the kitchen twice  -- the first one was salty but the second one was worse. It was only the third one that was satisfactory.
     Meanwhile,  my elder daughter who had ordered a pizza from the set menu for her main course, sat waiting patiently. Everyone else was finishing their food and here she was still waiting
for her pizza.
      She called the waitress no less than three times to see what was happening and each time she came back to say that it was coming but it never came.
      By this time, everyone had finished his/her food. My daughter was furious and decided to go into the kitchen to see what was the cause of the delay. 
     To her dismay, she saw an uncooked pizza on the kitchen table
which was supposed to have gone into the oven a long time ago.The chef did not even acknowledge that there was a screw-up.
     When the pizza finally came, she decided to send it back to the
kitchen as she was no longer hungry, being in a very bad mood.
     My younger daughter, the host, was thoroughly embarrassed that someone she invited had to be put through such an ordeal and on her birthday of all days.
     We all left without ordering dessert or coffee. We made sure that one set lunch was not included in the bill.
     Walking out of the restaurant, I passed the guy whom I had presumed was the supervisor. He looked at me arrogantly without a word of apology as if saying “you had lousy service, so what?”
      It was past 2.30 pm when we left the restaurant. In fact, the restaurant was empty except for our table at around 2 o'├žlock.
      I believe this restaurant is a member of the Senso Restaurant group in Club Street, a restaurant with a fine reputation and which I had dined there on a number of occasions in the past.
     I hope the Senso management  knows what this little restaurant in the suburbs is doing to kill their reputation."