Monday, March 20, 2017

Len gives Devi of URA a bouquet

My friend Len makes it a point to show his appreciation whenever he comes across service staff who makes an effort to understand his problem and feedback.

He wrote this note (below) to me to convey his "thank you" to the URA lady who attended to him.  I had earlier alerted the statutory board to his feedback in my blog.

What's more sweet of Len is his offer of our symbolic bouquet 🌹🌹🌹 to that pleasant lady. 
URA Website Saga

Thank you for helping me get the attention of the URA concerning their website.

A rather nice lady named Durga Devi called and we went through the various steps I took to try to pay my parking fine. She too, expressed surprise, at the lack of helpfulness of the website and the inordinate time it appeared to take to download info to their data base. Point taken by her and I believe she will nudge the system into efficiency.

What impressed me was her pleasant attitude and the genuine attempt at getting to the bottom of the problem. We didn't solve it at the time, but I'm sure she will give it a good go.

May I offer a bouquet for this attitude displayed and say how pleasant it is to deal with officialdom that tries hard to fix the problem and not dive under the bush of excuses.

Many thanks,

Leonard McCully
20th March 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Unfriendly URA website sends Len on a merry-go-round; then he discovers AXS

My friend, Leonard McCully, will not forget to display his parking coupon the next time he goes to Amoy Street.  He learnt his lesson after being given a runaround -- twice -- when he tried to pay a composition fine online.

Here's his story: "I foolishly parked at Amoy Street last Sunday (March 5) after church and failed to  display a parking coupon thinking it was free parking on Sundays. 

The attendant came and left a ticket on my car. No excuses, I should have put a coupon up.

Now the fun and games started. On the notice was the offer of composition at $30 and failure to pay within 7 days, the threat of an enhanced penalty would take place.

I went into the URA website Went through the steps and got absolutely stuck when the computer said my notice number was incorrect. Several reattempts and no joy. So I called the number given and got the runaround to go back to this unhelpful website. 

So I called the hotline and a nice fellow instructed me to try the website again in two days as their system may not have been updated. He said it usually took two days to enter the data. Hmm. Then why the threat of action after 7 days??, Why not 7+2 days??

Right, I waited three days to make sure and again I was given the runaround by this unhelpful website yet again. I waited another day and tried again and this was Thursday. My 7 days was fast expiring as I anticipated they don’t do any work on Saturday and Sunday. So on Friday I went back to the hotline and another nice fellow heard me out and suggested I get to an AXS machine to pay.

I found that rather inconvenient and said that there ought to be a more friendly way of doing things. Then he told me I could download the AXS application and do it from there. 

Eureka!! In 5 minutes I was done. Thirty dollars left my bank account and I was done. I guess I should have looked at the rear of the penalty notice and I would have spotted the AXS  pathway. Did you know you can pay for lots of stuff on this app.

But, my issue with URA, is that their main website should be working and for that matter, their data entry should also be more efficient in this day and age where their officers scoot around with cameras and electronic tablets that should be downloaded in a jiffy, instead of two working days. Where is this efficient Singapore we proudly tout?

Wasted a lot of time. If anything, this taught me to remember to put a coupon up the next time I go to Amoy Street."

Saturday, March 11, 2017

M1-StarHub saga continues; it's the fixed-line now

The frustrations of my move from StarHub and M1 continued this morning. This time it was over my fixed-line telephone.

In my last post, Moving from StarHub to M1, meeting the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, I related my frustrations over the service I had encountered for my broadband.  But fortunately, it ended up well only because I was able to get the help of a computer-savvy friend, not the M1 contractor.

The fixed-line problem started last Thursday (March 9), a day after it was switched from one telco to another.  All the phones in the house suddenly went dead.

I called M1 to find out why.  I managed to get customer service officer Melanie on the line.
She was the officer who had called me after my first blog posting as she wanted to find out more about what had happened.

As she wasn't able to send a technician to my house, she decided to guide me on how to troubleshoot.
After what seemed like eternity, she finally gave up and said she would arrange for someone to come over to get things fixed.

She also warned me that the technician would have to charge extra if there was a need to run extra wiring.  I agreed as it seemed fair.

Come Saturday (today),  another M1 technician named Teo came, with his chubby son tagging along.  He asked me for the location of the box containing the splitter.  I didn't know and he also couldn't find it.

Later, I brought him to a room on the second floor where the old StarHub router and the new M1 Assus router were.  He simply disconnected the StarHub router, came downstairs to my computer room where the Huawei modem was, plugged a line into one of the ports and then connected it to the telephone wall socket.

He tested it and, hey presto, it worked!  Soon, all the phones were ringing.  I asked Teo what he did.
He said he just had to pull out the StarHub line that was still in the router's port.

Then came the surprise --  he said he would have to charge me $50 extra.This was in addition to   what he would be billing M1.

Was there any extra wiring done?  No.   Was he doing any extra work that was outside what he was contracted to do by M1?  I don't think so.

So what was the extra $50 for?  In his invoice, he wrote: "Install a link-up tel point at ONT".
I don't know what ONT means, but there was certainly no installation of a telephone point.

I told him that I disagreed with what he was charging, but I would still pay him as I did not want to have an argument with him. I also said that I would be bringing the matter up to M1.

And this is what I am telling M1:

1.  Your installation service sucks.  You do not know what your contractors are doing. You allow them to charge your customer for service that is supposed to be part of the contract. The first M1 contractor wanted to fix a extra router that wasn't needed. And he didn't even complete the job. The second was just doing what he was contracted to do and yet had the gall to bill me for $50.

2.  Your customer service officers are generally good but are not sufficiently empowered to ease the pain of your customers. Telling them to say, "Sorry, I know where you are coming from.." does not help. Do allow your customers to speak to someone with the authority to resolve their woes.

3.  You are understaffed.  You cannot be trying to solve technical problems through explaining to us on what to do over the telephone. Many of us are just not tech-savvy.

4.  You cannot keep reminding us about your service charge. It leaves a sour taste in the mouth. When you send a technician to our homes to look into a technical problem that is really yours to resolve, remember that this is a service that you have to provide -- if you hope to withstand the fierce competition that is at your doorstep.

As a shareholder, it is my responsibility to see that you remain tip-top...even if I have to go to your AGM to raise the issue as there seems to be no one with authority to whom I could speak to.

Maybe it would also be a good opportunity to meet up with Ms Karen Kooi. 😊