The Singnet Saga (finale)

6 07 2009

Yep, after that long entry yesterday, here’s the conclusion of the saga that just ended not too long ago. Naturally, this time it’ll be a much shorter entry, but Singnet still never ceases to disappoint me with their ever epic service standards.

Yeah, so I was supposed to receive a call from their manager. Nothing till nearly 4pm, so I had to call them myself (again. yep!). Once again, was informed that whoever in charge has already been notified and there’s a note to my case and promised to get back before office hours ended. Ok fine, so more waiting. I thought it wouldn’t hurt. But dang, I was so wrong.

No action at all till nearly 5. Wasn’t going to risk it spilling over to another working, definitely not on 7th July. It’s really very fun to call back again. Whee, I don’t know how many staff they have, but not once I got back the same person. Haha. Yep, so this time I was promised a call within 15 minutes! Wootz, what a big statement to make by a basic staff member. Seriously, 3 working days + a few hours extension isn’t enough for them to get back to me? It wouldn’t take very long what.

Ok lah, for once they got back within a reasonable time from what they promised. Guess what? I was told the original person in charge is off duty today. Whether it was the genuine reason, or a lame excuse he came up, either way it still reflects very badly on them. Come on. What is this…? Another reason to blast them I guess. Hic.

Anyway, I was initially offered 1 month of waiver, which I would have settled for if I need not put in extra effort to close this issue today. But sorry, after having the need to really push them so hard just to get something simple resolved once more, it wasn’t enough for me =P I mean, I had to spend so much time and effort to get my problems resolved, with most of the things being done/requested/suggested to Singnet rather than the other way round, when the latter should really be the case.

After some negotiation and showing why I wasn’t pleased with the waiver offered, the guy finally relented and asked me how much I wanted. Lol. Perhaps he was in a hurry to close this matter, for whatever reason it may be, be it lessen his to-clear list, or maybe prepare to knock off from work. Lol. So, in the end I asked for 2 months waiver, and to my surprise there wasn’t much hesitation in agreeing to that. Maybe I pointed out too many misses on their part and provided some useful feedback as well. Haha, it pays to be nice yet demanding at the same time I guess. Maybe I have “levelled up” after this whole incident. Or maybe it’s just a delusion. Whatever it is, I hope this particular matter is closed for good, and Singnet does deliver its waivers, as well as really getting down to improving their service as a whole. They really have lots more to work on. Tsk tsk.

The Singnet Saga (main)

5 07 2009

Since end June, those who have me on their MSN list would have probably noticed my various rather unfriendly nicks I’ve used, though now it’s pretty much toned down now. I didn’t tell much to a number of people even though they did ask later on, mainly because I was really sick of repeating the same damn thing so many times. Ok, so I’ll be sharing some of the things here in this entry. I even added a new category just for you leh, Singnet. Don’t you feel honoured? =P

Well, it all started on a Saturday late afternoon, when I was disconnected suddenly, and no matter how I tried resolving the issue, the modem just wouldn’t connect to Singnet’s side and give me an Internet connection. Yeah, so I called the help desk and came down to 2 cases (after spending an hour on doing line test. Do they really need that long?), which would either be my modem having some functional problems, or my physical line having some issues. The latter is pretty fine with me, since it is something that is really out of my control. The first case is really quite unbelievable because I do have a spare (unopened prior to this incident) modem (same brand and model) which Singnet gave me (they have really lousy freebies you know…) when I recontracted last year. The odds of having a brand new modem having the exact same issues/symptoms in not being able to connect to the Net is going to be very low, especially when the modem isn’t some unbranded or unknown one.

Ok, so there’s a need to fix an appointment to get a technician down to check the physical line and verify on-site the exact technical issue I’m facing, since the help desk is ran out of ideas that they could help me with. I also ran out of ideas to test, after changing modem, wires, filters and restarting PC etc. Fine, by the time they were done with the line test it was already evening time, so getting a technician the next day would probably be not possible. But they scheduled me a Tuesday slot. That’s like 3 days away. After some blasting on my side they managed to somehow find a Monday slot. Not that bad now, but it’s still a pain. Any temporary support given to me in the meantime for my down time? Nope, absolutely not. The help desk could only suggest grabbing my laptop and go use wireless@sg (hello, don’t start by assuming everyone has a laptop. That is bad.) or going to a cybercafe. Ok lah, for the first visit, some waiting and helpless down time is kind of expected, so I wasn’t really that mad then, except for the first suggestion the person over the phone could come up with.

Well, so all I could do meanwhile was to wait for Monday. Luckily a friend of mine was willing to let me borrow his Broadband on Mobile for use to tide me over this short period. Really thankful to him for this =) Haha, at least I could still do some basic things on the Net.

Oh, so Monday finally came. And did I mention that the help desk personnel told me that the technician would be able to identify and resolve (read: provide a solution) the issue on the site visit because my problem seems to be “quite routine”? Perhaps that raised my expectations of the outcome a little. Yup, a technician came, without very much equipment though, since he was only carrying a small bag and a clipboard, (the bag) something like what Dom used to carry back in JC days. Right, I’m not sure what he had inside other than a 2Wire modem which he whipped out later to “test my line”. Somehow he got the Internet light up on his wonderful modem (don’t ask me how), but (both) my modems still showed no hope in connecting. So his conclusions? My modems have problem, so I have to go to refer to the vendor. I did try to reason with him nicely that a brand new modem is very unlikely to face same exact issues but he insisted I have to refer to the vendor first. I also asked him to do more checks on the line but he said the line is working fine because he can connect to the Net. I wanted to test that I really could surf the Net but he said no need and started to unplug his modem. Yea, you can imagine what that feels like.

As much as I was annoyed and angry with that technician (I’m having 2nd thoughts of regarding him as one. A disgrace to others in the same line), I believe I was already being nice and reasonable enough when requesting for the above. But I was refused or ignored. What was I do to? Become a hooligan? Sorry, but that’s not something I can do, nor do I wish to. He’s definitely not worth it. Yeah, so I had to contact the vendor myself, which I eventually did get through only to realise that they are located at one end of SG, namely IMM and closes for the day in a little over an hour by the time I got enough details on what I should do.

Knowing Singnet’s way of doing things (doesn’t take much to guess), it’s only wise to get the vendor thing out of the way ASAP, if possible on the same day so that I can try to squeeze the next step out of Singnet a day earlier or something, since they wouldn’t want to do anything about my case until I have cleared the issues of my modem(s) with the vendor. While under normal circumstances having a little over an hour is probably enough to make my way there by bus/train, I didn’t really want to risk it because it was going to be rush hour soon (knock off timing). Can’t really complain the technician came late since he came 15 minutes before the agreed time slot expired, but that still sucks, because I see that in his job sheet there were still at least a couple of places he hasn’t gone to in the same time slot. Never mind that, in the evaluation report, he wrote an earlier time on the paper, probably to cover himself better when he submits the copy to whoever in charge. Is this how they should act? After all, troubleshooting CAN have delays so it’s not that bad if you’re going to be off by a little. Perhaps he was slacking too much during the course of the day or something. But something this trivial isn’t worth my effort making my complains on, except here. So it’s a blog-exclusive or sorts. Hahaha.

Back to the vendor thing. Yup so, since I don’t own a car (nor am I licensed to drive), the fastest way would then be by taxi. Perhaps some of you might say, “what’s the rush?”, “why bother spending the $$ taking taxi?”, but as I’ve mentioned earlier, getting this issue out of the way before the working day ends is crucial in getting this whole done sooner. Yeah, so at my own expense I went down and got the modems verified to be BOTH working. They even streamed a random soccer video on YouTube to test that it was really working. Well done, the technician who didn’t listen to me really made a wrong evaluation. Yep, I was pushed nearer to boiling point.

Will be skipping the whole part about the singtel shops and branches. I visited the IMM one, then got referred to the Bukit Batok “big” branch. Not really important in this particular saga, although it does say something about the way they operate and function as an organisation. The big red company really ought to review their operations.

Reached home late, partly due to the way they run things and made me waste some time in the above mentioned paragraph. Had a quick dinner before calling help desk (again) and had to explain everything again. Even though they do make a log of the occasions I call in, I have no idea what things they log down. They seem to know I have a connection problem, but knows nothing about the details. Grr, now you might know why I was reluctant to share on msn when some of you messaged me individually. Hopefully, this is the last time I’ll be mentioning all this, in one way or another, or at worst 2nd last time. Yah after all the painful explanations and the help desk agreeing that the technician is the one at all, they said squeezing in a visit on the following day would be impossible. Earliest would be Wednesday morning. Like hello, it’s a mistake made by you and you expect me to wait?! And then I asked again, what kind of support they were going to give me in the meantime (didn’t tell them I borrowed BBoM from someone), and once again they said there’s nothing they can provide. Oh really, nothing? More like they didn’t want to, nor bother to. This is really a fault on their side and not only they refuse to somehow squeeze in some time the following day (I gave them the ENTIRE day, any time would do), they also to attempt to provide any kind of assistance to their customer.

Really a disappointment. But once again, nothing the lowly staff can do. Nor do they want to refer me to someone more senior. (Or maybe someone with higher ranks dont work at night. Who knows. I certainly don’t.). Only thing was to make sure they make a more senior and more experienced technician come down the 2nd time round. Had enough of that kind of nonsense. Heard from Zong that the first visits are done by level 1 technicians, but I think that dude is really lousy.

So again, more waiting and waiting till the next visit. Yep, so a more experienced guy really came down. Did a much better job. Called back end for assistance, but that’s why Singnet manages to screw up again. The guy on the other end actually told the technician that my area is currently experiencing downtime. Come on, spare me the BS! Down since Saturday? Only I bothered to pester the hell out of them? And the rest of the help desk knew nothing of it? Since it’s really easy to see my account details after providing the broadband line number and user ID. Bunch of BS. Again, shows that they do not know what they are doing and just coming up with stupid reasons. At least the technician knows what he is doing and is able to handle the situation well, and agrees that something is not right over at Singnet’s side. Nothing he can do about it though, since he belongs to the “field”. He’s probably the most exceptional staff I’ve met in this entire Singnet incident this time around, but he’s probably considered a lowly nobody in the company hierarchy. Lol.

In the end, the connection came back on, like quite suddenly. Although no one told me what the reason was, it was probably just some resetting/restarting they did at the back end for my connection. Yep, it took them that long to use this method, which quite apparently, doesn’t take very long. I’m so not impressed. Nonetheless, the technician this time round did his job properly till the very end and I’ll make sure he gets some credit among all the crap when I deal with the manager later.

Ok, almost 2000 words and it’s till not done yet. I’ve actually left out some details here and there which are more minor. There’s still the compensation issue that’s coming next. Ok, so after I’ve verified that my connection is back up and sent off the technician, it was time to have a nice talk with Singnet to discuss relevant compensation for all the trouble (esp the mis-evaluation etc). It was only 10+am at that time, and I called back to the help desk (yes. again.) to ask for a more senior staff straightaway to discuss about this matter. Once again, their log seem to tell them nothing about the problem I’m facing, so I have to repeat the problem again (see why now?). After all that talk, and putting on hold, I was told that their senior staff are so busy that they can only entertain me after lunch time (note it was only 10.30am then). Right, so I eventually relented, since there wasn’t much I could do over the phone.

So you’d expect them to call back right? Nope they didn’t. And it’s not like I didn’t give them chance. I waited till past 2.30pm before making yet another call to the help desk and seek referral. Yep, it takes time to get referred up. Come on, 4 hours for them to get back to me. I may not be the biggest customer they have, but this time it involves them making a mistake and causing me so much trouble. Grr. Crap and I have to call back. Thanks, this is what I get for being a user of Singnet more many years now. Total downtime for me was just below 90 hours, and they offer 2 weeks of waiver of subscription fees. No doubt 90 hours versus 2 weeks seem to be a good ratio, but I think that’s just too little, considering the amount of blunders they’ve made as well as the whole thing seemed to be me servicing myself rather than the customer service helping me along. It’s as good as me trying to get them to do things. What the heck. As to all the screw ups they made, all they could offer is just a “sorry”. Even the so called senior staff who spoke to me had nothing to defend himself when it came to his very own issue. Well done.

Being unsatisfied with the entire tech department, I decided that going through the sales route would be a better alternative, as well as to lodge all the complaints in 1 shot. I suppose sales will take such things more seriously than the tech side (just an impression). (Oh by the way, the Singtel/net feedback box only allows 850 characters and I see no direct email for such matters, which is partly why I continued calling. 850 characters is only the length of a few sms man. Grr. I hate calling them. Totally.) I think whoever picked it up this time got a little scared after hearing all the complaints I have, and told me that they need 3 working days to get all the information required, including who handled my case, be it ground staff, helpline support or back end staff. Right, 3 working days, not exactly the most impressive, but probably something not totally unexpected. Note, that was Wednesday afternoon. So 3 working days should be Saturday, since their sales hotline have working hours during Saturday as well. Maybe the managers don’t work on Saturdays thanks to the 5 day work week policy. So I was promised Monday afternoon. Why? Oh, cos Monday mornings they have a high volume of calls. Right, I call so much in advance to “reserve” a call with the manager and I get this. Yay…

Yup, so it’s Monday tmr, and I’ll probably have “fun” with them yet again. I doubt they will be able to come up with any plan to salvage the situation. Just hope they don’t go any lower. It’s goddamn lower already. And yeah, I’ll probably conclude this whole saga tmr, after I’m done with them. For those who don’t, I’m only requesting for a month waiver for all these trouble, which many people tell me it’s not at all unreasonable.

I might have ranted a little too much, but you can imagine that I’m only able to get to this stage so fast only because I’m on holidays and not working at the moment. Since so many things require to be negotiated and done during office hours (easier to get site visits during office hours for eg), you can imagine what would have happened if I was part of the working force. Although Singnet’s pricing for their Broadband plan (as in, BB-only) appears to be more attractive then the green counterpart, I’m almost certain that this kind of standards isn’t going to keep me with the red, unless someone tells me those at Starhub are just as bad (unlikely). Finale tmr, I hope.