Businesses are made up of people, function for people, are all about people. That’s why businesses need heart too. Because without heart, well, what’s left but a cold money-sucking machine out for your blood? Not really riled up, but more like disappointed, you know, with a mediumly-heavy heart kind. Just sad to see things this way, when there’s so much opportunity for good to be done. So much opportunity. Wasted.

Here’s my letter to SingTel:

Dear Sirs,

I received an announcement in the mail that Singtel’s Mio TV was going to get not 1, not 2, but 40 new channels. I thus called to enquire how I could enjoy the new Family+ package, with the Nat Geo channels I’m sure I would enjoy. The customer service lady told me it would cost, per month, $14.90 plus $1.90 for the rental of the set-top box. I also asked about signing up for the Mix and Match Season Pass. She said I could sign up for both at the same time and gave me the number of the telesales department.

Apparently not. Upon calling the Telesales department, I learnt that – apparently – because I’m on the 50mbps Fibre plan which is now defunct, I cannot sign up for the Family+ package without first upgrading to the now-lowest 100mbps Fibre plan at some additional $15 at month. What’s more, it costs, not $1.90, but $4.90 every month to rent the set-top box. Also, after being put on hold countless times, I was finally told that the Mix and Match Season Pass package was no longer offered and now I would have to purchase them at a la carte price, which meant getting 4 programmes for the price of 5.

I’m sorry? Getting 4 for the price of 5? In what world is that a good marketing strategy? I wasn’t even asking for new programmes – just the new seasons of programmes I was already subscribed to. What is this called? INFLATION??

At the end of the day, yes, for sure, I was upset. Not so much that I had spent a total of 3 hours of my Saturday on the line (I’m thankful one of them was a rather apologetic and helpful officer called Jennifer from the Telesales department) without getting anything out of it.

I was disappointed and upset with SingTel for showing themselves to be so blantantly looking after their bottom line, by capitalising on the helplessness of existing customers. Nevermind the fact that I’ve been a SingTel customer for as long as I remember – and have not once been offered a mobile handset discount voucher or any loyalty perks. Now on top of all that, they add insult to injury by raising prices all over the shop and demanding I pay higher monthly bills?

Oh you have to upgrade to another plan, otherwise you can’t upgrade your Mio TV plan in any way; please pay $. Oh now you have to pay a lot more for the set-top box; please pay $. Oh now you have to get the Family+ pack PLUS add on the movies that you previously had in your Entertainment pack, because they are separate now; please pay $. Oh we don’t offer the Mix and Match package anymore, so it’s now $33 per Season Pass, doesn’t matter if it’s the same shows you were already subscribed to, or the fact that you’re intending to purchase a lot of Season Passes; please pay $.

Doesn’t it sound like I’m playing a very sucky losing game of Monopoly? At least with Monopoly when you pass go you get $200 reward. What reward have I ever gotten from SingTel? And now to have to put up with this kind of treatment of their loyal, regular customers? Come on. Surely the largest, most competitive – so I’m sure they’d like to think themselves to be – telco in Singapore would have more sense than to toss their existing customers to one corner, in this small market which is Singapore. Yes I may not be willing to pay the penalty to break my contract – hence aptly pegged the helpless customer – but surely losing existing customers isn’t in the marketing game plan?

I’d like to know just what made you so uncaring, so ugly, and if there’s any hope left for you yet.

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