This was what I encountered on Friday, Nov 28, when I went to pay my M1 and Starhub bills at Bugis Junction. And it wasn’t the first time either.
What got me wholly cheesed off was that I had gone to BJ specifically to pay those bills so other errands that I wanted to run at the same mall were secondary considerations.
I went to M1 first and like recent visits, was told to use the self service machine to make payment.
Oh all praise to M1’s attempt at efficiency but I prefer the smiley faced sister who used to attend to me. Because in reality, the self service machine wasn’t that efficient.
I have two mobile lines. One for my phone; the other for a mobile broadband.
I have no trouble remembering my mobile phone number. Since I have had it for more than a decade. Also because I have to give the number to new contacts every so often.
So I succeeded in paying that bill at the self service machine albeit after a bit of trial and error.
But when it came to the mobile broadband bill, I was stymied.
I couldn’t remember the mobile broadband’s number. I didn’t bring my bill — to be truthful I never bring any of my bills as they somehow manage to vanish between their arrival and when I want to pay them, due to the usual grace period given between a bill’s arrival and its due date.
When the smiley human cashier at M1 was in operation, she just called up both bills on her computer screen after I gave my hand phone or IC number. No sweat. And I paid the two bills. Again no sweat.
Not so on Nov 28.
I tried to pay the broadband bill by using the same self-service machine. No dice. Just my identity card number won’t do. I MUST key in the line number.
Whoever did the programming for M1 must be real dumb.
Why can’t a customer’s IC number access all accounts under that particular customer?
I can understand the need to double confirm for a refund– to make life difficult for refund seekers, if nothing else! And perhaps delay the refund that way.
But why make life difficult for a customer wanting to pay up and add to M1’s cashflow?
Anyway, a human “customer” guide appeared at my side. Said sorry, no couldn’t help me find out what my mobile broadband number is. Sorry, no, no.
Miraculously he punched a few keys on another machine and gave me a slip of paper where I had to wait one (yes, ONE) hour to see someone to locate that elusive mobile broadband number.
Never mind that at least two customer officers sitting in front of their computers were just staring at their screens. No customer in front of them.
My human customer guide helpfully pointed out that as his colleagues were already serving 8030 and my Q number was 8035, I had to wait just four customers.
I didn’t rebut — tho I was tempted to– that there were four sets of other numbers in the Q that didn’t start with “80” and under M1 Q-system who knows whether we were in the same Q for all numbers or there were other Qs for different sets of numbers.
And to expect me to wait at least ONE hour to settle a $27 bill, they must be kidding. 🙄
I left and headed to Starhub next door to pay my cable TV bill.
The experience wasn’t much better in so far as the run around I got but I managed to pay my bill within 6 or 7 minutes.
This was despite having gone to the cashier to pay, I was then directed to the info counter to have my bill printed out, as I didn’t have the copy mailed to me.
At Starhub’s Plaza Singapura outlet, one could pay even without a bill. Just give the cashier your IC number.
Donch know why Starhub can’t standardise its bill payment procedures. That would save a lot of its customers’ time! And possibly cut down on its staff numbers!
Of cos, some visitors to this site wonder why I don’t pay the M1 and Starhub bills by Giro, via AXA machines or 7-11 shops. Answer is simple. I want to pay by credit card and earn points. Nothing wrong with that!
Anyway, I find the service of these two telcos sucks big time. Especially when I’ve paid M1 at least $20K in bills — and probably more — over the years. For Starhub, it’s probably a few thousand $ since we only converted to cable about 12 years ago when the management committee of my condo unilaterally removed the antennae at the roof top that allowed access to Mediacorp stations.
Now if Singapore’s productivity tzars are interested to find out more about why the nation’s productivity efforts have yielded virtually nought despite taglines and big bucks spent, they need no more than put the way M1 and Singtel run their bill collection systems under a microscope.
Come to think of it, when a company is inefficient and not productive it affects not only themselves but those who use their services. So there’s productivity lost on the receiving end too. And that cost should be deducted against the productivity figures, no? 😆