Lack of compassion
"Customer at the Heart". This is one of 6 culture markers stated in Starhub's website.
To me this means "making an effort to understand the customer: their circumstance, their need and their expectations of the service.
Sadly for me, this wasn't quite the experience I got from Starhub.
For the record, I am not one who would openly post/share my displeasure of any sort on an online forum but I hope others who may (and I pray not) be in a similar situation as I am could benefit from this discussion. This is if Starhub would even allow a discussion to be had on this community forum.
It all started last year when I signed up for a TV/broadband to be installed at my then 80 year-old father's residences for his entertainment. The contract was signed in my name because my father was old and did not have sufficient mental capacity to sign up for the service by himself. The subscription process was smooth and he was soon able to enjoy the TV programs offered by Starhub. Thanks to Starhub, he was able to watch some of his favourite shows.
Unfortunately, sometime mid last year he was hospitalised due to health complications and had subsequently passed on. It has been several months since the demise of my father and the house is now vacant. I had asked around to see if any of my siblings would be willing to take over the subscription until is expires but needless to say, almost every household would by now have its own broadband/TV subscription, including mine.
So, without much of an option left, I decided to call Starhub to see if an exception could be made in this case for the waiver of early termination charges to be allowed. I spoke with a customer service officer whose name I did not record at that time and explained my situation. He was adamant that there was nothing they could do and stated the obvious; that the contract was signed in my name. He did offer to call me back though as he needed to check internally about what else could be done but I never heard back for 2 weeks.
Decided to call Starhub again to follow up. Spoke with another CS officer and explained my situation. Again the reply was not dissimilar to the first. Put me on hold several times and even rudely said "absolutely not" (referring to the termination of the contract without accompanying charges). Asked to speak to someone else, and he put his manager Ms Shida on the line. Thinking as a manager she would be more experienced and was going to handle the case with a little more thought, I was wrong!! Instead, she repeated herself like a recording saying that she will send an email to ground the case. This was actually getting from bad to worse I thought to myself, so I asked for her manager's name which she said replied were Gary and Sarhana. And when I asked for their emails she quickly said they don't have personal emails. What corporate establishment doesn't assign email addresses to its employees? I was very confused as we are talking about managers of a manager to a CS officer. Surely they would be at a level to have their own corporate email.
I understand the fact that I am legally obligated to fulfil the contract period and I will gladly pay the termination charges if the subscription was at my residence and for my own use but this is not the case. I wouldn't be raising this issue if this was a straightforward case. I am simply asking for an alternative solution. Perhaps offer to charge partially if waiving the entire amount is too much to ask but they could at least look into this matter with a little more understanding.
Nobody had ask for such an outcome. It is what it is and sometimes a little corporate compassion can go a really long way. The lack of understanding on the part of Starhub says a lot about the culture its ethos. Even their competitor handled the cancellation of a phone line with a lot more class. Their immediate response was to acknowledge the situation, offered their condolences and then took time to walk me through a step by step process in cancelling the line and contract without charges.
I hope this can help set some expectations for customers dealing with the CS at Starhub. I think Starhub can in certain cases exude some empathy and not read out terms and conditions from a contract every chance they get.
A very disappointed customer.