Dear President /CEO of Starhub/Customer Service/Anyone alive at Starhub who actually cares about customers and their experience,
I have been a loyal customer of Starhub from the time of its taking over Cyberway. Through two decades, I have seen you doing your best for your customers and of late, I have seen and experienced the steady decline, firsthand. I am a home hub customer. My home phone, mobile phone, cable TV and internet is provided for by Starhub. My home hub contract was due to expire on March 30 and I was looking to either re-contract with Starhub or find an alternative service provider. Thus, I headed to the IT fair at Suntec to see what all the telcos had to offer on March 10 (Sunday). After looking around and going against my better judgment, I decided to re-contract with Starhub. The primary reason for me doing this was because I had lots of cooking shows recorded on my smart TV hard drive, which I regularly referred to and I did not want to lose them. I got a number at the kiosk machine and waited for my turn to be served. I was served by Jonethan. He keyed in all the necessary details and told me that they will be switching me from cable to Fibre TV. I asked him if I’d still be able to record shows and watch the ones that were already recorded and on my hard drive, as this was my prime concern and he said ‘yes’, and assured me that it wouldn’t be an issue or problem. At the very end, he told me that there was something wrong with the system and that he wasn’t able to book an appointment for me. He assured me that he would give me a call by Monday or Tuesday to confirm the home appointment date. I do not receive any call on 11 March (Mon) or 12 March (Tue). I finally receive a call from Jonethan on 25 March – 15 days later. He said the earliest appointment he could provide me with was on April 2 from 4 to 6 pm. On 28 March, I call Starhub 1633 to ask if my digital voice had to be on Fibre or if it could stay where it is now, as I did not want a service disruption. The person who served me, Rhianne informed me that she could see no home appointment for me on the 2nd of April. I was upset and another appoinment was scheduled on April 16.
On April 2nd, at around 6 pm, the doorbell rings. It is someone from Starhub. I told him that the appointment was for April 16 but he insisted it was for April 2nd and so I let him in. He places the boxes on the floor in front of the TV, proceeds to disconnect and reconnect everything. I leave him to do his thing while I saw to my mother, who is elderly and needs care. When I return to the living room, he handed a tablet for me to sign. I told him to wait while I check to see if the TV is working. The first thing I did was go to smart TV to see if I could access my TV shows. There were none. I asked him where they were and he told me I’d be able to see them 2 hours later as ‘the system is updating’. Then I hear my mom calling for me. She tells me that the home phone (digital voice) is not working. I tell the technician and he said everything will be fine after 2 hours and that the technical team will give me a call about two hours later. I sign and he leaves. Five hours later, no call by any technical team, no TV, no digital voice and no Internet. A little after midnight( April 3), I call 1633 and spoke to technical help. I told them the issue and they say that it does not show activated on their side and they could not help me till the status changed on their system. I asked if I could at least watch the shows I’d recorded on my hard drive before the switch to fibre TV. He instructed me to disconnect and reconnect the hard drive and reboot the set top box but it still showed I had nothing on my hard drive. He then said he would try his best to ‘escalate’ my issue and that his technical team will call me once the status changed on their system.
The next day, no one calls me. Nothing works. I call 1633 again in the afternoon. I managed to speak to someone after waiting on the line for what felt like eons. The service agent on the line gave me the same standard replies and so I insisted on speaking to her superior. She gets him on the line for me after more than an hour of waiting. His name is Thran and he is supposedly the Service Manager. I explain in detail what I went through and how nothing works. He apologises, assures me he will ‘investigate’, ‘escalate’ my issue and revert back to me once the status of my service changes on the system. The next afternoon, I receive a missed call from him. I call 1633 and I’m waiting to talk to someone. I hang up, frustrated. I call again to speak to technical service, hoping the waiting time is lesser. I speak to someone from the technical team and explain my issue and concern that I could not access anything on my hard drive. She told me that I’d lost everything on the hard drive due to the move from cable to fibre. As for the other issues, she said that the status had now changed and everything should be working fine. I told her it wasn’t and that it wasn’t fair that I wasn’t informed that switching to fibre would eliminate everything from my drive. She said I needed to speak to customer service about that.
I call 1633 again, feeling very misled and misinformed and managed to speak to someone after waiting for 20 min. I insisted on speaking with Thran or any other service manager. She finally manages to connect me to Thran, 50 min later. I tell him about the home hub services not working and I ask him why I was misinformed about the shows on my hard drive. I am very upset and my voice is cracking and it is obvious he does not care. He goes on to ask me how I may have asked the customer service representative at the fair about the recorded shows. ‘What words did you use, exactly?’ I tell him that I had spoken with clarity and that I had sought assurance from the person who served me that my recorded shows from cable would be in tact and I would be able to watch them and access them again, as that was of prime concern to me. He said, “You used the word ‘access’. That could mean anything.” At that point, I did not wish to speak to him any more and asked if he had a superior I could talk to. He told me with an air of ‘superiority’ that there was no one and that he was the be all and end all in the customer service chain/line, and that he alone had the authority to decide on my case. I was crying by then and could not talk so I told him to call me back in an hour. He said in the meantime, he would ‘escalate’ my case. This was on April 4th.
The date today is May 3rd. My case is so ‘escalated’ that no one has bothered to call me back, check or investigate. After the switch to Fibre at around 6pm on April 2nd, I spoke to 4 people from Starhub - the technician who came to my home and 3 people from1633 (including the Service Manager, Thran). None of them told me that the reason I could not see anything on my hard drive was the default reformatting that occurs after switching to the fibre set-top box. It was the 5th person I spoke to, the technical person on April 4th, that finally revealed this to me. Do they not know? They are your employees. This information and more should be common knowledge for them. Or did they just not wish to reveal it, which suggests deception of sorts. Either way, it speaks volumes as to the level of expertise of your employees and reflects on the integrity of your company.
No one wishes to have to call 1633 for anything. They do it because they have no choice. They need help with an issue or issues. The waiting time is ridiculous and you are hardly, if ever helped. Everything gets ‘escalated’ (whatever that means – because Starhub’s understanding of that word is nothing close to what it means in a legitimate dictionary) and no one calls you back. If the Service Manager’s attitude and idea of helping the customer is what I experienced, is it any wonder that the rest of the team treats customers the way it does? In any organisation, what is prevalent at the top, eventually trickles down. There is obviously something that is amiss and needs to be put right.
I am a paying customer, Starhub. You should want to do all you can to make sure I stay with you, so you get my money. And on top of that, I’m steadfast and loyal. I’ve stayed with you for close to 20 years. Here, I am doing all the follow-up and calling up, like a dejected friend. So, I won’t do it any more. I am tired of the broken promises (I’ll call/escalate, etc.) and lies. I’ve been given false information and have been taken for granted and have been ‘talked down’ (for want of a stronger word) to. I wouldn’t let any real person disrespect me in this way. Why would I let you? It has been more than a month. I have no digital voice, TV or Broadband. And you do not care. Do tell me why I should still stay with you.