Singtel & Nokia N8

Singtel is really really giving me a lot of grief.  I would’ve switched to another telco immediately, save for the fact the Nokia N8 that I want is currently only being sold by Singtel.  Argh.  Anyway, I sent an e-mail to Mr Allen Lew of Singtel.  My e-mail is reproduced below.  I hope Singtel can give me a reasonable explanation.


Subject: Why Won’t Singtel Communicate Internally?

Dear Mr Lew,

Since receiving two e-mails from Singtel on Friday regarding the availability of the Nokia N8 at, I have been trying to recontract and purchase the Nokia N8 – unfortunately without success.

Following the link in the first e-mail I received, I was brought to a page where I could buy the N8, but there was no option for me to recontract my line.

Following the link in the second e-mail I received, I was brought to another page which had the recontract option, but when I tried to recontract, I was prompted with an error message and told to call 1688.

So I called 1688.  I waited 10-15 minutes to speak to a helpdesk agent, who insisted there was no such model as the Nokia N8.  After I told her I received an e-mail from Singtel regarding the model, she then said she had to transfer me to the "Recontract Team" because her department does not handle customers under the Mio plan.

After waiting another 5 minutes, someone called Fiona answered the transferred call.  After repeating my request to recontract with a handset purchase, Fiona also advised that there was no such model.  So I had to repeat my story about receiving the e-mail from Singtel, etc etc.  Fiona then said she was unable to help me and that she "did not understand why the Mobile Team transferred my call to the Sales Team".  She said she had to contact the Web Team to find out about this and thus we ended the call.

Someone from Singtel called me again yesterday (30 Oct 2010) to ask me what colour I wanted.  The helpdesk agent said (I quote), "They only sent me an e-mail to ask me what colour".  I was in JB when I received this really cryptic call and I say cryptic because the helpdesk agent did not introduce herself, did not give any background to her question and did not explain who is the "they" she mentioned.  After I replied that I wanted "white", the call ended without any conclusion.

As I am really really hoping to get the Nokia N8 before I fly to Japan on Thurs (4 Nov), I made yet another call to 1688 today.  I asked the helpdesk agent, Aasha, if the N8 is available at any Hello!Shop as I would be happy to take time to go down and queue up at the store to recontract and get the phone.  Unfortunately, Aasha informed me that the phone will not arrive at stores till 5 Nov.  I then asked if I could somehow buy the phone online, and pick it up at the store?  She said no, because the Web Team and the Counter Staff are from different departments and such arrangements cannot be made.  Once again, I had to end the call since it was really getting nowhere.

Shortly after, I decided that perhaps I could use my mom’s mobile line, that is under my name, to do the recontract and purchase the phone.  I thus made yet another call to 1688 and spoke to someone called Selena.  As my mom’s mobile line is no longer under any contract, I asked Selena if Singtel would be willing to give me any vouchers as part of the recontract offer.  Selena then told me that I had to speak to the Customer Retention Department about this, though they have ceased the giving of vouchers since 9 Oct.  She asked me to call 1688 again on Mon as the Customer Retention Dept staff did not work weekends.  I asked Selena if it was possible for her to get them to call me back instead since it takes very very long to get through 1688.  Selena said that was not possible, because the Customer Retention Dept does not call customers back.  This really takes the cake.  The Customer Retention Dept does not call customers back?!  That says a lot about Singtel’s sincerity in retaining customers doesn’t it?

Mr Lew, I know you are a busy man but I was hoping if you could take a bit of time to look into this:

1.  Singtel consolidated all the helplines into 1688 so as to simplify the process for customers who need to speak to Singtel.  However, it seems that your various departments, be it the Mobile Team, the Sales/Recontract Team and your Web Team have significant difficulty communicating with one another.  Surely, it does not reflect well on Singtel when your agents make comments like, "I do not know why your call was transferred to me".  Am I supposed to apologise for being transferred from one department to another?  Does Singtel think that customers enjoy being transferred?

2.  In addition, shouldn’t there be internal training of new handsets / products that are launched?  It sounds really odd to me that the Web Team can launch a phone, but all the other departments have no idea such a phone exists.

3.  Being a Mio Bundle customer (I have 2 mobile lines, 2 land lines, Mio TV and Singnet Broadband under my name), I would have thought I am a relatively valued customer given the myriad of Singtel services I use.  However, your recontract policies and restrictions have penalised me for being a Mio customer.  Had I just had one mobile line with Singtel, I would not have to suffer all the inconveniences stated above.  Shouldn’t Singtel do something to reward customers rather than penalise them?

4.  Lastly, when a staff says something like, "The Customer Retention Dept does not call customers back", should I pin this down to poor customer service training, or is this a true reflection of Singtel’s mentality? 

I look forward to your reply.


1 Response to “Singtel & Nokia N8”

  1. 1 Michelle

    Hi, I was looking through websites looking for SingTel CEO, Allen Lew’s email address when i came across your blog post mentioning that you actually emailed to Allen Lew himself. If you can help, is it ok if you can provide me with his email address? Thanks alot in advance! 🙂

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October 2010