SingTel / Singapore Telecommunications

I would like to lodge a formal complaint against the service we experienced at your Singtel Shop in Tampines Mall yesterday (26 Dec 2012). Here are details of the event:
• 3:30pm – We came to this outlet to return our MIO TV console and to terminate our Broadband service.
• 4:26pm (one hour after) – We received a queue ticket (#S2164) and were told that it would take 3 hours to our turn.
• 7:00pm – We returned to the outlet, and the queue was at #S2147.
• 8:00pm – The queue was at #S2149. The outlet was packed with customers waiting and new queue tickets were still being issued out. We demanded to see the Manager, Desmond Lin, who came out from the back office. He told us that there were 110 people ahead of us at that point.
1. We asked him how he planned to clear 110 tickets by closing time at such slow rate. He replied that they would remain open as long as it took until the last ticket was cleared. We told him that we already waited 3.5 hrs and did not intend to stay through the night to be served. He merely shrugged and said that it would be our choice whether we would like to wait or not.
2. We asked him what would happen if we chose not to wait, and whether we would be given priority to be served the next morning. He said new tickets would be issued, and everyone would queue all over again.
3. We asked him why there was no segregation of queues to make things more efficient as in the case of STARHUB (e.g. one queue for mobile service, another for TV, another for broadband, etc.); he said this is the way all Singtel outlets are run, and there was nothing he can do about it.
4. We further asked him why they kept issuing new tickets when there were already 100+ tickets yet to be served; he said he could not stop people from queuing.
5. When someone else in the waiting crowd told him that service in the Orchard branch was much more efficient, he just shrugged and said that all outlets are run the same way.
6. Throughout the entire conversation, Desmond Lin was rude in answering our questions. He claimed that all the staffs were doing their best, so I asked him why he was not out in the floor to help out. He replied abruptly: “for your information, I was on the phone with a customer”. I then asked him which customers are more important: those in the shop or those on the phone. He became speechless and simply walked away and ignored us. He never attempted to even apologize for the delay and nor offered any solution.
7. They started to skip queue numbers only at this point.
• 8:30pm – The staff started pulling the shutters for closing and no solution was given to all of us who were still waiting. One lady came out to tell us the exact same things that Desmond Lin did, and we found out that she is another manager named Catherine Kwek.
• 9:12pm – I was finally served. At that moment, the lady standing next to us was holding ticket #S2220 (54 numbers away).
The shop was packed with people waiting in line when we left. We even took a photo of the scene and would be happy to forward it to you. Or, you can take a look at the CCTV camera.
Here are my views on our awful experience last night:
1. Your business processes are severely flawed and inadequate.
It is appalling and unthinkable for a customer like me to have to wait 6 hours in total to return a MIO TV box. It is definitely NOT industry standard because I was able to be “in and out” of STARHUB within 1 hour (inclusive of queuing time) to sign up for new mobile lines and broadband service. Your managers can shamelessly tell us that they were being “fair” by not turning anyone away (even when they knew the queue was severely bottlenecked) and by promising to clear all tickets “as long as it took”. Obviously, they had no consideration for the fact that we have work to go to the next morning, and that our time is also VALUABLE.
Taking the Tampines outlet as an example, it is utterly disappointing to see the way the shops operate in comparison with STARHUB. A customer who comes to open a new mobile line definitely requires more time than one who comes to return a MIO TV box. How do you expect to provide efficient services when everyone has to wait to be served through the same queuing system? This is so fundamental in business operations, and yet it is lacking for such a large organization.
It is so ironic that Singtel pledges customer loyalty and satisfaction in your Sustainability Report every year. You even publicize on all your printed ads that you “ranked #2 in the world for CUSTOMER SERVICE”. That is false advertising because our actual customer experience is far from it. No amount of marketing and PR efforts can compensate for our bad experiences. Your lip service is over-rated and your overall services are getting from bad to worse.
I used to have all-in-one bundled services with Singtel, but decided to switch my mobile service to STARHUB because I was treated rudely by your service staff when I came to renew my mobile contract in July this year. I only waited until now to cancel the rest of the services when my MIO TV contract ends in December.
2. Your 2 Retail Operations Managers (Desmond Lin and Catherine Kwek) are absolutely incompetent and an embarrassment to your organization. As the ones in charge, they are responsible to ensure smooth operations of the shop and to find solutions instead of hiding behind counters. Yet, they were clueless (or was it that they couldn’t care or less?) to what was happening in the shop. To allow the queue to continue one hour before store closing time while knowing that there were at least 100 outstanding tickets was UNIMAGINABLE. They are wasting customers’ time and doing everyone dis-service.
Worse of all, they did not appear at all apologetic to those in waiting and remained aloof to our grievances. They pushed everything to your company’s policies and systems. Is this really the case? Is your top management so restrictive that your front-line managers are not empowered to make decisions? What good are they then, to just sit around and repeatedly tell customers it is our choice if we wish to be served?
I wasted so much time typing up this long complaint letter; in hope that something good will come out of this. You should not be oblivious of what your customers have to say; of which I am certain you already know by the number of customer abandonments. Do not rest on your laurels because words get around!

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