Consistency is one of the driver to Customer Satisfaction Matrix

Just before I start my ranting, I find the following article is very useful and interesting by McKinsey. It can be found here.

I was browsing SingTel website and something chanced upon my eyes! Please see below:

Capture

If for any reason, you can’t see the image, it reads “$80 OFF with more data“. Feeling happy at first sight because I am really looking at SingTel DataX add-ons plan that is accompanied with one of the Combo plan. An example of the offerings can be found below or the link above.

Capture1

So from as low as $5.90/month, you will get two times your bundled data that you have associated with the respective Combo plans that you signed up with. With my usage which is on the high side (I uses around 10GB of local data) from the 13.5GB (base 12GB from Combo 12 plan and 0.5GB for each MobileShare line that I signed up for) of data that I have in my bucket. It does make sense that I go for the Data X Infinity which gives me a whopping 50GB (as per advertised, it is “unlimited“) of 4G data on top of the data that I have as part of my Combo plan.

I ring up SingTel Customer Care (via 1688) and have a chat with the Customer Services Officer (CSO) with regards to the plans that I have and the following is what I have gathered.

Conversation with Customer Services Officer (CSO)

  • The $80 OFF with more data is for selected customers and it is totally up to the Sales Team to decide who are entitled to it.
  • As my contract ends only on Feb 2018, I have to pay a penalty of approximately $178 for the downgrade/early re-contract.
  • I have $500 voucher that can be used to offset the purchase of the iPhone 8.

Feeling happy and also sceptical at times with how big organization like Singapore Telecommunications work, so I decided to swing by the main shop at ComCentre to check out more

I have to admit that the sale of iPhone 8 is kind of terrible this time round likely because:

  1. It is because more and more people are moving to the SIM-only plans which forces them to get phones off the shelf which is directed at Apple Store.
  2. It is because people are still waiting for the arrival of iPhone X before deciding whether to stick back to iPhone 8 instead.
  3. Everyone does the purchase online and have the phones delivered to their doorstep instead.

So it was pretty quick till my turn to speak to one of the Sales Executive over the counter. I explained the same as per what I have told over the phone with the CSO and out to my surprise I get responses from them as such:

Conversation with Sales Executive over at ComCentre

  • The $80 OFF with more data is for all NEW customers. (SORRY to those being loyal. It doesn’t pay to be loyal!) – We all know this are just marketing strategies, but look, there are 3 other telcos out there for consumer to choose. 🙂
  • Based on the monthly subscription of $239.90 and with 4 months left over to the end of the contract, the penalty would be over $900. (I went “WUUTTT” the moment that was broken out from the Sales Executive mouth without double checking through the system).
  • After double checking, the fee that I have to bear will be $200.63 (instead of ~$178) due to GST charges.
  • I will have to bear another $200 charges before GST due to early renewal or wait till November 2017 where I am 3 months before the expiry of the contract.

So what is the conclusion?

Isn’t SingTel employees using one single system (single source of truth) to manage all customers request? Why do customer get bits and pieces of information from different sources?

Where is the consistency?

No doubt each of us will have to be tied down to a Mobile provider but since SingTel can’t manages such an incident, how do people entrust another 24 months contract with them? I am not siding any other telcos as I have consumed services from StarHub and MobileOne before in the past and I felt that SingTel does have it standards there.

I am not ranting this because I am demanding for an explanation, but all I want is the awareness to organisations who does the same thing as how SingTel is treating the customers, then you are out at not keeping customer and at the same time degrading the value marked by the customers.

Hope things will change for the better and I would stay put with my mobile lines for now or even explore Circles.Life with their contract-less plans.

Cheers,
Milton

Consistency is one of the driver to Customer Satisfaction Matrix

Let’s Play with Azure Cosmos DB

Ok, I have to admit that when I login into my Azure Portal and it seems like a long time since I meddle around with the new technologies that is being released by Microsoft.

I have heard a little about the power of Azure Cosmos DB but have not really played with it yet! I would like to take the chance to run through it and blog down my learning!

Navigate through Azure Marketplace, go to “Databases” and you will be presented with the different offering of Database options. I went ahead to select “Azure Cosmos DB” as shown.

CosmosDB_01

There are multiple API data model offerings in the Azure Cosmos DB. Some of the examples are as followed:

CosmosDB_02

For an introduction to the respective data model, you may navigate to the following site:

  1. DocumentDB
  2. MongoDB
  3. Gremlin
  4. Table

 

After the deployment process has been completed, you will be able to find that under your Resources within the Azure Portal.

CosmosDB_03

As you can see, there is more than just .NET platform that is being supported as part of this Cosmos DB and for now, it is just waiting on creating the item collections before able to consume the Cosmos DB.

I am pleased with the way how the getting started is going and it is relatively easy for any Azure Administrator to spin up new Cosmos DB.

In the next posts, I am going to walk through deeper into how I am using Cosmos DB and storing data into it.

Cheers,
Milton

 

Let’s Play with Azure Cosmos DB

My Love-Hate Relationship with SingTel

I do have a few Love-Hate Relationship which I have somehow written it on my blog or expressed it somehow one way or another. However, all of which are genuine one, be it whether it is just my luck or such a “coincidental”.

My Love-Hate Relationship started out in February/March 2016 after I started my new role with Condeco Software after leaving the big boy, VMware. I have been a fan or loyal user with Singapore Telecommunications (SingTel) for a long time after switching from StarHub after I completes my National Service (NS) in 2010.

Fast forward, when I first joined Condeco Software as a Technical Consultant, I was tasked to be on the ground working with all the customers and fixing problems for then-unhappy customers. I still remember that during January 2016, I was using one of the SingTel plan where it gives me approximately 4 gigabytes (GB) of data as part of the package. However, just in January, I overshot the amount of data and end up paying $10.70 (inclusive of GST) for every 1 gigabyte (GB).

The ironic part of the billing from SingTel is that, even if you exceed 1 megabyte (MB), you will still prepay for the price of 1 gigabyte (GB). This is good for users who does monitoring of the usage closely but it will still rely heavily on how well SingTel is feedback you with the real-time data through to the SingTel App on the mobile phone.

At that point of time, the exceeding of data is purely due to the fact that I am required to connect my laptop via Tethering to my Apple iPhone to join remote conferencing tools such as GoToMeeting or GoToAssist. Been a great journey using such services from Citrix which we finally have moved on to using Zoom. Therefore, carrying an irrational mindset at that point of time, I went on to renew my contract with SingTel to Combo 12 plans which was one of the highest one available where it bundles with 12 gigabytes (GB) of data which is massive and more than enough for my day-to-day without any penalty.

One more advantage of the Combo 12 plan offering from SingTel will be the unlimited airtime (or talk time) and SMS. I am kind of the conservative type of person where I always love relying on reliable technology of using the air time for all my phone calls rather than relying on VoIP service such as WhatsApp or Skype.

So what exactly that I hate about SingTel?

Well. It is because, after renewing with SingTel on a 24-months contract on the highest plan possible due to the fact that I require additional data and is unwilling to pay an hefty amount. At the same time, that was the only plan that have unlimited talk time bundled in.

What made things worst was that right after re-contracting with SingTel on a 24-months contract, they release a plan known as “DataMore” or equivalent which allows existing / new customers to pay a fraction of fee to get more data. This further aggravate the fire in me as that’s what I have been looking for which will keep my monthly subscription plan to a more affordable one. It is certainly not that I couldn’t afford the highest plan but I am one who does the needful things.

Fast forward 19-months till today, September 2017 after having that contract with SingTel. I am so much looking forward to February 2018 for a few reasons:

  1. My 24 months contract with SingTel is going to end and I am not bounded contractually with them anymore.
  2. This gives me the ability to move on to another provider or downgrade my plan to a much much reasonable one than what I am paying right now.
  3. SingTel has introduced a few awesome plans that I feel put me in the right spot.

Capture

Remember that I am enjoying Unlimited Airtime (Talk Time) and SMS right now, therefore Combo 3 does fit into the requirements. As for data, SingTel has introduced “Data X Infinity” which allows mobile users to have “Unlimited” data on their mobile plans.

You can find more information about this add-on here and here.

The price point is pretty attractive at SGD 39.90. SingTel do have the X2 and X3 plans which double or triple the amount of data that you have in your base plans for approximately SGD 5 – 10. With an additional SGD 30 – 35, you get literally 50GB of 4G Data.

Where is the “Unlimited” then? SingTel need to ensure that every users are being good and fair therefore there is throttling implemented for users who used up the 50GB + the amount of data that is included in the base plan then the user mobile will be throttled to 1Mbps.

Why is Combo 12 no longer compelling to me? It is because:

  1. This plan most probably is suitable to end-users who are business users whom do not have any worries about the subscription cost per month.
  2. This plan is suitable to those who changes their mobile phones on a yearly basis. This plan gives you SGD 500 per year to offset the penalty charges SingTel will impose on you should you not meet the maturity of the 21 months for re-contracting.
  3. This plan offers unlimited talk time and SMS and is fulfilled by the recently revamped Combo 3.

As far as I can see with all the competition from StarHub, Mobile One and Circles Life, we will definitely see much more reduction in the rates provided in this small lion city. So let’s take a look at what will be more compelling for end-user like myself?

I evaluate plans based on a few criteria:

  1. Compelling and comprehensive overseas roaming coverage as I do travel a fair bit within Asia Pacific and at times to United States. I would like to have better offers that is compelling in such a way that it is no brainers choice that I should skip buying local SIM card.
  2. Stable and huge coverage within Singapore. This is definitely the main point because if the telecommunication provider isn’t strong within the motherland, then who can still call themselves the leader?
  3. You can be pricey than others, but please be reasonable! I do know that, you “Pay Peanuts, you get Monkey” kind of concept! So, I don’t mind paying 5-10% more to SingTel compared to other telecom as long as the service is up to standard and the coverage is good.

Have you had any love-hate relationship with any of the telecommunication provider?

Cheers,
Milton

My Love-Hate Relationship with SingTel

Is localization important?

The question is:

Is localization important?

The following questions pops up to target at different actors:

  • Is localization important to end-users?
  • How do organization provide localization?
  • Does organization require to provide localization?
  • Without localization, will you still consume the service?
  • Is this act a big or small one to consumers?

There are many ways to post these questions and there will be many different opinions from people from all walks of life. So what exactly I am referring to?

Well, I am a regular Grab user for a long time and I almost use it for my daily commute for personal/work purposes. On the latest updates that was released the last two weeks, I suddenly saw the following on my Grab App.

Wow, the starting of some “Singlish“. There is “Ah” at the statement in the above image. Next is:

One more… “Pai Sei”. What does this means? Well, it meant “Sorry” in english or the meaning that is extracted from the Wikipedia.

Means to be embarrassed. Usually used as an apology after making an embarrassing mistake. From Hokkien 歹勢 (pháiⁿ-sè).

This is so into the daily commuters life, at least for those who resides in Singapore for a period of time.

There we go again, “Alamak” is being used here. The meaning is as close to:

Phonetically close to the Chinese term “Oh, my mother!”. It expresses shock or surprise.

Gosh, these may be something that is really small to changed and managed by the Grab Engineering Team for each Country to be localized. However, all these small and effective efforts does made a different to the end-users life.

Initially, when I saw it, I could immediately made fun of it when I read it but it also kind of amused me when there isn’t any Grab drivers without the area that wants to pick me up which is kind of disappointing.

Therefore, this gives me a little bit of mixed feelings. 😉

However, kudos to the Engineering Team in Grab that develops these and also to the person who thought of such idea! I am looking forward in using Grab services to all the places that I travel so that I could see how far such localization is being done up.

Cheers,
Milton

Is localization important?

Love-Hate Relationship with Clutter in Outlook

In such a fast-pace technology world, features are released quicker than anyone can afford to learn everything. Recently I am getting lots of feedback from co-workers or customers saying that they have dropped me an email but I have not responded in a manner that I used to. (P/S: I read mails everywhere, on my laptop, my iPad and my mobile phone. Email has become an integral part of me.)

So I had a thought on why emails are not falling into my “Inbox“? With a little searching around, I saw that my mails has been falling into:

“Junk Email” folder has been a pain too, but of course with certain help in mitigating spam mails from flowing through, but What is Clutter?!

Copying off the article:-

In Outlook 2016 for Windows, “Clutter” can help you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages. If Clutter isn’t for you, you can TURN IT OFF.

So what are typically treated as “Low-Priority“?

Ooooo. So, notifications from Wunderlist is being treated as “Low-Priority”. So what’s the point of having an email reminder?

Like what is mentioned in the block quote above, there are means to toggle “on/off” for this feature depending on individual. All one have to do is to logon to the Office 365 Outlook Web Access (OWA) via https://outlook.office365.com/ and right-click on the “Inbox” to access to the “Clutter settings” as shown below.

You will arrive at the page similar to the image below.

If you love this feature, do nothing!

If you dislike this feature, un-check the highlighted checkbox and “save”!

Provide your feedback to me and let me know your thoughts on this feature!

Cheers,
Milton

Love-Hate Relationship with Clutter in Outlook

New PowerBank in da House!

Hooray! New gadget in the house! What is new this time? Lately, I have been relying a lot on my PowerBank or Battery Pack or Juicer as my ageing Apple iPhone 6S Plus is draining battery way faster than usual. However, I am holding on to this until the new iPhone 8 is released as there is totally no point in jumping on the iPhone 7 bandwagon at this point of time when we know the release date for the new iPhone 8 is imminent!

As I was doing some window-shopping at Suntec City last week, I walked past the “Mi” Store which is the store for XiaoMi line of products. Feeling curious what’s in store for me as it has been a real long time ago that I have used XiaoMi product. Still remember those days when XiaoMi do not have an official store front in Singapore, I went ahead to buy my first PowerBank (16000 mAh in capacity) and have to collect it from an industry area in Singapore. Time flies and now it is so easy to get this value-for-money line of products almost anywhere in Singapore. So, why the flagship store then? I don’t have the answer either but I am a fan of buying from the original store instead of going through re-sellers.

My old (16000 mAh) battery juicer suffered a damage when I was in Auckland last year where it slipped out of my jacket pocket and create a dent on the cover itself but since then I make do with it all the while. However, when I saw the newer series of the PowerBank, I am so in-love with the design as it looks so sleek! Without further ado, please see below:

Woot, the package is so much better than before. In the past, we do not even have any wording printed on the exterior of the box!

Look at the statistics being published and printed on the exterior of the box, this juicer (a.k.a. PowerBank) can fully charged 7.5x an Apple iPhone 7. *Roar*

More specifications of the specs as such “Fast-Charging” which is something that I can make do without in terms of bi-directional functionality. I need my PowerBank to quickly charged up my device as soon as possible else I will probably not be able to stay connected in this Internet-Enabled World! I definitely can make do without the fast charging of the PowerBank as I always leave it by the power socket for hours adoring the blinking lights on the PowerBank.

More wordings…

Man, artistic shot of my PowerBank. Although the material of the casing is Plastic compared to the older version which I suppose it should be made up of Aluminium. (*Wild Guessing*)

This PowerBank equips with 2 x USB port so that one can concurrent charged up two devices. It works flawlessly for the older version and I have yet to have this tested out on the newer version. The centre socket is the one used for charging the PowerBank which is uses the regular kind of cable used widely for Android devices before phasing out into using Type-C.

I really like the Pearlie White colour on this PowerBank, I wonder if XiaoMi is going to start producing more of different colours! If yes, I will be collecting them!

Cheers,
Milton

New PowerBank in da House!

Fedex – Review YOUR scheduled jobs.

From the above image, do you see what I see as an “error”? Well, if not, let me point it to you.

  1. This message was received at 7.56 PM.
  2. Reading through the content of this text, it says I have up to 8.00 PM to decide if I would like to opt for self-collection.

Come on FedEx, are you testing your consumer speed in terms of responding to texts OR are you trying to say that the cut-off time is not valid and even if I go past that timing, it will still work?

In the natural human behaviour, I would wait for my parcel/package to be delivered to my doorstep rather than needing to pick it up unless I am in a superb urgency that I need the content of the parcel/package.

I know it is a goodwill of FedEx that they are offering a varieties of options for consumer to “choose”, but please take into consideration of how the system is being designed! You are adversely upsetting your consumer by treating them like super-human. I strongly believe that this will be a cycle where this feature will be deprecated sooner than expected because of the pickup rate.

An enterprise / organisation such as FedEx would (should) have designed it with the best user experience to the end users. Always remember that AdoptionGovernance comes after!

Just my 2 cents worth of my rumbling thoughts.

Cheers,
Milton

Fedex – Review YOUR scheduled jobs.