Astro, You're Not A Free Service Provider


Written on 5/14/2008 11:57:00 pm by sikapitan

Millions of Malaysians spend their hard earned ringgit on the only option they have when it comes to satellite TV - ASTRO. As such, is it too much for us to expect that they treasure our very existence, considering that their major cash flow comes from the domestic market?

Let’s forget about the abysmal coverage when there’s rain or the exorbitant amount we have to fork out for channels we don’t want but is part of some capitalist-driven package. Let us talk about the core element of a “service provider” – customer service.

I never really had to deal with ASTRO previously, so I couldn’t understand when others were moaning about their customer service. After the past few weeks, I not only understand, but couldn’t accept how we Malaysians could tolerate this obvious lack of care on the part of ASTRO for its customers.

At the very least, we expect our calls to be picked up. Unfortunately, that is seldom the case. I have just put down the phone, without speaking to a consultant, for the second time tonight. Both my calls to their “direct” line resulted in me waiting for the almost impossible-to-reach consultant.

In fact, after having to deal with ASTRO the past one month, I noticed that my waiting time is never less than 5 minutes and often surpasses the 10 minute mark (if you managed to get into queue, which is almost impossible if you try the hotline”). To me, this smacks of arrogance. ASTRO’s unwillingness to spend money, and of course time, improving their system or training their consultants or even hiring more consultants is certainly business-wise BUT it merely says “our time, and our money, is MORE important than our customer’s time AND their money”.

Make no mistake; the problem doesn’t end once you reach a consultant. The lack of training is evident, and I can forgive that. But the lack of respect for one’s intelligence is hard to swallow. If I were to say to a consultant, “The decoder can’t be switched on, there’s no power running through the decoder, I have tried different power sockets and it still won’t light up, the decoder is spoilt”, I certainly wouldn’t expect the consultant to ask me to insert a smart card and try to switch it on. But that actually happened! I might not work for ASTRO, but I can certainly tell when the decoder can’t even be switched on.

That is just the tip of the iceberg. One consultant can check the account using an old IC number, another one says that that is not possible. One consultant said that in half an hour’s time I would get back my channels, but it’s been one day now and there’s no difference. Hence, my persistent calls to the call centre.

Unfortunately, it went unanswered. And where do Malaysians turn to when this happens? Do we have any choice but to wait for the perfect moment (when the stars are aligned and there is a full moon, maybe) when everything falls into place? No, we don’t.

I will still watch ASTRO. I will pay every month. But ASTRO must realize that as soon as an alternative appear, it cannot count on its customers’ loyalty because quite simply, there is none. We are here because you’re the only one, not because you’re the best.


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