AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Astro - I have got a problem

My Astro receiver is down – no signal. This happens frequently, when the weather is bad in KL, so I was okay with it on Saturday night. However, it was still down on Sunday, so I thought I call their customer service. I never had any bad experience with them and every time, they could help me in “my misery”.

So, at about 10.40 AM, I started to call and this blog entry is about the Tour de Astro. I hope to get everything right, but might not – my memory is not that good anymore, and I cannot read the few notes that I took anymore – my handwriting deteriorates with age (just kidding).

The lines were busy, busy, busy, so I pressed the redial button constantly, hoping, to find the spot to get in. Finally – I made it.

I got the usual options – Press 1 for Bahasa and Press 2 for English. Okay, I pressed 2, since my English is way better.

Next, I got even more options. Press 1 for Smartcard Inquiries, Press 2 for Balance Inquiry, Press 3 for Reconnecting your Service, Press 4 for InfoBox Movies, Press 5 for Life Soccer Matches, Press 6 for Flexi Packages, Press 7 for Transmission Problems – ahhhhh – here it was.

I pressed the 7. I now got another two options, one which asked me to press 1, when I have no signal and, I think 2, when I want to get back to the main menue. So I pressed 1 and the tape told me to switch off the Astro Receiver for 15 seconds, and to switch it on, after 15 seconds, with my favourite channel.

I did so (do they know my favourite channel) – but, to give you an impression of the process, I must put down the receiver in order to move to the front of the TV, because a shelf prevents the signal of the remote control to reach the receiver.

So I put down the receiver, get into position, and switch the receiver off. Counting. Switching it on. Still no signal. In the meantime, the tape keeps repeating its message. I got stuck – what to press now?

Oh – okay, it tells me to get back to the main menu – but there was nothing about customer service when I reached the “7”, remember? Okay – let’s try. I press the number to get to the main menue. It starts again – Press 1 for Smartcard Inquiries …… reaching 7, continues with Press 8 when you want to talk to a customer service assistant (or whatever they are called).

Ah - here it is, my desired number – I press the 8. Am I on the way to success? I can finally speak to some human being. Oh – the tape continues with a slogan – “Welcome to Astro…. Makes your life richer. We are committed to making your life easier.”

And so on. Sounds good – making your life easier, so help must be close. Hm – now the tape tells me that I am number 15 in line. It continues with advertisements, and songs, and tells me what great services they do now have on offer.

Every now and than, I hear that I moved up the line – in the beginning, it goes somewhat faster, than slower and slower. However, when this happens it first tells me that it now transfers me Customer Service Representative – stop. They are all busy. If I want to continue I need to press 2. Sure I want. I keep hanging on.

I learn that if my old Smartcard expired Sept 15 – well, that was last month, and I got my new one (how old is the ad??). I learn about new Astro Box Office Movies. I learn that there is a new children channel on 63. That continues and continues. 11.15 AM. I have pressed the Number 2 – my interest to stay in the line, about 15 times already.

Now finally, I get through – hurray, after nearly memorising the songs, I can talk to someone. As usual, those guys are friendly, and the guy I am talking to, called Vincent, he leads me through the process. Is the smart card in. Check the configuration, check the cable – all okay. What about the reception. Every time he asks me something to do, I put down the receiver, and run to follow the instruction. This all goes on for about 5 minutes or so. Than he asks me to switch off the receiver – until it is totally down and out.

The remote refuses to do its tasks. Vincent asks me to switch off the main power supply. Okay – I run of to the board and switch of one after the next till I reach the correct one.

When I get back to the phone it is dead. Since I have a phone together with a fax machine, it runs with electricity. Quickly, I put the power back, and of course, Vincent is gone, Oh no – do I need to start all over again? It is now 11.30 AM, and my family planned to go to Cyberjaya to check something out.

Okay, let's do it – I dial the number again. Press 1 for Bahasa, Press 2 for English. All is okay, I shortly stuck again, since I cannot remember that I have to wait for the “8”, but than, I am back in line. Position 15. Grrr. But somehow, somehow they must have kept my number since suddenly, I jump the line and can talk to another guy. No Vincent.

I tell him what happened, and he only asks me, if the Astro dish belongs to us or management of the Condominium. No – it is not mine. He replies that apparently, there is nothing wrong with my receiver, that I would have to check with management and it doesn’t work, Astro would have to send someone over to help. That was a five minute thing. So short?

What I like at the whole service is the friendliness of the customer service representatives. They are really nice and try to help - Vincent, if you read this : Thanks Vincent, a job well done.

I hate part with the machines. I didn’t like that the customer service is number 8, after transmission errors, which has got number 7 (but 8 brings luck). Surely this is done to avoid that everyone is straight going for the customer service and totally blocks the lines with the little things. Everybody likes to talk to persons instead of to machines. But it is a bit confusing.

My opinion is as well, that the human touch is lost when all you have is machines. This is a great chance for Astro to “bond” with their customers. But while I listen to the endless repetition of the tape, I get angry, uptight, whatever. None of the ads convinced me to change my package or subscribe to something new. Nothing worse than getting off the line with the jingles in my mind.

The big question is: is this really successful? Do people quickly change their mind, when their service is down, that they don’t want to talk to someone anymore, but instead, that they want to subscribe to Astro Box Office Movie Packages? Or, that the moment their service is up again, they call back to subscribe to something new? My need at that point of time is to get my receiver fixed. Nothing more. It is okay to go through the first steps – although improvements are possible – but the other promotion that I have to listen to is just pushed down my throat.

Well, my wife hopefully has the time to talk to our building management today. If not, I might be back in the line - starting position 15.


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