Archive for September 2009

LG is searching for 5 of its Chocolate phones

This is really a unique marketing campaign. LG is searching for 5 of its original Chocolate phones. They want to buy it back at US$10,000. The 5 serial numbers are significant to LG. Not sure what is the special reason yet. LG will reveal them on 8 Oct 2009. I wonder what is it. Anyone want to make guess?

In the meantime, try checking your LG Chocolate phone’s serial number. Who knows, you might be the lucky one. Remember to treat me coffee if you have it.

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Have you changed your EZ-Link Card?

Do you know that your old EZ-Link card will no longer be in used from 1st Oct 2009? (That’s next week!!!) So if you haven’t changed your EZ-Link card, remember to change it ASAP.

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One new “feature” of the new EZ-Link card is that there is no more deposit. Remember in the past when we have a $3 deposit in the card? Well, there is no more deposit for the new card. But you must have at least $3 in your EZ-Link card in order to take the train. Eeeerrr…. Isn’t that the same?

The new EZ-Link Card came under fire recently because of the new GIRO top up surcharge. GIRO top up users need to pay $0.25 for each transactions. There wasn’t any GIRO surcharge for the old EZ-Link card. In fact, I don’t know any companies that is charging surcharge for GIRO service.

Mr Gregory Gerald Danker, Vice-President, Marketing & Communications for EZ-Link, cite operating costs as the reason behind the “premium auto top-up service”.

Firstly, it amazed me that the old EZ-Link card is able to provide this “premium auto top-up service” at no extra charge while the new EZ-Link card isn’t. If the operating cost of the new EZ-Link card is so high, then why did we change to the new card in the first place? What are the benefits to commuters? Does commuters need a card that can be used on both public transport and car in-vehicle unit for ERP?

How much does it cost to change all the EZ-Link card to the new ones? And how much does it cost to change all the in-vehicle unit to be compliant with the new EZ-Link card? How many car park operators need to change their existing system so that it can support the new in-vehicle unit? Who is going to foot these bill? Is it worth the money and effort to change the EZ-Link card? Can those money be put into better use?

If the operating cost of the new EZ-Link card is going to be higher than the old card, then why are we changing? From a commuter point of view, the new EZ-Link card is still the same as the old one. Yes, you can argue that the new EZ-Link can be used for in-vehicle unit and buying stuff. But do we need these features?

If these features can be provided without extra cost, then yes, its a great system. But if commuters need to pay surcharge for GIRO top up, then perhaps the folks at EZ-Link and LTA need to re-think about it and ask themselves…. Why are we changing to this new EZ-Link card?

Sneak peek of the F1 Rocks backstage

Got a chance to tour the F1 Rocks backstage on Tuesday. Unless you have been living under the rock (pun intended), you would know that F1 rock is a three-day music festival held at Fort Canning Park, Singapore. Megastars like Jacky Cheung, A-Mei, No Doubt, The Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce and many more will be performing. The performance will also be broadcasted in 147 countries.

Let me say this first. They were still busy setting up everything when we are touring the area. So you will see nothing but mess in this sneak peek. Of course by the time you read this, the place will be all set for the party.

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The stage is huge. It took the organisers 4 days to build the stage using a 80 ton crane.

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Noise warning sign at the Fort Canning Park. Looks like some serious partying going to happen for the 3 days.

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A long list of prohibited items. Sad that no food and drinks are allowed. It would be nice to have a picnic before the performance start.

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Another stage for partying after the performance.

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The VIP area. Still work in progress. There will be several large LG TV around the area so that the VIP won’t miss the action outside.

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View of the stage from the side of the VIP seating area. How I wish I have the VIP tickets.

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Artist dressing room. All artist are given a room backstage. Still in a mess.

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Beyonce’s dressing room. She requested all white furniture. Looks like a very comfortable chair.

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The artist waiting area backstage. There is a Johnnie Walker bar. I wonder do they drink before or after the performance. Or both.
OK, I know every isn’t ready yet.

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And that’s the area where artist will have their photoshoot before and after the performance. And since we are there, why not take a group photo. :)

The F1 Rocks will be held at Fort Canning Park, Singapore from 24 to 26 Sept 2009. You can still get your tickets from SISTIC although I heard the tickets for Saturday has been sold out.

Update: F1 Rocks & LG will be releasing another 200 tickets for the sold out Saturday performance. The tickets will be sold at LG Concept Store at Vivo City, from 11am on Saturday 26th September. The first 10 lucky people will receive their tickets for free! The next 50 people will receive special LG goodie bags with their purchase. All tickets will cost $200 in cash purchases only, on a first-come-first served basis! Tickets are limited to one ticket per person.

Are you being served? – Nokia Service Centre (Wheelock Place)

Read about my mission plan here.

Before I send the (badly abused) Nokia E51 for repair, I called up Nokia customer service hotline to confirm if the damage is repairable by their service centre. I was surprised that there is virtually no waiting time on the phone. I explained the problem to the customer service officer and she confirmed to me that the damage can be repaired at their service centre. When I query about the cost, the customer service officer isn’t able to provide me a rough quotation. I was told that only the customer service centre is able to give me quotation after inspecting the damages. Fair enough.

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So I head down to Suntec Nokia Service Centre 2 days later to get the E51 repaired. I was surprised that the service centre is rather empty for a weekend. I explained the problem to the front counter staff and she told me that their branch will be closing down at the end of the month and they won’t be accepting new repair job. I was advised to send the phone to other Nokia Service Centre for repair. Time for me to take out my red pen and minus marks for Nokia Service Centre. Why didn’t the Nokia customer service hotline staff inform me that Suntec Nokia Service Centre will be closing soon? Why isn’t that information reflected on Nokia website?

So I went to Wheelock Place Nokia Service Centre. Like the Suntec branch, the Wheelock Place Nokia Service Centre is also rather empty for a weekend. It’s completely different from my past experience of a overcrowded handphone Service Centre. Once I entered the Service Centre, I was greeted by the front counter staff with a radiant smile. In fact, the front counter staff is so courteous that I think it made many customers forget that they wanted to bang the table and make a big fuss.

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I explained the problem to the friendly front counter staff. She is unable to confirm if the service centre could repair that damage. So she asked me to take a seat while she go inside to check with the technicians. Usually, the service staff would just go inside to check some staff and leave you standing at the front counter. I must say that I’m pretty impressed by the service standard of the front counter staff. A few minutes later, she reappears and told me that its repairable and gave me a queue number.

Waiting time was short since the Service Centre is rather empty that day. Maybe I was lucky. The customer service officer started processing the repair order. I notice that she is very careful when handling my phone. OK, time for me to test to see how they handle special customer request. I started enquiry about their Ovi Store and asked how do I get Ovi Store on the E51. It’s actually quite easy to get Ovi Store on the phone and I think they usually advice customers to install it themselves. But to test out their service, I request the customer service officer to install it for me. But instead of putting that request down on the repair order, she told me to inform the customer service officer when I’m collecting the phone. Wouldn’t it be better to record it in the repair order so that it can be installed for me before I collect the phone? Strange.

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So I went back a few days later to collect the phone. It was a weekday and I’m rather surprised that the Nokia Service Centre is more crowded on a weekday compared to weekend. I was greeted by the same super friendly and courteous front counter staff. She gave me a queue number and inform me that there are 11 customers infront of me and it would take roughly 20 minutes of waiting time. Not bad, I was kinda expecting the waiting time to be more than an hour with that kind of crowd. Good thing is that they have many Customer Service Officers on duty. And it was my turn in less than 10 minutes.

And since its a very simple repair job, nothing can go wrong. They also upgraded the firmware as requested. But I have to ask the Customer Service Officer to install the Ovi Store for me, which took around 5 minutes or so. And bonus point to them for cleaning the dust trapped between the LCD screen and cover. Something that I purposely didn’t request them to do to see if they take their own initiative.

As a whole, I’m pretty pleased with the service at the Wheelock Nokia Service Centre. The staff are friendly and patient when answering random questions posted by me. The Service Centre also provide chargers for you to charge your Nokia handphone while waiting for your turn. But there are still some rooms for improvements.

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So did Nokia Service Centre Go The Extra Mile For Service (GEMS)? I would say no. But I do think they did Go The Extra Kilometers For Service.

Are you being served? – The plan

Met up with the folks behind GEMS (Go The Extra Mile For Service) regarding a new campaign that they are doing. It’s called Are you being served. Its a blog that investigates the service standard in Singapore by getting people to be “mystery shoppers”. It sounds fun, so I decided to take up the task.

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So happen that I need to send Victor‘s Nokia E51 to repair. (Yes, I accidently damaged the back casing during my reservist. So need to get it changed before returning) Handphone service centre should be a good place to test Singapore’s service standard. If you were to search online, you will notice that there are a lot of complains about handphone service centre in the past. This will be a good opportunity to test out their service and see if they have improved over the years.

Some of the things that I will be taking note of:-
Service standard of staff
Waiting time
Product knowledge
Special request

And to be fair, I didn’t tweet/blog about this mission beforehand. Just in case it gets picked up by the Nokia or their PR agency. Check out my next blog entry on the “mission”.