SingPost apologises to author Neil Humphreys for experiencing helpless helpline

Globalisation making the world smaller. Not.

By Belmont Lay | September 11, 2017

Neil Humphreys, semi-official chronicler of Singapore life with his many books on this island, has chronicled another fascinating story in 2017.

Helpline call for Singapore services outsourced overseas

In short: A call to SingPost helpline for more information about the possible existence of a post office at Rivervale Mall turned into meandering back-and-forth.

The helpline staff had a tough time responding to queries about Singapore because he is based overseas.

In the end, Neil went down to Rivervale Mall in Sengkang and, lo and behold, there was no post office — except for a SAM kiosk.

SingPost apologises

SingPost in a pair of tweets, responded with an apology to Neil.

Neil, being absolutely chill about it, recommended SingPost not to take any drastic action.

Here is SingPost’s response to this case, in a statement to Mothership:

“SingPost currently outsources some of its call centre operations to India. We use a knowledge-based management system to store all relevant information to questions SingPost customers may have, and monitor interactions between our customers and our customer care representatives, including weekly quality assurance checks and quarterly audits on-site. The information is updated regularly.

We’ve spoken to our service provider about Mr Humphreys’ experience, and unfortunately the customer care representative was unfamiliar with the system. While Mr Humphreys was able to see the human side of the situation, we have flagged this to the call centre, and will continue to work with them to review protocols to ensure our customers get better assistance from our hotline.”

If you cannot see Neil’s post, here it is in full:

Me: Hello, Singpost, I’m calling to confirm that there is a post office at Rivervale Mall.
Singpost phone guy: That is correct, sir.
Me: That there is a post office?
Singpost: That this is Singpost.
Me: Where?
Singpost: On the phone, sir.
Me: I know that.


Me: So is there a post office at Rivervale Mall or is it just a SAM machine?
Singpost: That is correct, sir.
Me: What is?
Singpost: How can i help you today?
Me: For fuc… I mean, does Rivervale Mall have a post office?
Singpost: I’ll check for you sir. Where is the location?
Me: Rivervale Mall.
Singpost: I’ll check for you sir… Yes, that is correct, sir. The address is Eunos…
Me: Wait, what? Eunos? Rivervale Mall is in Sengkang.
Singpost: I’ll check for you, sir.
Me: No, you don’t have to check, sir. I know Rivervale Mall is Sengkang. Does it have a post office?
Singpost: I’ll check that for you sir.
Me: Thank you.
Singpost: What’s your name, sir?
Me: Neil
Singapost: Is that Nial?
Me: If you like.
Singpost: And your phone number?
Me: FOR FU… I’m sorry. why do you need my phone number. I just want to know if there’s a post office in Rivervale Mall. Yes or no?
Singpost: In case the line hangs up.
Me: Yes, I could see why that would happen a lot.


Singpost: Yes, there is a post office at Rivervale Mall.
Me: Thank you.
Singpost: Do you need the address?
Me: It’s Eunos, right?
Singpost: No, sir. It’s…
Me: Never mind. You’re not based in Singapore are you, mate?
Singpost: No, I’m based overseas, sir.

No kidding.
Singpost, I’m all for cost cutting (and certainly don’t blame poor bugger on the phone) but I’d grown a beard and lost will to live by time i was done.

(UPDATE: Went to Rivervale Mall. There is no post office, just a bloody SAM machine!!)

Related Article:

SingPost admits to using India call centres

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About Belmont Lay

Belmont can pronounce "tchotchke".

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