Improve customer service for tech issues

I felt a sense of deja vu when I read Mr Foo Tuan Tong's letter about the digital payment snafu (System error prompted me to pay for my burger three times; Sept 21).

Last year, I signed up for a trial programme, in which my credit card could be used directly to pay public transport fares.

The advantage of the system was that rather than paying in advance when topping up ez-link cards for example, the customer is charged at the end of a week for his public transport usage.

Everything was working fine for at least a couple of weeks until, one day, the machine at the MRT station would not read my credit card.

Fortunately, I had an ez-link card with me, which helped me complete my journey.

What followed was irritating, to say the least.

I had to make several calls and was shuttled from one agency to another.

Ultimately, I had to make a trip to the TransitLink office and it finally transferred the credit amount on my credit card on to another one of my ez-link cards.

I then had to get a new credit card from my bank.

New technology is bound to have teething problems, but it is how the issue is dealt with that makes the difference to the consumer.

A single-window contact system is vital and some empathy needs to be shown to the customer, perhaps with a simple apology or through a small token for the inconvenience caused.

Till such a culture gets embedded firmly in the system, it would be unreasonable to expect people to adapt to newer technological solutions easily.

Raju M. Iyer

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2018, with the headline 'Improve customer service for tech issues'. Print Edition | Subscribe