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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Unbelievably Poor Service from Phillip Securities

I recently have encountered a series of disappointing encounters with the service fronts. No wonder more are leaving local companies for foreign counterparts. From a ChannelNewsAsia news article, companies in Singapore are losing customers faster when compared to firms across the region. A recent survey which found that six out of ten consumers here changed service providers in the past year. I shall name SBS Transit, Citibank and Phillip Securities as those few whom I have had bad encounters with. Of course I should not stereotype an organization as a whole, however, a handful of black sheep would be enough to put a black mark on the whole. Isn't this how the world works?

I shall describe the sequence of events with Phillip Securities recently below and I bet you yourself will be left bewildered if you were me.

14 Nov 2007

I sent an email to AMK Phillip Securities to make an enquiry on transaction fees for telebroker and SMS service. Having waited for a week without reply, I decided to call Phillip Securities. I got an answer from the call.

8 Mar 2008

I finally got a reply from Phillip Securities but I was left shocked. Phillip Securities Ang Mo Kio branch actually used my Nov 2007 email to notify me on a 15 Mar 08 event. Still, no answer to my questions were provided. This just shows my email is never lost but rather, it is left ignored. I replied the email to demand an explanation from AMK Branch team.

11 Mar 2008

ZXXX replied to my email reassuring me that email was sent to the relevant department for assistance. On the same day, I replied and told ZXXX and team that I already had got answers to my questions. What I am more concerned is why simple questions like transaction fees are not known to the entire AMK team.

14 Mar 2008

For 3 days, no one replied my email. Hence, I emailed AMK team again for status. None seemed to even bother to reply. In my latest email, I threatened to escalate this issue to the higher authorities. I also appended several exclamation marks to my email subject title hoping they will place some urgency to this issue.

15 Mar 2008

Indeed, my "exclamation marked" email was effective. ZXXX replied telling me an email had been sent to POEMS and someone will get back to me. Very soon, I received an email from AMK branch dealer. The dealer is based at Raffles City Tower main office. In the email, he provided me with detailed answer to my question. He also mentioned that they tried to reach me through phone on both 12 and 13 Mar but to no avail. I could be busy that time. Email was also sent on 12 Mar but I never receive it. Since then, no further follow-up actions were taken. I emphasized my below concerns to him:
  1. AMK branch is an investor centre which provides account opening services for walk-ins. Suppose no dealer is present that day, then there will be no one in AMK branch qualified enough or knowledgeable enough to even answer basic questions like transaction costs. Wouldn't this be a big shame? Who would still want to open an account with POEMS? Let's assume there is at least one who knows the answer, he will still be unable to answer. According to the AMK branch dealer, only dealers are allowed to answer trading related questions. AMK branch opens even on weekends but dealers work only 5 days per week. This sounds ridiculous.

  2. I doubt the quality of AMK team. No one has got the initiative to even call up other branches or a dealer for an answer.

  3. What is the level of training provided to the team in an investor centre like AMK? If they are really not supposed to answer basic questions, then what are their roles in AMK branch?

  4. What is the minimum entry requirement to be part of Phillip Securities team in an investor centre?

  5. Since I sent my questions to a general email address, I assume more than one will have access to it. Who are granted access rights to checking emails? If there are no tracking or any form of audit logs in place, how Phillip Securities ensure all emails are read and replied? Person A can simply delete an email and Person B will not even know what had happened.
I am asking all these questions because I am having doubts in the capabilities, level of initiatives, working altitude, etc in their respective job scope. I seek yours or whoever inputs to my above questions. I hope to bring about better service in AMK branch and other branches with this lesson learnt. Please include whoever may be more senior or relevant in this discussion.

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