By Samuel Goh
Last January, it lasted for 4 days and as a result of that incident, M1 was fine $1.5 million by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA).
Almost 11 months later, it happened again – this time, M1 was down for a single day on 2 Dec 2013.
Earlier this month, it happened…… again……
M1 Mobile, the smallest of three Telcos in Singapore, left Subscribers stranded, without access to the mobile network for approximately 5 hours on 4 February 2014.
On the same day, a media statement was released on the incident:
SINGAPORE, 4 February 2014 – At about 7:00am today, our customers began experiencing difficulties making voice calls on our mobile network. Some customers were also unable to send and receive SMS or access mobile data, intermittently.
We immediately focused our efforts to restore services expeditiously. However, the complexity of the network required us to troubleshoot the numerous interlinked network entities. This systematic process was necessary to ensure effective restoration of services. Full service was restored at 12:15pm.
M1 has recently made significant investments to upgrade our mobile network by incorporating several new network entities and advanced software features. This has increased the complexity of the mobile network.
Our preliminary investigations suggest that a call processing software issue had unexpectedly prevented our customers’ devices from registering on the mobile network. A full investigation will be performed to determine the root cause of the incident.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers. We take this incident very seriously, and in addition to our own investigation, we will be appointing an independent expert to conduct a network architecture and connectivity review,” said Ms Karen Kooi, Chief Executive Officer, M1 Limited.
Ms Kooi added: “We appreciate our customers’ understanding, patience and support, and we would like to offer our customers one day of free local mobile calls, local SMS and MMS this Sunday as a goodwill gesture.”
In the media statement, M1 offered its customers one day of free local mobile calls, local SMS and MMS as a goodwill gesture.
What I am unsure about, is whether you call the above offer a goodwill gesture or a compensation?
According to Macmillan dictionary, the word “goodwill” have the following definition:
- a feeling of wanting to be friendly and helpful to someone
While “compensation” have the following definitions:
- money that someone receives because something bad has happened to them
- something that changes or removes the bad result of something
- behaviour that is intended to reduce the effects of a personal fault
Obviously “Goodwill gestures” have a more positive ring to it while “compensations” sounds a tad more associated with passive negative connotations.
So is this a goodwill gesture from M1 or a compensation for the service disruption?
First we need to understand who’s responsible for the maintenance of the service and what cause the disruption.
It’s undeniable that M1 is responsible for the maintenance of the service and according to M1, it seems that “a call processing software issue” is the cause of the disruption.
Since this an internal glitch, the onus goes to M1.
As a mobile service provider, the very least a subscriber would expect from M1, is a stable network that allows them to communicate (and I am talking about the most basic form of mobile communication – to have a tele-conversation).
M1 failed in the deliverance of the fundamental value that they are expected to provide, not once or twice, but three times in recent times.
In baseball terms, three times equate to a strike.
M1, you are out of the game.
Since M1 caused the disruption, what justified the so called “goodwill gesture”? It is definitely a “compensation” and not a “goodwill gesture”.
“Sometimes less is more” and you can see why.
Imagine you are an affected customer and you came across the sentence below:
“We appreciate our customers’ understanding, patience and support, and we would like to offer our customers one day of free local mobile calls, local SMS and MMS this Sunday as a goodwill gesture.”
Now try reading the sentence again, with the words “as a goodwill gesture” omitted:
“We appreciate our customers’ understanding, patience and support, and we would like to offer our customers one day of free local mobile calls, local SMS and MMS this Sunday.”
Doesn’t it makes you feel better? That the brand ain’t trying to take you for a good ride in the amusement park?
No media statement will ever please everyone but at the very least, do not allow your media statement to add on any unnecessary negative sentiment, worsening the situation than what it already was.
Indeed “sometimes less is more”.
Nothing to talk about as M1 ain’t there.
M1 might wanna take a look at what SingTel did when Mio TV had intermittent displays and learn from them.
Otherwise, they might want to read up on what Anton Casey should had done and learn a thing or two on search engine crisis management.