September 10th, 2008 at 8:41am
Just recently, PLDT launched this novel concept called “Ask PLDT”, where users can call and ask anything from the latest showbiz scoop to a good recipe for the day just by dialing 101-811. When I got hold of the flyer, the first thing that popped in my head is “Ask Jeeves Telephone Version”. Which got me thinking – can I possibly call and ask a hilarious quesiton like “Do you think I’ll find my soulmate sometime soon?” or something as trivial as “What goes better with a pair of dark blue jeans? Mustard or red?”? So call I did.
Apparently, though, my excitement was doused when I realized that all the questions and answers were already programmed into the phone and there weren’t any real call center agents handling it. Of course, this made total sense on their end because PLDT successfully eliminates prank callers (one of which could have potentially been me haha) and increase their cost efficiency. It takes out a lot of the fun in it though.
Objectively speaking, minus my sudden prank-calling tendency, the facility is somewhat useful and fun. You can get the latest news articles, the weather forecast, currently showing movies, the day’s horoscope, etc. I say somewhat because:
1. You can get all these info on the net anyway.
2. Some of the questions and answers are half-baked. For instance, you get the list of movies showing today but you don’t know the time schedules for a particular cinema. Or you can get a suggested menu for the day, but not the recipe per se (the programmed voice just tells you you could cook pork binagoongan but if you haven’t cooked that dish before, then you still need to do number 1 above).
3. You can also get some of these info on TV, served to you in a more entertaining way.
So, most likely, this service will be helpful to people with no access to the net (or no knowledge on surfing) and no access to a boob tube. Probably someone on the road, without a 3G phone. And this will just be a prerequisite to other things you need to do. Ex. You find out the the movies showing through Ask PLDT, now you have to actually go to a nearby cinema to see what the available time slots are (or use a certain SMS service).
Before I forget, you only have 30 free questions per month so don’t go on a question and answer spree.
One last suggestion I would give to make this service more user-friendly is to provide users with an accurate card that lists
the codes for each question. (ex. to get the weather forecast, press 1 then 2). That way, you don’t have to listen to the programmed voice over and over again, and use up all your time.
My bottomline is: Try the service out. You have some free question credits anyway.