Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Poor customer service (HP)

Here is another example of poor customer service. Most big organisations have a bad call center that makes life difficult for customers through the bad use of techbology.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so jaded by the poor service levels here that my option is now to subscribe to less services & buy less things so as to avoid problems for myself.

C H Yak said...

Yes, Singapore has bad "refund policy", right from small retailers to large distributors.

In Singapore, if you had bought something which might not be of the exact "fit" and asked for a re-fund (in exchange of returned goods), you are often told no refunds are allowed but you could exchange for something of similar or higher value instead.

It illustrates the "aggressive" attitude of our businesses here.

I bought some energy saving bulbs in China of a wrong type and asked for an exchange from the supermarket. The customer service department's staff checked the returned goods and gave a refund readily without questions.

In Singapore, there is a tendency to feel that that if everybody practises it that way, it is perfectly OK and justifiable.

Anonymous said...

I was in Adelaide Australia to visit my son last year. I was astonished to learn that items bought from the Hardware Supermarket could be returned for cash if one change his mind after purchase. No question asked and no time limit for return ( as long as one year or more )

Anonymous said...

REX comments as follows,

I think CARREFOUR used to have a no questions asked refund policy.

A few years ago, i bought AKIRA dvd recorder from them. I didn;t like it because AKIRA brand had a strange system, when you switch off the set a red lamp is lit up. When you switch on the set, the red lamp goes off. IT was crazy i couldn't accept it. I brought it back to the store after 3 days and got back full refund no questions asked.

On another occasion i bought a 4 men tent from Carrefour, after that i found it quite hard to assemble, so i packed it in (very hard to cramp it into the jacket) and returned. Again I got a full refund.

After these two experiences i always think of CARREFOUR when i buy anything.

But unfortunately they stopped this policy already. I no longer think of Carrefour nowadays.

I still think that big time retailers should continue the refund policy. Carrefour lost this loyal customer because of this.

rex

pyu said...

@C H Yak I wouldn't call it "aggressive". "regressive" seems to be a better word.

By adopting a limited/no-returns policy, you (as a retail business owner or manager) have disabled a feedback channel through which you can accurately gauge whether the product you are selling actually meets the customer's needs and wants.

As for all the customer service call centers, I have never had a satisfactory experience.

Anonymous said...

IKEA Singapore has a customer friendly refund policy as long as the item is return within 100 days.

In April, I bought an oven tray from IKEA at Tampines and found that it didn't fit into my oven as it was too big. I returned it last weekend more than 2 weeks later and got the money credited back to my visa card account.

There are companies that have customer friendly refund policy. They are the exception rather than the norm here in Singapore.

Merlion

VS Lingam said...

Generally, I have found good customer service in retail stores in Australia and USA. I guess it is similar in Europe. These countries have inherent service culture that is absent here. Some foreign MNCs, once they have a branch here, somehow seem to downgrade their customer service policy locally.

I had a good experience with Walmart in Chicago several yrs ago in winter. I bought a pair of gloves, but it was too thick. I could not key in my handphone buttons with the gloves on. Went back the next day to change it - no questions asked. The 2nd pair also did not fit right. So I went back the next day to change it - again no questions asked. The 3rd pair also did not work out. So I went back again, but this time to get a cash refund so that I can try another store. On all occassions I was attended to by the same salesgirl. Without a grudging word, she gladly gave me a full cash refund. All she wanted me to do was to fill out a simple form stating why I was not satisfied with the 3 purchases. No mames need to mentioned. I gladly filled the form.

I felt bad when I left Walmart. Here there was a salesgirl who was so obliging and helpful, but yet I could not give them any biz. Since then I always try to go to Walmart where available.

It will take a few generations for S'pore to develop such a service culture. It must come naturally from the heart.

C H Yak said...

@pyu
"@C H Yak I wouldn't call it "aggressive". "regressive" seems to be a better word."

The policy is certainly "aggressive" if you force a customer to "exchange" for something which may not be actually needed by the customer, and to get a more expensive item. If a suitable one is available, let it be exchanged and the price difference settled, if not why forced the customer to buy something more expensive which he does not actually require.

If an expendable item is not a correct "fit" it cannot be used.

VS Lingam said...

One can check out Mustafa too. While they do not provide cash refund, they will give you a Credit Note for the full value, sometimes even without a receipt. Just show them the price label.

hang lian said...

Most major retailers in NZ have a no question asked refund policy. The first time I tried to refund something (not knowing about the practice here), I started telling the staff why I needed to refund, she wasn't interested in the story, and just processed the refund...hahaha...

I also notice that the normal prices of things are usually more expensive here (gotta wait for a sale to get something), maybe that's why they are more willing to provide a no question asked refund policy.

Parka said...

Most shops here issue receipt that says "Once sold is not refundable". I always wonder why. It's not as if the shops can't afford to refund.

The thing is cash is king. The mentality is to hold cash and NEVER give refund. Yes you can offer multiple replacements but NEVER give refund.

Unfortunately, these retailers that don't give refunds are losing customers. The reason why customers want a refund is because the product does not work for them. It's already a negative experience and the non-refund policy just adds on to the negative experience. After that, who would want to be repeat customers. No one in the right mind will want to buy from them.

Apparently, these retailers can actually afford to lose customers, as suggested by the how rampant these non-refund policies are.

Some retailers are even worse. You not only cannot refund, you cannot complain as well. I'm sure many of you have read of retailers threatening to take action against bloggers who complain about their products and services. They give business (as a whole) a bad reputation.

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My colleague recently bought a gadget that was spoilt within 3 days. It cost over $50 and was not refundable when brought back to the shop.

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The best service I had is actually from Amazon, where I spend around $1000 monthly.

Their refund policy is fantastic. Just tell them the problem and they will either ship you a replacement (at their cost) or refund. They don't check to see if the customer is lying and there are many people who abuse the system to "buy" free products, and of course are subsequently blacklisted and banned from buying from them.

That's why I spend $1000 buying from them monthly.

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