Sunday, June 20, 2010

Customer Service

I have written several postings about the standard of customer service in Singapore. I have examples of good and bad customer service. Sadly, the examples of bad service are overwhelming.

It is quite easy to improve the customer service by simple changes to their operating procedures. But this require attention by decision makers.

Sadly, the culture in Singapore is for too many people, including service quality managers and customer service managers of large organisations, to follow instructions and preserve the status quo, rather than to innovate and change for the better. It seems that only the few people at the time can decide.

I like to ask my readers to help share the experience. Can you identify examples of good and bad service provided by the large organisations in Singapore, i.e. where it has a large impact on customers? Examples are bad call centers and websites that make life difficult for thousands of customers daily.

Tan Kin Lian


Anonymous said...

I was over at V.Hive just yesterday. There is no "service" at all.. I was in the shop roaming around for 20 mins. I was around their counter area looking for an office chair.. I was like transparent to them.

Anonymous said...

Rex comments as follows,

Sometimes the language is the source of the problem.
Recently, i was queuing up at cashier counter at NTUC Finest and once at Popular. The counter staff shouts "Next!" down the queue. I felt like i was in the army again being talked down to. i would have prefer the counter staff shut up and just do his/her job. Of course I think the coutner staff don't have any ill intentions dont misunderstand me. But "please" and also "sorry" are rather extinct in the singaporean vocabulary from young i think.

In Australia or elsewhere when real English is spoken, the word "next" usually comes free with a "please" added.

Perhaps singapore workers are too stressed knowing that the CPF system cannot support them and they are worrying all the time, so "where got time to be polite" or even smile, when they are half worrying about their own private affairs. It is a very deep problem.

On the plus side, some restaurants try to emulate taiwan style and greet customers with 欢迎光临, that's nice.


Anonymous said...

I had very bad experiences with Singapore Post. For example, about 1 month agao, I paid for local urgent mail courier on a Saturday afternoon and the document was supposed to be delivered by Monday 6 pm.

Called Singapore Post on Tuesday and they could not tell me what happened to the document.

When I threatened action, they called back to inform me they will deliver by Tuesday afternoon.

I told them their customer service stinks and finally they delivered the document by 10 am on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

local universities have bad customer ervice

Ronnie Eng said...

Customer Service is neglected by most businesses. Some think that their customers are just B2B.

Everyone is a customer to anyone, including our children and our parents and friends. We are trying to sell ourselves everytime there is an interaction.

Some key points about customer service:

A) There must be passion about the work
B) There must be empowerment
C) There must be rewards and recognition
D) There must be involvement from management ( from CEO to toilet cleaner)
E) There must be feedback.

Employment of mature workers can be effective only with redesign of the job or that the product warrants a mature employee.
Grooming, tone of voice and service language is sadly lacking.

These qualities can be infused
quickly only if managers devote more time in ensuring all employees go through a short course in appreciation of customer behaviour and trends.

Much money is spent on market research, buying franchises and renting of retail space.However, the best investment is in employee training in customer care.
It does not matter if the business product is fibre optics to oil rigs and trendy handbags.

There is a customer within and without, internally & externally.

The moment of truth turns magical when an employee establishes rapport and is fully aware of the customer's needs, aspiration or fears.

We can achieve this magic.
managers are responsible to induct these skills from the top right down to every segment of their business. Its called passion and belief.

The obstacles are usually: what is the ROI?

well, imagine the ROI when you lose 15% of sales to your competitor who gains 15% recurring sales.. all from your base just because it is not important that your employee smiles and says hello with energy and passion.

All products do almost the same function: notebooks,air travel,telephony, spaghetti , pizza. What makes them different? and what tempts and beckons the customer to return?

Front end sales and image... pure allure of brand may not bring in the sales anymore.. but imagine if you combine great branding with great customer care!... pure magic!

AIA? Prudential? great brands.. but what about their customer service from the agents?.. yeah.. right!

Anonymous said...

A malay lady cashier at the Sembawang Sun Plaza NTUC fairprice is very friendly and helpful. She agrees every customer and always put on a friendly smile.

Whenever I shop there and saw her working, I would automatically join the queue at her counter even if there are shorter or no queue at other counters.

Norman said...

I found that when I topped up my NETS flashpay card, there was some problem at the ATM. It turned out that my card was credited once, but my bank account was deducted twice.

I then called my bank, and after waiting and talking for 5 mins, I was told to call NETS.

By this time, I was quite upset, as I am going through a lot of trouble for a very small amount of money.

I emailed NETS, stating how I felt, and all I got was a reply that said, "Please fill in this form, and furnish the transaction history for your card". So much trouble for a small amount of money. No empathy or anything else.

katty said...

I believe that making customers feel welcome and appreciated is simply the best way of growing a business, regardless of industry.
"Customer service" is not just about taking orders and answering questions - it's about serving your customer, and helping them.
Small Business Answering service

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