Thursday, August 26, 2010

How to build a culture of good customer service in Singapore

Customer service in Singapore generally  leaves much to be desired.

For instance, you have MRT officers who don't even make eye contact with customers or who are multi-tasking at the same time.

Others give you the impression they're doing you a favor. 

Singaporeans are partly to be blamed for rude and indifferent customer service.

They don't demand good customer service, accepting sloppy service meekly.

The reason why customer service in Japan is first-rate lies in the fact that the Japanese demand and expect it. In Japan the customer is god, with the power to bring down your business.

If we wish to develop good customer service, we need to be more assertive, refusing to be treated shabbily particularly in day-to-day dealings.  

A refusal to patronize businesses with shabby customer service is a good starting point.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Singapore Customer Service: Mustafa Centre vs Swatch Watch

When the batteries on my Timex and Swatch watches were depleted, I went to Mustafa Centre (after futile attempts with a screwdriver and coin). After buying the batteries, I went to the watch department to get  help in opening up the battery compartment to replace the spent batteries.

But to my disappointment, they refused with the claims that they didnt have the proper tools. Since they could make adjustments to new watches  I was rather sceptical.

Passing by a Swatch watch in Terminal 3 at Changi Airport today, I asked the staff if they could open my Swatch watch battery compartment.

Without hesitation, they took the watch and opened up the battery compartment in one second!

Mustafa Centre, if they wish to grow further, should improve on their customer service which at the moment is ho-hum.

I will be writing to Swatch to highlight their good customer service at Terminal 3.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Shocking customer service in computer shop

A friend, who did not have much technical knowledge, went to an audio-visual shopping gallery to: (1) buy some 7 cm blank DVD discs and (2) get technical advice regarding his 5 year old video-cam.  Three sales people in the empty shop neither greeted him nor tried to provide assistance when he came in.

One salesman my friend approached was nonchalant but when the shop assistant finally tried to help, my friend was unable to understand his explanation.  The salesman became rude and told my friend that it was not his duty to help customers.  The man kept on arguing and to avoid a scene, my friend bought the discs and left the shop in a huff.
Although he could be more helpful, his words for my friend, "I am a salesman and cannot provide technical advice.

(The above story was provided by a friend. If you have personally encountered any bad customer service please do write to me so
I can highlight it. Thanks)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Apple resellers in Singapore lost my business

In the last two posts I've highlighted the bad customer service by EpiCentres, Apple resellers in Singapore.

The final outcome?

I've lost all interest in Apple. The product I had lusted after no longer seems a must-have after all.

Apple lost more than $1000 in business from their resellers' zero customer service.

Customer service in Japan is first-rate because customers demand it.

The bottom line is it's your money after all. Why should you enrich them?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Apple EpiCentres in Singapore: service sucks 100%

Yesterday I called all the six Epicentres selling Apple products, and not a single one bothered to pick up the phone.

Perhaps they were really busy so I called again this morning. Same thing happened-all either sleeping on the job or taking cover or pretending to be busy.

Aren't they running a business?

Since they display such poor customer service, Apple should consider scrapping them from its list of re-sellers. They are giving Apple a bad name.

And its customers a headache!

These places are really epicentres-epicentres of very poor customer service!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Apple customer service in Singapore: EpiCentres get F grade

Apple may make lustful products but its customer service in Singapore leaves much to be desired.
There are 6 EpiCentres in Singapore selling Apple products.

I called all of them to make an enquiry but not one bothered to pick up the phone. These places are not exactly swarming with customers at 3pm on a weekday. As a matter of fact, unless Apple is launching a new product like the iPad, they are pretty deserted.

Apple Singapore deserves an F grade for customer service.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Japanese customer service - myth or truth?

When it comes to customer service, the Japanese are right at the top. No question. Theirs is unique, and I don't think any country in the world can surpass them.

And it's not just those in posh shopping malls but also those in convenience stores, commuter train stations, bus drivers and conductors and ordinary shopkeepers who are extraordinarily polite and respectful towards towards their customers.

And they are prepared to go the extra mile to serve you. When a customer makes an enquiry they're totally focused on his or her expectations.

At train stations, officials take the trouble to explain what's printed on the tickets.

At a shopping mall in Tokyo I noticed a lady carrying some files bowing to passers-by every now and then. I put her to the test by pretending to ask for directions. She went to great length in explaining how to get to a certain shop.

I noticed an old lady entering a bookshop, and coming out with one of the staff members. From her body language I guessed she was asking for directions as well.

To the Japanese, customers are gods. And they demand good service.

We have much to learn from the Japanese about good customer service. With aspirations to be a shopping hub, Singapore has to take good customer service seriously or lose out to countries like Hong Kong, Thailand and Japan.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Philips Singapore vs Best Denki Singapore Customer Service

In my opinion and that of my friends , Philips products are not very popular. Frankly, when you want to buy a TV, the brands that come to mind are maybe Sony, Panasonic or Korean brands like Samsung.

However, its juicer seems good so I bought one.

The trouble started when I tried to register it online as required. First, Philips website wants you to . create an account (with lots of personal info). OK, I did that.

But when I tried to register its product, it failed after 5 attempts. I gave up. I tried to send them an email but they want all kinds of personal info first. I gave up. So much hassle just to send a simple email.

I decided to email Best Denki. As simple as ABC unlike Philips.

And Best Denki was prompt with their response, and helped resolve my problem.

As for Philips (Best Denki contacted them), the firm contacted me, explaining at great length how to register my product. I had done all that but I failed 5 times as mentioned earlier.

This is the last time I buy a Philips product. The hassle alone can kill you. Perhaps it tries to capture too much personal information from customers (invasion of privacy), and thus overload its system.

It should simplify the processes of registering its products and its email system.

As they say, once bitten twice shy!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hotel Seven , Malacca vs Naza Hotel Malacca

In the previous post I expressed my unhappiness at Naza Hotel Malacca poor customer service in not replying to my email.

I've been to Malacca and back and after 4 days Naza Hotel has still not yet replied.

Well, a blessing in disguise really as I stayed at Hotel Seven which is new and clean. At RM$115(78 for weekdays)for a double room, it was a good deal. It even has its own basement carpark.

Situated opposite Bukit Cina at the end of Jln Temenggong,it is within spitting distance of some popular restaurants.

For surfers like me,the wifi was great. Two desktops in the lobby are for guests' use.

I'll certainly consider staying at Hotel Seven on my next visit to Malacca.

Naza Hotel's loss was Hotel Seven's gain.

The customer is king!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Naza Hotel, Melaka - score for its customer service is ...

To say I'm pissed off with Naza Hotel in Melaka is putting it mildly.

I sent them an email 24 hours ago to enquire about a promotion but it has still not responded.

What kind of business are they running when even potential guests' enquiry is ignored? This is the first time I've encountered such poor service from a hotel.

Naza Hotel is a hotel chain in Malaysia, not some shady hotel.

It's not only lost potential customers but its reputation will be further marred by negative feedback by word of mouth.

Score for its customer service? ZERO.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

POSB vs MAYBANK: which is better?

I always dread going to any POSB branch. Customers often have to queue for a long time. Those who suffer the most are the elderly and those with health problems. Long queues are common at most POSB branches.

When I asked their staff why couldn't they issue Q numbers the reply was that some customers miss their turn and then insist on being served all the same. Not a very convincing excuse in my opinion.

At Maybank customers are given a Q number,and provided with comfortable seats while waiting. If Maybank and others eg Stanchart don't find the Q- number system a logistic nightmare, I fail to understand why POSB is reluctant to emulate them.

Personally, any business that makes me stand in line unnecessarily for too long gets the thumbs-down. Want my money? Make sure your customer service meets my expectations or I'll go elsewhere.

It's as simple as that.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Singapore Customer Service: hype or truth? /shopping at Metro Singapore

All big firms boast of their good customer service. Some claim we're their valued customers. Others urge us to  contact them if we need any assistance.  Are their claims mere hype or the truth?

With my team we aim to uncover the truth behind their claims.


Armed with a shopping voucher, I went to Metro in Sengkang at the weekend. With vouchers normally you don't get back any change so I was pleasantly surprised when the cashier gave me a $2 credit voucher.

I must have telegraphed my sense of surprise to her because she kept on stressing that I should not lose it.

So, bouquet to Metro and the Malay lady cashier in particular (on level 2)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jalan Kayu Roti Prata

Jalan Kayu in the Selatar airbase area has long been associated with roti prata(roti canai in Malaysia).

Recently on the way back from the airport, the cab driver was complaining bitterly about the poor service there.

He said,"I had to stand in line for a long time to order my food. And the food nowadays is just so so. Nothing special. And their food is becoming more and more expensive."

I share his views.With more and more customers packing the area, they think they can charge as much as they like.

These days I avoid the roti prata shops there.

Customer service in Singapore: excellence in customer service

Customer service in Singapore can best be summed up as "Patchy" with still lots of room for improvement. Of course, I'm speaking in general terms.

Unless you've been marooned on a desert island, everyone is a customer.

Good customer service is not about how much you've paid but whether the service has met your expectations and whether your overall experience has been pleasant.

In general, most people expect good service in exchange for their hard-earned money.

Customers can fire the CEO of even the largest company, and all its employees simply by not buying its goods and services.

That's why in Japan, where the customer service is arguably the best in the world, the customer is God!