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Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

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Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby carteki » Thu, 11 Dec 2014 8:16 pm

Hey all and sundry

I'm still around :) and pop by every now and then to see how you're all doing...

I've just had (in hindsight unsurprising) not great experience with a Singapore company on their customer service and am wondering whether or not I'm being too harsh on them. Xiomi is an up and coming Chinese brand that has a fitness tracker for $20, rather than the equivalent $80+ of the US competitor products. I ordered 5 of these from China 2 days before they announced that they would be selling from Singapore on Dec 16 (they are being posted to a friend in Singapore for me). So I asked if I could get my shipping back which seemed a reasonable question (someone thought it wasn't) because if I'd bought 2 days later I could've gotten free shipping. The reply was "Nope". To which I said was just rude and their reply is well its "personal messaging" therefore informal. Do you agree?

Attached is an image of the FB conversation I had with them.
Image

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby maneo » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 1:03 am

A single word reply to a customer is inappropriate, even if it were a "Yes" or "OK."
They don't need to reply in a formal way, but in this case they should have elaborated on why the request was not reasonable.

It is too bad that the people taking the order may have been unaware that these would be selling in SG soon.
They should have told you about this, if they had known.

Did you try check if your order had already been shipped?
If it hasn't, perhaps you could cancel that order and then order locally.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby Brah » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 8:27 am

Good for you Cartiki - I agree with what you wrote to them, and would have said and done the same thing. I see it took an hour for them to respond to you. Also agree with Maneo re a one word reply from a service person.

I occasionally use that word in casual conversation, and only in written conversation for levity or where it is appropriate to and where I think the reader will take it in the intended way. Kinda like kinda, or gonna. Intentional poor English.

To be fair I have seen nope misused by both foreigners and locals. But I see it more often than not from locals, and in every instance it was wrong and sent a negative nuance along with the the intended message. This includes from colleagues in company chat utilities.

To say that is offensive, when not from someone in a service situation, is too strong a word and have not had coffee yet to think of the right word.

"Nope" is not simply "no" - it carries with it a bratty and dismissive nuance. And like many such nuances spoken here it is misused.

Is it used in a bratty and dismissive way? Probably not, but I don't like always having to put on the Allowance Filter for thing like this, or "Jap" or other such things.

Does it make the user seem a little stupid or poorly educated of incapable of speaking proper English? Yes, pretty much every time.

So here's a simple guideline - just don't use that word.
Last edited by Brah on Fri, 12 Dec 2014 8:43 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 8:37 am

For me it's a lot easier. I just remember I'm not home but in a foreign land. That way I don't get all angsty when I hear it. There are a lot worse mangled words/phrases/idioms here that to me are just as grating but I just consider the source. Makes it easier. I didn't expect 1st world grammar usage here when I came here and I still don't.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby nakatago » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 8:40 am

I don't find using "nope" offensive.

I did find the response dismissive--and classic Singapore--lacked empathy, though.

"Nope"---that's it? Guy didn't ask why you were asking for your shipping back. He didn't apologize for not being able to give you an affirmative response or even discussed why not. Poor customer service.

You want a good example of keeping it casual with customers? How about this one from Samsung Canada: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o ... le2444003/

Here's the gist:
* Guy asks Samsung if he can have the then-new phone for free and he gave Samsung Canada a crudely drawn picture of a dragon breathing fire.
* Samsung rep politely rejects the request; gave a crudely drawn picture of a kangaroo on a unicycle in exchange for the dragon. It came with a disclaimer that the Samsung rep is not an artist.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby Brah » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 8:51 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:I don't get all angsty when I hear it.....I didn't expect 1st world grammar usage here when I came here and I still don't.

Nor I and nor I. Used wrongly just makes the user look like a dope. Rhymes with nope.

Reminds me of something, maybe I can dig it it up.

Edit: Found it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mKIuZ4tIzk
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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 9:08 am

Any question sent (as a private person) by e-mail to an average SG company: respond rate ~50-60%. This goes further down if the question refers to a problem to be solved by the company. I met you once but have you really lived in Singapore? You got a brilliant, elaborative piece on conversation (likely thanks to FB) and you call it rude. So spoiled.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 9:26 am

Personally I got used to it, I mean to this language related "rudeness". What still p**s me off is this habit of turning their failures to "politeness" or just ignoring it. Examples:
A company delivered a custom-designed product, so substandard and so not according to the agreement it could be actually considered as a fraud attempt. After lengthy conversation: as an act of good will we offer $50 discount.
A shop assistant in one of the popular expat oriented grocery chains made an obvious mistake charging me over $30 more than she should. Pointed to her mistake. Nothing. Asked to call a manager. Mistake corrected. In all such cases, no apologies, no nothing.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby the lynx » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 9:44 am

x9200 wrote:Personally I got used to it, I mean to this language related "rudeness". What still p**s me off is this habit of turning their failures to "politeness" or just ignoring it. Examples:
A company delivered a custom-designed product, so substandard and so not according to the agreement it could be actually considered as a fraud attempt. After lengthy conversation: as an act of good will we offer $50 discount.
A shop assistant in one of the popular expat oriented grocery chains made an obvious mistake charging me over $30 more than she should. Pointed to her mistake. Nothing. Asked to call a manager. Mistake corrected. In all such cases, no apologies, no nothing.


Always remember, the culture here is not raised on apologies. To never lose face. Their ancestry's pride and honour is hanging by their ability to hold off their sorry's. That's why apologising is very frowned upon.

That's also why they always make fun of the British politeness (excuse me, I beg your pardon) and the Canadian niceties (sorry x 100).

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby Brah » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 9:58 am

To Lynx's point, I have always seen this as their weakness, and, always saw the counter to this, the Japanese effusive politeness, as a higher functioning sensibility which took centuries. Western people just seem do to this naturally and more naturally. Those who do this, that is.

Kiasu is a prison and a weakness, and is not honorable. It is petty and frankly, low class.

The ability to accept and atone for one's faults is not easy, but a higher, more mature, more sophisticated function. The opposite borders on Barbaric.

And actually, it is surprisingly easier than some may think.

The baggage one takes away from these things, such as the guilt of knowing that everyone knows you are wrong including yourself, is not only unnecessary, but self-damaging.

The merit of atoning for one's little mistakes makes that person respectable and likeable.

If that is the foundation of their pride and honor, it is a very weak foundation indeed.
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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby x9200 » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 10:06 am

@Lynx: Yeh, I know and try to remember but the problem is in my (and probably many other people) eyes they lose few times more face acting like this. The way they "handle" the issues is like they are idiots or think you are an idiot what further more implies the first.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby JR8 » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 10:10 am

I'm not clear why you ordered this Chinese (not SGn) brand, from China, and then later dealt with Customer Service in SG when they haven't launched here yet.

That aside the tone/style of the person you dealt with is just incredible :shock:

Presumably you are now 'swarming' their Facebook page?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiaomi
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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby the lynx » Fri, 12 Dec 2014 11:26 am

Brah wrote:To Lynx's point, I have always seen this as their weakness, and, always saw the counter to this, the Japanese effusive politeness, as a higher functioning sensibility which took centuries. Western people just seem do to this naturally and more naturally. Those who do this, that is.

Kiasu is a prison and a weakness, and is not honorable. It is petty and frankly, low class.

The ability to accept and atone for one's faults is not easy, but a higher, more mature, more sophisticated function. The opposite borders on Barbaric.

And actually, it is surprisingly easier than some may think.

The baggage one takes away from these things, such as the guilt of knowing that everyone knows you are wrong including yourself, is not only unnecessary, but self-damaging.

The merit of atoning for one's little mistakes makes that person respectable and likeable.

If that is the foundation of their pride and honor, it is a very weak foundation indeed.


Exactly.

That's why those who are brought up in a very Chinese environment *can* stoop to lowest acts of anti-civility or be ruthless without remorse or guilt, which is very ironic when "losing face" is a huge deal in that culture (so I guess it is the situation of "you won't lose face if you have nothing to lose/do not get caught"). You don't see this behaviour among those who were exposed to more worldly environment. You can't really blame them because it is purely ignorance or absence of such awareness. That's why in movies, scenes of character making gestures of apology are always the climax/anti-climax. Having said that, one should really value an apology from a very Chinese person when that really happens.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby carteki » Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:01 pm

Thank you for your replies and sorry for my late reply. I'm currently viewing the amazing sites of Petra in Jordan :D

The good news is that my items arrived :) I just want to clarify that I did realise in hindsight that I really shouldn't have found the reply odd, but as I've been exposed to non-SG customer service for the last year that is probably why it was such a surprise.
Interesting discussion on "face saving" and apologies.

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Re: Singapore Informal Conversations with Customers

Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 16 Dec 2014 12:57 pm

Brah wrote:To Lynx's point, I have always seen this as their weakness, and, always saw the counter to this, the Japanese effusive politeness, as a higher functioning sensibility which took centuries. Western people just seem do to this naturally and more naturally. Those who do this, that is.

Kiasu is a prison and a weakness, and is not honorable. It is petty and frankly, low class.

The ability to accept and atone for one's faults is not easy, but a higher, more mature, more sophisticated function. The opposite borders on Barbaric.

And actually, it is surprisingly easier than some may think.

The baggage one takes away from these things, such as the guilt of knowing that everyone knows you are wrong including yourself, is not only unnecessary, but self-damaging.

The merit of atoning for one's little mistakes makes that person respectable and likeable.

If that is the foundation of their pride and honor, it is a very weak foundation indeed.


Well said, mate.


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