Singapore Expats Forum

Customer Service in Singapore

Discuss about the latest news & interesting topics, real life experience or other out of topic discussions with locals & expatriates in Singapore.

melly
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun, 03 Feb 2008

Customer Service in Singapore

Postby melly » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 6:14 pm

I have some degree of frustration over the quality of customer service in Singapore. Hear me out...

I think the level of courtesy and politeness of the service in Singapore is fantastic. Whenever I enter and leave a shop or restaurant, I would be acknowledged. Singapore has come a long way in this aspect of service. In the old days, you'd likely receive a frown when you leave a shop without a purchase but now you'd get "thank you" as you step out regardless.

BUT... I'm becoming more frustrated by waiters/waitresses not asking questions when they do not understand me. I don't know how many countless times have I received food that is opposite from what I requested. Anytime I ask for a slight modification on the meal, to them it seems to cause a huge complication as they would make their own assumptions. This can easily be solved by asking ME questions if they are not sure. I'm not a monster who is going to eat up anyone who asks me questions. I always try to communicate my requests as clearly as possible but I rather get asked more questions to get my order right than receiving a completely wrong order thus wasting my time.

Additionally, there seems to be lack of initiatives in customer care. For example, I would bring a vegetarian guest to a restaurant. We would advise the wait person clearly foremost of all that my guest is a vegetarian. Then we would make an order, the vegetarian nature of the order would have been confirmed first with the wait person before ordering it. And what do you know...., when the order was presented, we found minced pork.

I would very much like to see this improved. I'm not sure if posting my frustration on this forum will make any difference but I can only hope.

User avatar
durain
Director
Director
Posts: 3666
Joined: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Location: Location: Location: Location:

Postby durain » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 6:57 pm

no problemo with my local hawker stores. :P

User avatar
cutiebutie
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 286
Joined: Sat, 01 Sep 2007
Location: Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Home

Postby cutiebutie » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 8:26 pm

:lol: Try Thailand. Order an orange juice and receive a steak. Even my Thai colleagues get frustrated when they order in Thai and the completely incorrect items arrive.
- Thank God for Darwin -

User avatar
durain
Director
Director
Posts: 3666
Joined: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Location: Location: Location: Location:

Postby durain » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 8:42 pm

cutiebutie wrote::lol: Try Thailand. Order an orange juice and receive a steak. Even my Thai colleagues get frustrated when they order in Thai and the completely incorrect items arrive.


like... looking for a fish hook in thailand and end up with a hooker? :P :D

User avatar
ozchick
Editor
Editor
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri, 21 Sep 2007
Location: Germany

Re: Customer Service in Singapore

Postby ozchick » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 8:44 pm

melly wrote:I have some degree of frustration over the quality of customer service in Singapore.



We also have some frustration too and we now try to pre-empt the problems by saying things like, "We'd like both meals brought out together please." OR "Could we have the drinks now please and not later with the meal, because we're VERY thirsty." OR "We'll need LOTS of drinks tonight so please keep checking on us".

The rooster gets quite annoyed by the scenario but as I've pointed out to him, the 'restaurant culture' here us not like what he's accustomed to in Europe. This is not Europe. Yibbida yibbida. End of story.
Likewise, in Australia, he might have to hear from a waitress "Are yous right ?" when one is wanting to place an order- not common but not that rare either. More likely , dreadful pronunciation of common dishes with French, Italian or German names.
Here in Sg I'm understanding that one should adopt the "When in Rome " philosophy OR pre-emt it in order to avoid grief. Try to avoid places where the food is expensive and English is non-existent. We got stung over at Rail Mall recently when despites excellent service and potentially great food, nobody there could advise us to what actually came with the dishes by way of salad, vegetables etc. We ended up paying a lot for things that weren't what we thought we'd be getting.
'Are you trying to tempt me because I come from the land of plenty?'

User avatar
EADG
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 880
Joined: Thu, 01 Sep 2005

Postby EADG » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 8:58 pm

a tip - in as few words as possible give only one instruction at a time,

any more than that and neither gets done
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape

User avatar
durain
Director
Director
Posts: 3666
Joined: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Location: Location: Location: Location:

Postby durain » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 9:45 pm

another tip - dont upset the staff or you will end up something "extra" for free on your meal. :wink:

User avatar
ukdesigner
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 394
Joined: Sat, 10 Mar 2007
Location: Closer than you think

Postby ukdesigner » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:02 pm

Basically there are a few don'ts..

1. Don't order anything and then ask for a change - it won't happen
2. Don't ask for something to be replaced i.e. a salad instead of chips (not crisps for the americans) CHIPS
3. Don't expect to get what you ordered if you changed something (i.e. asked for no cheese)

There are a few expects aswell...
1. Expect a blank look when you ask for something to be removed (aka the cheese again)
2. Expect to have to fully explain yourself several times
3. Expect to not always get what you ordered

I have found that if you ask for something that is not normal (normal to Singapore that is) you have to emphasis it several times, get them to repeat it to you, then explain that they got it wrong and explain it again.

I love this place, I really do but sometimes I just wanna scream. I once asked for a drink at a restaurant. It took 4 attempts to get it right. I only asked for the drink with no ice. Not exactly a big change from the normal.
Don't p*ss me off! I am running out of places to hide the bodies.

User avatar
durain
Director
Director
Posts: 3666
Joined: Thu, 23 Aug 2007
Location: Location: Location: Location:

Postby durain » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:21 pm

ukdesigner wrote:I love this place, I really do but sometimes I just wanna scream. I once asked for a drink at a restaurant. It took 4 attempts to get it right. I only asked for the drink with no ice. Not exactly a big change from the normal.


with lemon or lime? still? sparkling? how about a straw? or maybe an umbrella? :P

User avatar
sundaymorningstaple
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 34266
Joined: Thu, 11 Nov 2004
Location: Still Fishing!
Contact:

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 10:52 pm

I love it when members who sometimes thought me biased before their arrival to our fair shores, also tend to now sing similar tunes. Especially when they find the learning curve is so short as well.
:P

User avatar
Wind In My Hair
Manager
Manager
Posts: 2306
Joined: Tue, 19 Jul 2005

Re: Customer Service in Singapore

Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:01 pm

Oh gosh, this still cracks me up.

- I sit at a table and listen to a Westerner give an order.
- The waitress repeats it wrong.
- He hears the repeated order which sounds right to him.
- I tell him the waitress didn't get it right.
- He insists he was perfectly clear and she understood it.
- I ask the waitress to repeat the order. I hear the wrong order.
- I stare at him and ask if he would like me to re-do the ordering.
- He insists everything is under control.
- We wait. Wrong order comes.
- I want to laugh but try to remain respectfully upset.

HILARIOUS! Sorry if this upsets anybody, but it's just so funny to sit there watching this total misunderstanding transpire before my eyes (I mean ears).


ozchick wrote:This is not Europe. Yibbida yibbida. End of story.

And THIS is why I like you! You tell 'em girl. Half the expats in Singapore need to hear this. (The other half needs to hear that this is not America). *** Running for cover now... ***

Plavt
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 4289
Joined: Wed, 18 May 2005
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Customer Service in Singapore

Postby Plavt » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:09 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:
- He insists he was perfectly clear and she understood it.



That may be more accurate than your realize - elsewhere that is. I have seen foreigners in such places as tube stations order travel cards and alike and struggle with the English language. Not infrequently it is clear to me they have not really understood but try telling that to some of my fellow Englishmen and women. :(

User avatar
Saint
Director
Director
Posts: 3535
Joined: Thu, 16 Jun 2005
Location: The Juban Stand, Boat Quay
Contact:

Postby Saint » Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:28 pm

I don't think I've ever eaten out in Singapore where there hasn't been at least one local in the party so have never had this problem :D

User avatar
banana
Reporter
Reporter
Posts: 961
Joined: Tue, 24 May 2005

Postby banana » Wed, 11 Jun 2008 12:02 am

cutiebutie wrote::lol: Try Thailand. Order an orange juice and receive a steak.


that's not so bad is it? you might get change when you ask for your bill!
some signatures are more equal than others

local lad
Chatter
Chatter
Posts: 166
Joined: Tue, 13 Sep 2005

Postby local lad » Wed, 11 Jun 2008 10:09 am

Not too long ago, there was a report on service staff having difficulty with English language and was appalled to read that the managers do not send them for classes, mainly because there is no point to it :shock:

I was disappointed with their decision. Once, I was at the restaurant in a hotel. The waitress does not understand a simple instruction like a glass of water, until I said it in mandrain. How could the service sector survived with such ineptness?


  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “General Discussions”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests