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Customer Service in Singapore

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 9:48 am

local_lad,

Get a grip lad! Where did anybody say 99%?

I get the feeling that a lot...... does not say 99%. if the average yabbo in the average country is .05% of the country and another country has like say 2% then that country "has a lot" by comparison. Not all Singaporean are Kiasu by any means either, but a significantly large enough number are and therefore the stereotype sticks. Understand?

Unfortunately, after 26 years of living here, I have to tend to agree with turtle.

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Postby Nailah » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:23 am

So nice to have customer service stories to tell... All I've got in my shopping bag are "Solly no stock" and "Evri-ting is dair"... :-#


.

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Postby local lad » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:55 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:local_lad,

Get a grip lad! Where did anybody say 99%?

I get the feeling that a lot...... does not say 99%. if the average yabbo in the average country is .05% of the country and another country has like say 2% then that country "has a lot" by comparison. Not all Singaporean are Kiasu by any means either, but a significantly large enough number are and therefore the stereotype sticks. Understand?

Unfortunately, after 26 years of living here, I have to tend to agree with turtle.


I apologise for being so uptight but somehow that phrase does not run well with me , as far as I'm concerned. I am embarassed that Singaporeans behaved that way in expat's eyes but I hope turtle does not stereotype all Singaporeans as what turtle stated.

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Postby Turtle » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 12:23 pm

local lad wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote:local_lad,

Get a grip lad! Where did anybody say 99%?

I get the feeling that a lot...... does not say 99%. if the average yabbo in the average country is .05% of the country and another country has like say 2% then that country "has a lot" by comparison. Not all Singaporean are Kiasu by any means either, but a significantly large enough number are and therefore the stereotype sticks. Understand?

Unfortunately, after 26 years of living here, I have to tend to agree with turtle.


I apologise for being so uptight but somehow that phrase does not run well with me , as far as I'm concerned. I am embarassed that Singaporeans behaved that way in expat's eyes but I hope turtle does not stereotype all Singaporeans as what turtle stated.


I didn't mean to offend you either. No, I know not all Singaporeans are like that, but there's a good reason why Singaporeans have the "kiasu" stereotype. I have lived in London, Manchester and Toronto, and my personal experience and what I have observed is that in general, more people here are superficial, and superficiality is more widely accepted. I'm not saying that everybody is like that or even 50% are like that or whatever, it's just the general impression that I and many others have got.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 2:11 pm

It's kinda like the perceived notion that murder and mayhem run rampant in the USA. At least that is what the average Foreigner thinks. Why? Cause it makes good TV. It sells Newspapers. It sells Magazines. The media and people in general are quicker to point out quirks and abnormalities than they are to praise that which should be taken for granted. It's when that which is taken for granted is abused that people otherwise sit up and take notice. And that, sad to say is how stereotypes are born. If more do so here than elsewhere then that's what people remember. The odds of getting lousy service here is much higher the say a restuarant in NYC. The odds of getting drowned out by cellphones in the theater are much higher here (it's everywhere but worse here due to the constant sms'ing (Singapore, I believe, has the 1st place position of sms's sent per capita). The fact that they refuse to turn off their phones in the theaters, hospitals and other places that request that you do so is but just another example. (do you always turn off your phone?).

People remember the bad easier than they remember the good if it happens more often than the worldwide norms.

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Postby hk203 » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 2:49 pm

banana wrote:Eh. Since when is a smile or a greeting something you expect returns? Sure it's nice to be acknowledged but remember that retail staff face many more sullen expressions than you face grouchy salespeople.

When I pay my bills or make a purchase at peak hours, it's efficiency that counts. Quick in, quick out. When buying late night beers, I make small talk with the 7-11 staff. More often than not, they are quite happy to comply. After all, it's a change from their usual dull graveyard shift of stocking shelves.

The world doesn't revolve around you alone.


Is it that difficult to give a smile back? It's a very basic courtesy!! Efficiency at peak hours, don't tell me that you do not even have time to smile?? What a sad life you are going through man...

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Postby banana » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 3:00 pm

hk203 wrote:
banana wrote:Eh. Since when is a smile or a greeting something you expect returns? Sure it's nice to be acknowledged but remember that retail staff face many more sullen expressions than you face grouchy salespeople.

When I pay my bills or make a purchase at peak hours, it's efficiency that counts. Quick in, quick out. When buying late night beers, I make small talk with the 7-11 staff. More often than not, they are quite happy to comply. After all, it's a change from their usual dull graveyard shift of stocking shelves.

The world doesn't revolve around you alone.


Is it that difficult to give a smile back? It's a very basic courtesy!! Efficiency at peak hours, don't tell me that you do not even have time to smile?? What a sad life you are going through man...


Hey I'm not the one having a hissy fit because some random stranger didn't smile back at me.
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Postby ksl » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 3:14 pm

banana wrote:
hk203 wrote:
banana wrote:Eh. Since when is a smile or a greeting something you expect returns? Sure it's nice to be acknowledged but remember that retail staff face many more sullen expressions than you face grouchy salespeople.

When I pay my bills or make a purchase at peak hours, it's efficiency that counts. Quick in, quick out. When buying late night beers, I make small talk with the 7-11 staff. More often than not, they are quite happy to comply. After all, it's a change from their usual dull graveyard shift of stocking shelves.

The world doesn't revolve around you alone.


Is it that difficult to give a smile back? It's a very basic courtesy!! Efficiency at peak hours, don't tell me that you do not even have time to smile?? What a sad life you are going through man...


Hey I'm not the one having a hissy fit because some random stranger didn't smile back at me.
You mean like this :(

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Postby banana » Fri, 20 Jun 2008 3:55 pm

ksl wrote:
banana wrote:
hk203 wrote:
banana wrote:Eh. Since when is a smile or a greeting something you expect returns? Sure it's nice to be acknowledged but remember that retail staff face many more sullen expressions than you face grouchy salespeople.

When I pay my bills or make a purchase at peak hours, it's efficiency that counts. Quick in, quick out. When buying late night beers, I make small talk with the 7-11 staff. More often than not, they are quite happy to comply. After all, it's a change from their usual dull graveyard shift of stocking shelves.

The world doesn't revolve around you alone.


Is it that difficult to give a smile back? It's a very basic courtesy!! Efficiency at peak hours, don't tell me that you do not even have time to smile?? What a sad life you are going through man...


Hey I'm not the one having a hissy fit because some random stranger didn't smile back at me.
You mean like this :(


:lol:

sometimes like this :tongue:
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Postby EADG » Sun, 22 Jun 2008 11:25 pm

I dunno - coming from NY where things happen at a gadzillion times faster pace than here, most people there manage to be human to each other there, and still be in the hurry that most of them are

every time I go back home I'm pleasantly reminded of this, despite whatever stereotypes you may hear to the contrary

local lad wrote:Don't you know we are living in a rat-race society? I honestly hate this phenomenon and I always try to steer clear from it. FYI, everyone uses everybody in Singapore. It is the level of abuse that gets people's attention and Singapore is not the only country experiencing it. I suppose the same goes for MOST modernised countries. Geez, get out often to see the world.
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Postby EADG » Sun, 22 Jun 2008 11:34 pm

yeah but

here too often than not random acts of minor kindness go un-acknowledged (not that that is the reason to do them, of course)

like today when I let an elder woman onto the bus ahead of us, and on the same bus, stopped the line of people getting off to let a lady get out of her seat since no one else would - it was as if it didn't happen, almost pretending not to notice, like we were invisble

I suppose, there may be some case for embarrassment on their part for someone having done them a favor, I really don't know or understand it, I see it as a character weakness, and another thing that distances people from each other

I would agree with you about not having expectations though, and to remain altruistic and above these things by not compromising yourself and continuing to do what you might do back home or in some other country anyway



banana wrote:
hk203 wrote:
banana wrote:Eh. Since when is a smile or a greeting something you expect returns? Sure it's nice to be acknowledged but remember that retail staff face many more sullen expressions than you face grouchy salespeople.

When I pay my bills or make a purchase at peak hours, it's efficiency that counts. Quick in, quick out. When buying late night beers, I make small talk with the 7-11 staff. More often than not, they are quite happy to comply. After all, it's a change from their usual dull graveyard shift of stocking shelves.

The world doesn't revolve around you alone.


Is it that difficult to give a smile back? It's a very basic courtesy!! Efficiency at peak hours, don't tell me that you do not even have time to smile?? What a sad life you are going through man...


Hey I'm not the one having a hissy fit because some random stranger didn't smile back at me.
Ape Shall Not Kill Ape

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Postby banana » Mon, 23 Jun 2008 12:12 pm

EADG wrote:yeah but

here too often than not random acts of minor kindness go un-acknowledged (not that that is the reason to do them, of course)

like today when I let an elder woman onto the bus ahead of us, and on the same bus, stopped the line of people getting off to let a lady get out of her seat since no one else would - it was as if it didn't happen, almost pretending not to notice, like we were invisble

I suppose, there may be some case for embarrassment on their part for someone having done them a favor, I really don't know or understand it, I see it as a character weakness, and another thing that distances people from each other

I would agree with you about not having expectations though, and to remain altruistic and above these things by not compromising yourself and continuing to do what you might do back home or in some other country anyway


Most minor acts of random kindness go unacknowledged anyway, regardless of where you are. Helping an old lady cross the road in NYC is not going to get you pats on the back by strangers. And that's why they feel good. You know you've gone out of your way to do something that will otherwise be unrewarded, that you've made the world a better place.

Not being acknowledged by the receipient of the favour, on the other hand, might be a little off putting. Still, chances are they are likely to be grouchy old women anyway and we all know what they're like!
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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Wed, 25 Jun 2008 8:40 pm

By all means give up your seat or open doors etc because it allows you to feel good about yourself and you know you should do it, but don't expect appreciation from the receiver or those around you. Once I kindly gave my precious seat to an old lady and not only she didn't thank me, she looked at me and asked why so much of my chest was exposed :shock: And here in Europe I actually wished I hadn't done it as the old sweetie insisted on telling me where I came from (Singapore is China etc). That didn't stop me from giving up my seat after but I usually do so and then ignore the person. I think many Singaporeans just have difficulty receiving or accepting with grace. I myself am still not very comfortable when people offer me something. I would say thank you and then change the subject.

I also think that Singaporeans in general do not talk down to others. We do not have a class culture. My mom and the road sweeper aunty are like good friends. Like me with my clerks when I was working. But it's not the same when they started having overseas Indians doing the same job. Simply because those guys do not know how to talk like a Singaporean. You start out by saying hello or just smile but after a while it gets awkward so you try to walk past quickly. It's the same when you buy food from a local or from an overseas Chinese. They just don't talk like us (unless they've been here quite a while and have adapted), you speak the same language without speaking the same language. And misunderstandings often arise because of that.

Meanwhile I am often quite happy with customer service in Singapore especially via phone or email. It's usually rapid and with not much ping pong involved. Face to face, I much prefer it when the service is efficient and not insipid, they only answer when asked for help and we respect one another. Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't abolish inclusive service charge in Singapore (or in France, Italy etc) because one reason why table service is usually good in the USA would be that what you get for a tip depends on it. When I was living in the States, I've often noticed that the nice and smiling waitress wouldn't be so nice if I gave her a lesser-than-expected tip. And the spouse was offered an excellent expat package for us to stay on and rejected it quite quickly. One of the reasons? Couldn't stand the exaggerated friendliness of most of the locals. :P
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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 25 Jun 2008 10:40 pm

Did you or he ever consider it may not be exaggerated? Being is customer service is not looked upon as a lowly profession like it is here in Singapore where other Singaporean look down on AND talk down to all Service Personal. There are actually people in the US that are into Customer Service because they actually like it. And these people make very good livings. Just because you are not used to it (by your own admission above) doesn't mean it's exaggerated because it seems that way to you. The old flag that always waved here isn't it? It's a different culture. :wink:

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Postby Petales Soufflez! » Thu, 26 Jun 2008 4:24 am

Actually, we are not so stupid that we cannot distinguish between sincere and automatic friendliness. And the one thing that scared us when we were living there is discovering for ourselves how shallow all that open enthusiasm often was.

I wouldn't generalise, of course, but we were living in Rochester, NY, and many of its inhabitants had, from what we were told, not moved much. We actually came across people whose service fervour contained not just friendliness, but naivety, ignorance...and they were ironically, even patronising. OK, call us cynical, but even American friends from bigger cities like NYC and Chicago couldn't live with it.

It's like many people probably couldn't live with French customer service. They are often friendly but also pretty "snobbish". A bit of class, if you wish to be positive. I personally prefer that.
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